Desktop Virtualization, or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) isolates an operating system (OS) and all applications from the physical computer. The desktop environment is stored on a remote or centralized server, and can be accessed from any location.
There are two models of desktop virtualization:
- Host-based virtual machines (VM): Host-based VMs require users to login and interact with their desktops through a network using a remote display protocol. The VM is hosted within a data center. Users can access the same VM each time, allowing them to personalize them, or they can be given access to a random VM from a pool (non-persistent desktop).
- Shared hosted VM: Shared hosted VMs (also known as remote desktop services or terminal services) allow users to connect to a shared desktop or to individual applications which run on the server.
- Host-based physical machines: Host-based physical machines, or blades, allow the operating system (OS) to run directly on the physical hardware within a data center.
- Client-based VM: Client-based VMs are processed through local hardware.
- OS streaming: Operating systems run on local hardware, but boot to a remote disk image through a network. Groups of desktops can use the same image. OS streaming does require a constant network connection to function.
- Client-based VM: A virtual machine that runs on a personal computer (PC) with a hypervisor. A hypervisor, or virtual machine manager, is a program which allows operating systems to share a hardware host. It controls the host processor and resources and allocates them to each individual OS, preventing disruptions between VMs. Client-based VMs do not require a constant network connection to function.