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Understand the dangers of cloud-based VDI management

Managing VDI with a cloud-based tool can become very complicated if IT hosts different aspects of its deployment through multiple cloud vendors. Managing authentication across multiple clouds, for example, can become a tangled web.

IT administrators could have a hard time with cloud-based VDI management if they use multiple cloud vendors to...

host different aspects of their deployments.

If IT chooses to manage its on-premises VDI deployment with a cloud-based tool, that management tool may not live on the same cloud as other aspects of the network, which can create complications. For starters, it can be challenging to get multiple cloud systems to communicate. It's not impossible, certainly, but at the very least, it adds unnecessary complexity to the administration process. The architectural challenges that multiple clouds cause will most likely defeat the purpose of migrating data to the cloud at all. Even so, many VDI shops with workloads in the cloud are dealing with systems and software that exist within many different vendor clouds.

Spend some time looking at why IT administrators managing VDI in the cloud should care about the cloud they use to manage their desktops as well as to deliver applications.

What to consider with cloud-based VDI management

Before VDI shops adopt multiple cloud options, they should consider why they are doing it prior to making any major commitments to multiple cloud vendors in the short term.

When considering managing VDI in the cloud, some of the key players in the market include Citrix Cloud  and VMware Horizon Cloud. Going a step further, IT administrators must consider which cloud each of these vendors uses for its infrastructure.

IT administrators must also understand how cloud-based VDI management will integrate with their cloud strategy. For example, if IT admins made the choice to implement Microsoft Office 365, their configuration likely uses Microsoft Azure Active Directory (AD). It might be reasonable to assume that the cloud-based management tool they work with will run on Azure as well, but that's not necessarily the case. If they then want to manage their VDI deployment in the cloud, the deployment may rely on a completely different cloud platform that comes with its own questions and challenges.

User authentication across the many clouds IT supports in this scenario becomes an issue. If AD exists on premises and IT uses Azure AD Connect to synchronize objects into Azure for Office 365 authentication, IT must figure out how it will handle authentication if its cloud-based VDI management tool runs on a different platform, such as Citrix Cloud. IT must address this to ensure that the user experience is seamless.

Even if IT can create a seamless user experience in this example, it might require additional authentication configurations for the clouds it uses outside the VDI management tool.

How to migrate from one cloud to another

If IT is working with multiple clouds, it can work to migrate everything to a single cloud. The problem is that the different vendors that host cloud deployments don't want to make it easy for IT to migrate a deployment from one cloud to another. As a result, none of them officially support any such migration methods.

If IT must move away from one cloud-based VDI management tool to another, it is possible to simply start over in the new cloud. Administrators should do their research though because there are typically hefty costs tied to moving data out of the cloud.

This was last published in November 2018

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