Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is a generic term (like ÔÇ£Cloud ComputingÔÇØ or ÔÇ£Software-as-a-ServiceÔÇØ ) that can be defined multiple ways. In essence, VDI is a complete technology system that removes the basic PC (computer) from the desktop, and allows it to operate in a central location like a data center. When the Operating System (i.e. Windows or Linux) is housed in the data center, we can call this computer a ÔÇ£Virtual MachineÔÇØ or a ÔÇ£VMÔÇØ. If the virtual machine is desktop operating system such as Microsoft Windows 7 then it is also referred to as a ÔÇÿVirtual DesktopÔÇÖ.
A Virtual Desktop is a copy of any Desktop Operating System such as Windows 7, Windows 8, Red Hat Linux etc. which resides on shared hardware. This hardware can either be in a remote location such as a data center or be your physical desktop machine sitting next to you.
Virtual Desktops can also be a session of a Windows Server Operating System. These sessions are shared copies of the same OS giving users that connect to them an illusion that they have their own dedicated operating system.
VDI on the other hand is a complete System. Virtual Desktops are a major part of this system and can either be sessions of a shared server OS or independent full copies of desktop operating systems.
Hypervisor is a software platform that hosts VMs with the client operating systems. 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 vSphere and the Linux based KVM. Free versions of hypervisors are also available.
The following components are needed to setup a VDI System:
- Connection Broker or Session Manager
- Remoting or Remote Protocol
- Thin Client or Zero Client
- Management Platform
The connection broker is responsible for distributing sessions from clients to VMs, and redirecting users of disconnected sessions back to their original VMs. Based upon login credentials of the user upon system set-up, the connection broker knows which user to connect to which VM.
A server is your physical machine which will run and/or host your VMs. It has all the necessary moving parts to allow the hypervisor installed on it to share its resources. The server itself will have one or multiple processors, several gigabytes of RAM and several gigabytes of hard disk storage where the necessary installations need to take place. The virtual machines can either be installed on the storage available on the server or on any network storage that will be accessible to the server.
A protocol is needed for the users to connect to the virtualized OS/VM. The protocol will also handle certain features such as device and printer redirection. Your decision about a protocol will depend upon the device the end users use to connect, such as a thin client a zero client or a remote client under a full OS.
A thin client (sometimes also called a lean or slim client) is a small device which acts as the computer but depends heavily on some other computer (its server) to fulfill its traditional computational roles. Its main purpose is to connect to the virtual machine which has been allocated to the user and provide a medium for the user to interact with their VM through I/O peripherals connected to it.
A Zero Client is an endpoint device which has no operating system installed on it. They lack any moving parts and provide an easy to use interface for configuration and connection purposes. Zero Clients are far more reliable than thin clients and are the preferred choice of endpoints depending on the environment they are to be deployed in.
This is the administrative management tool that manages the servers and helps provision VMs quickly and efficiently. This platform not only creates VMs, but also uses templates and libraries of disk images to provision the client OSs in the VMs. The virtual management platform ensures there is always a pool of VMs available for new connections. The most robust management tool will support all hypervisors, include a connection broker, and support multiple remoting protocols.
Terminal Services and Remote Desktop Services are essentially the same thing. Before Windows 2012 Server was introduced, the ability to connect to a Windows 2008 (and earlier) Server Session was done through Windows Terminal Services. RDS provides the ability for an end user to connect to a Windows Server Session using MicrosoftÔÇÖs Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).
Desktop-as-a-Service or DaaS is service through which an Enterprise or individual users can get the latest version of a desktop operating system and the corresponding hardware that it has to run on at a fraction of the price of acquisition. Users have to pay per month, per quarter or per year depending on what is being offered by the DaaS provider. The main advantage of DaaS is that users are not locked into the desktop operating system or the underlying hardware. They can upgrade almost instantly to get better performance and still enjoy the same software as before.
Cloud VDI, Hosted VDI and Hosted Desktops are very similar to DaaS except for the fact that you do not get billed from a service provider. Some would say that they are one and the same thing since you require your Virtual Desktops to be hosted somewhere at a centralized location. This central location may be with a Managed Service Provider (MSP), it may be your own data center at a remote site or even at your current offices. If the infrastructure and the software that you require is being provided by the MSP then this becomes DaaS. However, if the hardware and software is your own and you are just using the facilities of the MSP for hosting purposes then we look at this as Cloud or Hosted VDI.
Both of these requirements are supported. For the CD capabilities you must purchase an external drive. There is a USB port on the thin client and it is redirected to the VM.
For end users, there may be minimal differences (login, etc). Performance should not be affected. Like any newer technology, there is a small learning curve for IT adminstrators but nothing that a few hours of training and support cannot satisfy.
VDIworks simplifies all the key aspects of a VDI environment, including physical and virtual machines.
For over a decade we have developed the industryÔÇÖs most powerful Virtual Desktop Platform (VDIworksÔÇÖ VDP) which consolidates the connection broker, protocol, and virtual management platform components into one single software platform.
Through VDP we provide a host of features which no competitor delivers, including:
- Universal discovery for all thin clients, desktops, servers, Hypervisors, AD users and VMs.
- API-level integration with VMware ESX, Hyper-V and Xen for simple Hypervisor management tasks.
- Power management of VMs and physical systems.
- ┬áSelf healing and alerting.
- ┬áInventory & health.
- ┬áRemote control of Thin clients, VMs and hosts.
EXPERIENCE: Established software platform with 10 yearsÔÇÖ experience and hundreds of thousands clients distributed worldwide
FLEXIBLE: We do not lock you into a single hypervisor, remoting protocol or connection broker solution, and we are compatible in a heterogeneous environment.
NIMBLE: We can deploy a solution quickly, work with parts of the infrastructure you may already have, and provide you with the most cost-effective components that are scalable.
In order to get up and running in less than a day, please keep the following in mind:
- Establish a group of computers that would be a good test area (not less than 5)
- Budget approximately $400 per computer for the purpose of the pilot
- Provide a server (or we can include a server in a quote for you). Configuration depends upon number of desktops that are included in the pilot
- Contact VDIworks Inc. 1 800 264 7150, www.vdiworks.com