Organisations everywhere are finding ways to reduce costs, increase business agility and maintain strict data compliance. Many will consider virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to help achieve this but also, many do not progress from pilot to deployment, because of poor user experience with collaborative applications that use rich media.
So what deteriorates user experience of collaborative applications using VDI?
Well, with a video call with VDI for example, the communication results in the following data flow:
- End Client 1 captures audio/video from microphone/camera
- End Client 1 sends uncompressed audio/video data as part of the display protocol to the data center
- Virtual desktop 1 compresses the audio/video
- Virtual desktop 1 sends compressed audio/video to virtual desktop 2
- Virtual desktop 2 de-compresses the audio/video
- Virtual desktop 2 renders the screen image and sends it as screen data through display protocol to End Client 2. Audio is sent uncompressed within the display protocol
- End Client 2 plays the audio on the speakers
So the issue is that when using a hosted virtual desktop, all application and O/S processing is performed in the data center. The clients collect the video and audio data and send it to the application running in the data center. The VDI model clearly has many advantages but the hairpinning effect of audio and video through the data center is definitely a less than optimal route for that kind of data, often resulting in conversation killing latency problems.
In steps Cisco with VXI…
Cisco’s solution to these latency problems is their Virtualisation Experience Infrastructure (VXI) which adds intelligence into the end clients as well as the data center.
This enables the end client to seperate rich-media data (video) from the display protocol and communicate rich data directly with end clients instead of processing through the data center with other traffic.
So the result for VXI customers is that they have all the benefits of virtual desktop but the media processing moves to the endpoint, providing smooth voice and video communications. The user interface remains on the hosted desktop and interactions with other applications works as if everything was running in the virtual desktop.