10ZiG's Top Level View of VDI and Thin Client Computers!
What is VDI?
VDI or Virtual Desktop Integration is a computing model that separates and virtualizes the desktop operating system and applications from the actual physical client where they originally resided, and placing it on a server. The server then provisions and distributes the OS and applications, handling the bulk of the computing power. This is used to provide centralized management of distributed Virtual Machines to the desktop vs. individually managing hundreds of OS's at the desktop level. Successful Desktop Virtualization implementations are generally handled in two ways (sometimes both). Replacing the desktop PC with a Thin or Zero Client is becoming the most popular option. Thin Clients generally come with a skinny locked down Linux or Windows operating system with an embedded VDI Client (such as VMview, Citrix Xendesktop, Virtual Bridges Verde) to broker a connection to the central server which will then deliver the desktop OS and required applications. Zero Clients typically have little to no OS, but have a processor optimized for a specific VDI protocol such as PCoIP, HDX, etc. In the finish they accomplish the same thing as a thin client generally containing similar advantages.
The second approach is to re-purpose the existing PCs with a software package that locks down the PC Operating System or installs a skinny Linux image over the existing desktop OS providing the same VDI Connection Brokers as that of a Thin or Zero Client as well as delivering similar functionality. An example of PC re-purposing software is 10ZiG No Touch! (click the link for more information..)
Below: Sample Diagram of Enterprise VDI Environment
Virtual Desktop Integration allows for a desktop to be accessed via almost any device in almost any location as opposed to being tied to a single tethered device. Since the resources are centralized, users moving between work and remote locations can still access the same client profile with their individual applications and unique data. For IT administrators, this means a more centralized, efficient client environment that is easier to maintain and able to rapidly respond to the changing needs of the user and business.
VDI provides heightened security by provisioning a locked down image (OS, applications, etc.) from a server, this prevents the image from being copied or altered in any way by the end user. VDI offers additional security because all the sensitive data is stored within the centralized server as opposed to a standalone desktop PC.
Everything is in your system administrator’s control, from allocating additional virtual storage to providing additional RAM to a specific end user who may have a temporary performance needs due to a current project. When the project is completed the admin can set the user back to standard settings, thus allowing for increased worker productivity without requiring any hardware changes at the desktop.
Looking to migrate desktop OS'? No problem create a Windows 7 virtual machine(s) on your server using such VDI products as VMware, Citrix, Virtual Bridges ect., provision it with the required applications for a specific user group and associate user(s) log in with said Virtual Machine profile, allowing you to distribute an identical virtual machine to what the end user had on their desktop PC. When the user logs in again they will be using Windows 7 instead of Win XPe with the same applications and access to proprietary data that was originally resident on the desktop PC prior to implementation to VDI. This migration is seamless to the end user and enables you to clone a VM and distribute it to everyone in your server network allowing them to see the same profile. Or you can create any number of Virtual Machines or VMs often referred to as golden images which provide unique user profiles or meets specific departmental requirements for application/data access.
When using a Thin/Zero Client you are able to lower your carbon footprint as well as significantly reduce the TCO at the desktop level, VDI Clients consumes extremely small amounts of energy, unlike PCs, thus potentially saving you a considerable amounts in electricity costs. Can't afford to refresh all of your desktop PCs with Thin/Zero Clients? No worries, as stated before there are two viable options at the desktop level for VDI. The PC re-purposing software is compatible with virtually any type of X86 base PC that you currently have in your environment. Usually costing as little as $35.00 dollars per desktop, this should allow most organizations to deploy Virtual Desktops company wide, phasing in Thin/Zero Clients to replace their aging high maintenance PCs as their annual budget allows.
- Centralized Management
- Increased Data Security
- Quick and Easy OS Migrations
- Lower Energy Consumption (Thin/Zero Clients Only)
- Improved Disaster Recovery
- Increased End User Up-time