Desktop Virtualization

Introduction

Virtual desktops deliver easy-to-manage, full-fidelity, agile, and secure desktops for end users on nearly every device. There are several benefits, such as lower costs, better security, easier deployment, higher productivity, and scalability. Different types include Desktop-as-a-Service, Remote Desktop Services, and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.

What is desktop virtualization?

Sometimes simply called virtualization, desktop virtualization is a technology used to separate a physical computer from its computer desktop environment for use from differing locations. It allows the use of multiple desktop instances on a single host that is stored in the cloud—this is achieved using a hypervisor, which manages and allows virtual desktops to use the computer power of server hardware. A user interacts with a virtual desktop in the same way that they interact with a standard desktop, but access from different locations and devices is available for flexibility.

How does desktop virtualization work?

The hypervisor creates virtual machines (VMs), running on a virtualization host, that simulate a desktop environment that holds different operating systems, personalized settings, user data, and applications. Desktop virtualization connects to a centralized server through LAN, WAN, or using the internet.

Users typically run a remote desktop protocol (RDP) in order to access the virtual desktop environment, which attaches to a connection broker that links the session to a virtual desktop. Desktop virtualization tends to be nonpersistent, as the connection broker assigns a random virtual desktop from a pool of virtual desktops. As a user logs out, the desktop returns on an unchanged state while returning to the virtual desktop pool.

There are, however, vendors who can also offer options to create persistent desktops, wherein a user receives their own virtual desktop that is writable, dedicated, and customizable.

What are the different types of desktop virtualization?

There are three different types of deployment models:

Remote Desktop Services (RDS)
Users are capable of accessing desktops through certain operating systems. Applications and images of desktops are served through a remote desktop protocol (RDP).

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
The operating system runs on a VM, which is hosted on a server based in a data center. Desktop images run over a network to the end user, and the end user can interact with a desktop as if it were local.

Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS)
VMs are hosted on a back end that is cloud-based using a third-party service provider. DaaS is easily scalable, tends to be more flexible than on-site models, and usually deploys more quickly than other desktop virtualizations. DaaS provides similar benefits to the types of cloud computing, like support for differing workloads, changing demands for storage, the ability to make applications accessible from connected devices, and usage-based pricing models.

What are the benefits of desktop virtualization?

Desktop virtualization provides many benefits.

Cost savings
Many desktop virtualization options provide the opportunity to shift IT budgets to operating expenditures from capital expenditures. Businesses using OPEX vs. CAPEX have more predictable financials enabling them to do more strategic budgeting as well as avoid massive capital outlays when hardware unexpectedly needs replacing. Computer-intensive applications use less processing power, as they’re delivered via VMs that are hosted in a data center. This allows desktop virtualization to extend the life of machines that are older and/or less powerful.

End-user experience
Your end users can enjoy a better, feature-rich experience when you implement desktop virtualization. You won’t be sacrificing functionality that they rely on.

Security
Desktop images are abstracted and separated from physical hardware that is used to access it, and VMs used for desktop images are tightly controlled and managed by an enterprise IT environment, which ensures better security and safety of the company. Additionally, if your DaaS provider has secured 3rd party compliance audits for their desktop virtualization solutions it can help your business more easily become compliant and provide robust and secure remote access.

Scalability
It is usually easier to deploy VMs or provide applications when necessary, and it is also easy to delete them when they are no longer necessary.

Productivity
Employees have the opportunity to work from devices that support virtual desktops, as long as they have an internet connection—accessing enterprise computing services is easier.

Administration
IT teams can find it easier to manage the computing needs of employees when they use virtual desktops. Businesses can maintain one VM template for employees within similar roles, rather than maintaining individual machines that constantly need to be updated, patched, reconfigured, or changed. IT teams can save time and resources.

Support for devices
There are a wide variety of devices that are supported by virtual desktops remotely, like laptops, desktops, zero clients, thin clients, mobile phones, and tablets. Desktop virtualization delivers workstation experiences and provides access to a full desktop at anywhere, anytime, regardless of the native operating system on the end user device.

Reduced downtime/faster deployments
There is easy migration to other VMs in the event of hardware failure, which means no lost time or productivity. IT administrations can also deploy hardware within a central infrastructure, which helps employees onboard and get up to speed more effectively.

Secure access to apps
Virtualized desktops can be used by employees using high-throughput apps with the use of GPU sharing via secure connections from most end-user devices and platforms.

Conclusion

Virtual desktops can be a great choice for your company to control costs, provide more options for desktop access, enhance productivity, increase security, and simplify administration. There are different choices for desktop virtualization, which also provides flexibility.

EvolveIP has the virtual desktop solutions that you need to drive productivity, reduce costs, and secure your company. Contact us to learn more, and get a demo!

Comparing DaaS Solutions

This virtual desktop or DaaS comparison guide is designed for those who are looking into hosted virtual desktops or desktops as a service (DaaS). It also compares the technology to Evolve IP’s Workspaces solution.