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What is Hybrid VDI?

Hybrid VDI is a model of client computing where virtualized desktops and applications are deployed using a combination of cloud-based and on-premises infrastructure. In this type of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), organizations that traditionally have utilized on-premises VDI infrastructure augment their capacity by utilizing cloud-based VDI. Hybrid VDI helps organizations deal with unpredictable events like natural disasters, emergencies, or public health outbreaks like the global COVID-19 pandemic, helping deal with challenges that might otherwise lead to business interruption or jeopardize the safety of employees.

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What are benefits of Hybrid VDI?

Hybrid VDI offers rapid scalability to organizations that otherwise may spend weeks or months waiting for on-premises infrastructure to be procured and installed to extend their VDI capabilities.

On-premises and cloud-based VDI pods can be linked to provide a unified desktop and application brokering environment managed through a single, centralized entitlement layer, offering single pane of glass simplicity and reducing management overhead. Additionally, common cloud management services on the cloud control plane helps simplify management of images, applications, and more across hybrid and multi-cloud models.

Hybrid VDI offers organizations access to global cloud resources that are elastic and can scale, and hybrid VDI infrastructure can also address a number of other business challenges including business continuitydisaster recovery as well as remote worker enablement.

By adding cloud-based VDI to a hybrid solution, organizations can leverage consumption-based pricing to keep costs down, so they only pay for resources they use.

Finally, organizations can leverage the global reach of the major public cloud providers. AWS, Azure, and IBM cloud all offer global data centers with multiple regions and availability zones, enabling organizations to bring data and application locality to almost any location, which helps ensure the best possible user experience for an increasingly global workforce.

How does Hybrid VDI work?

VDI deployments have traditionally been installed and managed using on-premises servers and storage and utilized virtual machines (VMs) with desktop and application publishing tools like VMware Horizon to deploy virtual desktops and applications to users, whether connected to on-premises thin client devices or remotely using PCs, laptops, tablets, or smartphones connected via the internet.

Since scaling of an on-premises environment requires standing up new infrastructure, it can take weeks or months to acquire necessary on-premises infrastructure to meet rapidly changing needs. By keeping existing on-premises infrastructure and leveraging tools such as VMware Horizon in the cloud, organizations can seamlessly scale up their VDI deployments into a hybrid environment in a number of ways:

  • Edge appliances. Organizations who want to quickly scale their on-premises component of hybrid VDI infrastructure can leverage purpose-built solutions such as Dell EMC VxRail hardware with VMware Horizon and VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF), a solution that is available either for purchase or through a subscription-based model for organizations who want to take an operating expenses (OPEX) approach rather than a capital expenses (CAPEX) approach.
  • VMware Horizon on AWS, Azure, or IBM Cloud. With this option, organization can extend VDI workloads between on-premises and VMware Cloud on AWS, Microsoft Azure, or IBM Cloud, enabling IT administrators to leverage their existing on-premises VDI expertise with VMware Horizon and vSphere to save time and easily deploy virtual desktops and apps on VMware Cloud on these popular public cloud platforms.
  • Private Cloud Hybrid VDI Solutions. By partnering with top managed service providers (MSPs) globally, the VMware Cloud Provider Program enables organizations to utilize a vast range of private and public cloud consumption and management options.
  • Remote Access to Windows 10 Desktops. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the issues with the IT model of having a centralized enterprise infrastructure. If desktops are unable able to be moved outside the corporate office during an emergency, organizations can utilize tools like the Horizon Agent to simply be installed on physical PCs, brokered through Horizon and accessed by employees remotely to ensure continuity of work. 

What are use cases of Hybrid VDI?

Remote Workforce. The recent COVID-19 pandemic drove demand for a primary VDI use case – supporting a remote workforce. Since employees increasingly work from remote locations and utilize a broad range of devices to access corporate resources, the need for solid VDI solutions that can scale rapidly to meet the increased demand becomes ever more important. With many organizations predicting that work-from-home is the new normal, the demand for this use case will remain important for years to come.

Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity. There are many reasons why an organization’s on-premises VDI infrastructure may become inaccessible. Natural disaster such as flooding or earthquake can leave the premises without power or internet connectivity, rendering on-premises gear unusable. Additionally, successful cyber-attacks, whether from outside or within the organization, could make it impossible for employees to access corporate resources on-premises. By adopting a hybrid VDI strategy, organizations can rapidly spin up new VDI infrastructure in the cloud to support business activities that otherwise would have been interrupted, thus staving off serious impact to the organization’s bottom line.

Cloudbursting. There are many times when organizations need to onboard a large number of users simultaneously. Whether due to an uptick in business, new product launch, merger or acquisition, or geographic expansion, the demand to rapidly provision VDI resources for a large number of new users often exceeds the capacity of on-premises VDI infrastructure. Hybrid VDI solutions enable organizations to seamlessly extend their VDI infrastructure into the cloud when needed, with the knowledge that if the peak in demand passes it is simple to pare back the cloud VDI presence – without the need to offload infrastructure. Subscription-model consumption enables organizations to pay for ‘cloudburst’ capacity only when it is in use, thus saving significantly in capital expenditures.

What is the difference between Hybrid and Traditional VDI?

You may have to choose between a cloud or on-premises deployment with traditional VDI infrastructure. Hybrid VDI infrastructure, as the name implies, is a hybrid of on-premises, public and private cloud infrastructure working in concert to deliver a seamless VDI experience for users regardless of their location or which device they are using. The hybrid approach provides flexibility for organizations to build upon their existing infrastructure with the increased agility and flexibility of a cloud deployment. 


Related Solutions and Products

VMware Horizon

Secure Virtual desktop (VDI) and app platform.

Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure

Cloud-native virtual desktop platform.

Horizon Control Plane Services

Cloud management services delivered via Horizon Control Plane.