Feb 15 2024
Data Center

Choosing Between Cloud and On-Premises Virtualization

K–12 schools have options for hosting Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. Here's what tech leaders should consider.

While many Virtual Desktop Infrastructure solutions run in the cloud, some school districts prefer to host their VDI on local servers. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when deciding which version of virtualization is the best fit.

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IT Capabilities

Does your IT department have the resources and expertise to devote to VDI deployment and server management? “It can be a little complicated on the back end,” notes Joseph Jacks, CTO at Tyler Independent School District. To run VDI successfully onsite, he says, “you need to have really dedicated and talented staff.”

Cost and Scalability

Districts often choose cloud-based solutions to avoid the upfront costs associated with purchasing hardware and servers. Similarly, with cloud VDI, the technology can be easily scaled to match a school system’s evolving needs.

On-premises solutions, on the other hand, can make financial sense as well. “We’ve definitely seen a return on investment over the course of five to 10 years,” Jacks says.


School districts with on-premises VDI solutions appreciate that they can tailor the technology to meet their specific preferences. Cloud aficionados see things a bit differently: They’re willing to trade some control for better reliability and flexibility.

LEARN MORE: Application modernization supports digital transformation.

Jay Yuno / getty images

Learn from Your Peers

What can you glean about security from other IT pros? Check out new CDW research and insight from our experts.