What is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure?

10/24/2014 • by Josh Topolski

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, or VDI, is one form of virtualizing a standard desktop system. By using VDI, businesses gain the ability to run a user’s physical desktop from within a virtual environment that resides on a server inside the company’s data center. This virtual server allows hosting on a remote service on the Internet so that a virtual desktop, containing the same operating system and software the physical desktop has, is created and easily accessed anytime, anywhere and on any device, safely and securely.

What Does VDI Mean?

Having VDI means that now businesses with multiple desktops and users have the ability to simplify the management of their individual systems into one central location. Having an entire desktop computer network controlled from a single site, eliminates the need for separate maintenance and upgrades to individual workstations, while also allowing users to switch between operating systems, such as Windows XP and Windows 7, easily and swiftly.

VDI also means users can access the virtual desktop from mobile devices, such as laptops, tablets and smart phones, enabling the freedom of working anywhere.

How Does VDI Work?

The best way to understand how VDI works, is to think of it as a “shadow” of the existing, physical desktop system. The virtual desktop has the same operating system, installed programs, and files that the physical desktop contains. As the “shadow” copy, it resides on an Internet server where the user can gain access to it remotely. The entire process of retrieval happens through interfacing with the central server.

The operating system, software application, documents and other data of the physical desktop are stored on the virtual desktop on a cloud-based server. Since every desktop user sees the same image, it is impossible to tell the difference between the actual desktop and the virtual desktop once it’s been accessed.

The Benefits of VDI

One of the largest benefits of having VDI is the ability to have global access to a complete network of business desktop systems, regardless of the number of desktops in the network. This allows easier maintenance of hardware and software as well as more control over troubleshooting to prevent user downtime. If for some reason a user cannot work on their own desktop, work can easily be continued from another computer or device.

With processing moving to a VDI server, the need to upgrade the hardware on individual PCs to meet upgraded operating system requirements is eliminated. This results in more easily managed hardware costs, since the management of the system takes place in a single data center, and users equally share redundant power supplies, high-performance storage, a UPS and high-bandwidth networking.

VDI is also an effective means of implementing strong back-up and disaster recovery solutions by enabling simultaneous and routine updating of the desktop data via the remote server.

Conclusion

All this adds up to VDI being a more streamlined and cost-efficient business solution for companies that have several desktop computers. VDI enables these businesses to centralize management, making it simpler and more secure, while providing users with the mobility of having their work environment accessible whenever they need it.

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