There are many components in a typical Desktop Virtualization system, and these pieces are often provided by different vendors and are not integrated. This segregation can lead to complexity, IT staff training issues, management complexity and vendor management issues. Whether you choose to provide virtual desktops through sessions by using RDS (Remote Desktop Services) or provide a full blown operating system by setting up a VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure), the complexity remains. Tracking down problems in this piece-meal environment is difficult operationally, and it’s even harder to get a vendor to accept responsibility as blame shifts from one provider to the other.
An RDS system gives access to windows sessions from a server based operating system (typically windows 2008 or 2012) where multiple users can log on to the same operating system copy having the same software installed on the base OS. The number of users accessing the same OS copy depends on the client access licenses (CAL’s or RDS CAL’s) one has installed on the base machine.
On the other hand, a VDI system gives users a high performance desktop experience through centralized, virtual machines (VMs). In such a solution each user is guaranteed an independent operating system with their personalized set of software installed. There are multiple benefits to desktop virtualization and this is undoubtedly a trend that will experience significant growth in the immediate future.
Elements in a Desktop Virtualization Solution
HypervisorsA virtualization platform or “Hypervisor” is the software platform is responsible for creating and hosting multiple VMs. The platform must have the capacity to host enough VMs for all concurrently connected users. Examples of virtualization platforms include Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer, VMware ESX and Linux KVM. A Hypervisor is not required for an RDS based solution.
A PROTOCOLA protocol allows users to connect to their virtualized OS over the network and is responsible for end user experience. This protocol could be the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) that is part of XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 or an add-on protocol with higher performance such as Microsoft’s RemoteFX, VMware and Teradci’s Soft PCoIP and Citrix’s ICA or HDX. The protocol will also handle tasks such as peripheral and printer redirection. Your decision about a protocol will depend on the device end users use to connect, such as a zero client, thin client or a laptop/PC system equipped with a full OS.
MANAGEMENT PLATFORMA virtual and physical management platform manages the servers and helps provision VMs quickly and efficiently. This platform should provide end-to-end management capabilities such as Session Management, VM inventory, health, alerting and other status information. Other features might include remote control, reporting, self-healing, fault tolerance and connection/VM pooling to ensure that there is always a pool of VMs available for new connections.
CONNECTION BROKERA connection or session broker is responsible for distributing sessions from clients to VMs and redirecting users of disconnected sessions back to their original VMs or broken sessions. Smart brokers allow brokering on a thin/zero client basis as well as on a user basis catering to different use cases for various organizations.
PROFILE AND DATA REDIRECTIONUsers customize their environments and it’s vital that these customizations and configurations are maintained between connections. Profile and data redirection ensure that if a user switches between VMs or sessions they have a consistent environment. It’s also important that any data the user stores, including folders such as Documents, is stored on a server, and that’s another task for profile and data redirection.
CLIENT DEVICESClient devices are the point of access for end users and could be thin, thick or zero clients. Thin clients are usually embedded devices with a minimalistic OS running Linux or Windows. Thick clients are PC’s with a full blown OS used to connect to a virtual machine remotely whereas a Zero client has embedded firmware which just allows the user to connect to their assigned desktop.
The VDIworks Solution
VDIworks simplifies all the key aspects of a VDI environment, including physical and virtual machines.
For over a decade we have developed the industry’s most powerful Virtual Desktop Platform (VDIworks’ VDP) which consolidates the protocol, virtual management platform, session broker, and profile & data redirection components into one single platform.
We provide a host of features which no competitor delivers, including:
- Universal discovery for all thinclients, desktops, servers, Hypervisors, AD users and VMs.
- API-level integration with VMware ESX, Hyper-V and XenServer for simple Hypervisor management tasks.
- User and device-based connection brokering
- Physical systems management via industry standards such as IPMI, AMT, SNMP and WMI
- Patent-pending VM Pooling functionality
- Power management of VMs and physical systems.
- Self healing and Alerting.
- Inventory & Health.
- Remote control of Thinclients, VMs and hosts.