Often referred to as VDI (which represents a specific set of vendor technologies), our view is that desktop virtualisation more accurately covers a wide range of technologies that provide a desktop from a centralised, server based environment..
By thinking in this way we are able to provide you with more choice by discussing the potential benefits of a server based desktop infrastructure without becoming locked in to one specific technology choice at the outset.
In simple terms desktop virtualisation allows your users to connect to a centrally managed desktop and applications using a variety of end user devices and operating systems. This model of computing allows you to regain control over your desktop environment and realise potentially significant savings, improved security, enhanced business continuity and of course, an improved user experience.
We have delivered virtual desktop solutions to clients across the UK using a range of technologies from a number of key vendors. Broadly speaking these fall into two categories:
TERMINAL SERVICES/RDS BASED SOLUTIONS (SHARED DESKTOPS)
These solutions provide users with a shared desktop utilising Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Services (RDS, formerly Terminal Services), and are usually augmented with Citrix XenApp to improve the user experience and manageability. In this model, applications run in a Microsoft Windows Server environment, with users accessing the shared desktop environment and applications on a time-sharing basis.
The key benefits of this form of desktop virtualisation are that it can be highly cost-effective and gives you a manageable desktop environment.
DESKTOP OPERATING SYSTEM BASED SOLUTIONS (HOSTED DESKTOPS)
This is the form of desktop virtualisation that is more commonly referred to as VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure).In this model, each user is provided with a dedicated virtual machine running a Microsoft desktop operating system such as Windows 7.
Whilst the presence of an operating system for each user requires additional processing power and memory (meaning more server hardware), VDI type solutions can address a number of potential shortfalls in the shared desktop model, namely:
- Improved application compatibility (a desktop OS rather than a Windows Server OS)
- A greater scope for users to customise their desktop environments (although this is not necessarily a good thing) by allowing application installation for example.
We deliver two principle solutions of this type: Citrix XenDesktop and VMware View.
Whilst often somewhat over-hyped, desktop virtualisation can give you a number of measurable benefits
- Flexible/agile working
- Green computing
- Business continuity
- Enhanced security
- Improved manageability