As virtual desktop and cloud infrastructure technology continue to evolve, so do the skills IT professionals need to successfully deploy and manage virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) projects. IT managers have historically deployed VDI solutions in a private cloud environment, but that’s changing as the public cloud matures.

As a result, companies now have access to a mix of public, private and hybrid cloud environments, meaning today’s IT infrastructure employees must first be able to analyze and assess which environment to choose for their company’s business needs.

Indeed, understanding the different types of cloud deployments and which is appropriate for the business is one of the most important skills for employees working on VDI projects, says Gene Richardson, COO of Experts Exchange, an online knowledge and career network for technology professionals.

"Employees must understand the overall economics of deploying and supporting environments in a cloud and how to optimize business applications and processes instead of just optimizing systems and data,” he adds. “Instead of thinking like a system or application administrator, consider yourself more of a data architect."

Timothy O'Brien, systems consultant and instructor for MTM Technologies, an IT consulting firm, agrees: "To set up an end-to-end desktop virtualization solution, an engineer needs to understand a lot beyond just how to manage the desktop.”

O’Brien teaches classes on desktop virtualization and says that a few years ago, courses focused primarily on how to manage desktop solutions. Now, though, they’ve expanded to focus more on how virtualization technology integrates with other services, such as networking, storage infrastructure and security solutions.

The focus of integration stems from the fact that various data center technologies are becoming increasingly intertwined. The choice of storage infrastructure, for instance, can affect response time, security, archiving and the management of licenses and service agreements: all of which are important considerations for a successful VDI deployment.

IT professionals must thus understand not just the interplay of different technologies, but also have the soft skills to weigh those factors against various deployment and management strategies. A majority of executives surveyed in a recent study from IT consultancy Avenade expressed that future IT hires will need to excel at problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration.

Once the initial analysis is complete, the traditional skills associated with desktop management still come into play: ensuring secure access points, adding users, managing data and configuring storage.

The good news is that all of these new skills—integration, cloud and soft skills—are the cornerstone of many senior IT management positions, making the implementation of VDI projects great preparation for furthering one's IT career.

 

Underwritten by HPE, NVIDIA and VMware.