Remoting Workstations Offers Benefits Beyond Productivity Gains

October 22, 2020
Gary Radburn

Gary Radburn heads up Commercial VR/AR & Client Virtualization at Dell Technologies.

Gary Radburn heads up Commercial VR/AR & Client Virtualization at Dell Technologies and is our guest blogger for today, offering his perspective on how IT teams can best leverage the opportunity to virtualize their workstations and better serve their workforces.

Gary Radburn, Commercial VR/AR & Client Virtualization, Client Solutions, Dell Technologies

Over the last few months, IT managers have had to navigate the large-scale implementation of remote working solutions to keep their workforce productive from home. Despite many organizations having long-term strategies for flexible working environments, there wasn’t any time to lose and many saw employees heading home with arms full of equipment for their makeshift home offices.

If only it were that simple. Although a lot of organizations have been building long-term digital transformation strategies and may have even already had the ability to provide employees with remote desktop access rather than having to physically take equipment home, IT managers still often spend a lot of time considering some of the perceived obstacles of remote working. Common concerns include:

  1. How do we provide access to the host machine from anywhere in a secure way? We don’t want users copying data across public networks, even over VPN, and making local copies.
  2. Network bandwidth can be sporadic at best – how can we deal with latency and pipes that are always changing size or route?
  3. Is a compressed image / simulation across the network good enough for the users? Are there alternatives?
  4. Many users are now using 4K workflows. Can I get a bigger image to my users at adequate framerates for productivity?

Fortunately, there are solutions to these. Remote working is not a new concept – it has just not been adopted before in these numbers. Dell has had a long-standing relationship with Teradici using PCoIP solutions to deliver workstation access to remote locations, and Teradici software addresses all the above concerns.

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Allowing your users to work remotely as if they were right next to their workstation is hugely liberating. Companies are seeing more productive employees turning out higher quality content as they are in control of their time, and employees appreciate their lack of commutes, better work-life balance, and being measured by results delivered rather than presenteeism. All sides win in this equation.

This next normal provides IT managers with other opportunities as well. The workstations, now not having to be physically located at a desk, could be relocated to the datacenter – right next to where the data is stored. Because the PCoIP solution only transmits changed pixels, none of the data leaves the workstation, and that data can be accessed far faster over the links in the datacenter. The improved responsiveness allows the technology to become invisible to the user and is less distracting.

There’s also the opportunity to better serve users who only really need workstation access sporadically. In the office, a manager may just borrow a workstation in order to sign off on designs, but they need to have that certified machine on which to work. It is now possible to repurpose equipment in the datacenter via Virtualization (VMware ESXi for instance) and allow multiple users per machine simultaneously. The manager simply connects to a workstation ‘instance’, performs their tasks, and then releases that instance at the end, all via a software client that is running on a home machine.

“Allowing your users to work remotely as if they were right next to their workstation is hugely liberating.”

There are some practical considerations to think of when deploying remote solutions – for example, the distance from the employee to the datacenter, the route the traffic takes to get there through their ISP, and the bandwidth/data caps that the home user may have. Teradici’s PCoIP protocol allows granular management of those properties automatically, to provide the best bandwidth utilization, compression algorithms and latency mitigating technology without compromising on image quality and user experience.

In reality, these solutions are applicable to any industry that needs to provide a desktop or workstation to a remote user, whether that be a design artist in a production studio, a student learning remotely, a trader looking at stock movements or a healthcare professional who needs to see MRI scans in real time from home. Whether it is purely text-based work or graphically intensive applications, Teradici Cloud Access Software can handle it all and adapt on the fly to provide an industry leading experience.

Teradici Cloud Access Plus plans are now available directly from Dell when ordering Dell Precision workstations, making it simpler for IT teams to provide their workstation users with a way to work from anywhere with full access to all the computing power they need. Customers selecting Dell Precision workstations will be offered the option to add Teradici Cloud Access Plus licenses within the ordering process, with a 120-day free trial included. The Teradici solution purchased through this offer is supported by Dell and includes a Dell warranty.

Gary Radburn

Gary Radburn heads up Commercial VR/AR & Client Virtualization at Dell Technologies.