In VDI, a hypervisor segments servers into virtual machines that in turn host virtual desktops, which users access remotely from their devices. Users can access these virtual desktops from any device or location, and all processing is done on the host server. Users connect to their desktop instances through a connection broker, which is a software-based gateway that acts as an intermediary between the user and the server.
VDI can be either persistent or non-persistent. Each type offers different benefits:
VDI offers a number of advantages, such as user mobility, ease of access, flexibility and greater security. In the past, its high-performance requirements made it costly and challenging to deploy on legacy systems, which posed a barrier for many businesses. However, the rise in enterprise adoption of hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) offers a solution that provides scalability and high performance at a lower cost.
Although VDI’s complexity means that it isn’t necessarily the right choice for every organization, it offers a number of benefits for organizations that do use it. Some of these benefits include:
Although VDI can be used in all sorts of environments, there are a number of use cases that are uniquely suited for VDI, including:
Desktop virtualization is a generic term for any technology that separates a desktop environment from the hardware used to access it. VDI is a type of desktop virtualization, but desktop virtualization can also be implemented in different ways, such as remote desktop services (RDS), where users connect to a shared desktop that runs on a remote server.
Virtual machines are the technology that powers VDI. VMs are software “machines” created by partitioning a physical server into multiple virtual servers through the use of a hypervisor. (This process is also known as server virtualization.) Virtual machines can be used for a number of applications, one of which is running a virtual desktop in a VDI environment.
When planning for VDI deployment, larger enterprises should consider implementing it in an HCI environment, as HCI’s scalability and high performance are a natural fit for VDI’s resource needs. On the other hand, implementing HCI for VDI is probably not necessary (and would be overly expensive) for organizations that require less than 100 virtual desktops.
In addition to infrastructure considerations, there are a number of best practices to follow when implementing VDI: