Desktop virtualization

Usually desktop virtualization is understood as a technology that provides user with full access to their working environment running in the server’s virtual machine. Virtual desktop is in fact an image of a computer, which contains operating system, applications and settings. Client machine used for access to virtual desktop image only needs to provide remote connection to the server, which means that user is no longer tied to a certain PC. With desktop virtualization user can work with their files and applications located on the server side from any terminal, including territorially remote ones.

Such way of connection provides for an opportunity to access user’s working environment from any geographical point of the world, while the environment keeps the state, in which user left it after the latest working session. Working session virtualization (user commands, desktop display) is carried out by software of a thin client.

Thin clients
Thin clients connect to server, where all needed programs and applications reside. The same server provides access to data storage and carries out all computations.

Owing to thin clients implementation, load distribution falls completely on terminal server, and every user is working on a separate input-output device (terminal station), which doesn’t perform any computations itself and is merely used for determining the tasks and receiving server’s response.

Terminal stations can work well without major pieces of hardware or software, which are considered crucial for typical computers.

This technology introduces several obvious advantages.

Firstly, it makes user free from being tied to a certain PC, providing usual informational and computational environment anywhere and anytime.

Secondly, it allows considerably lowering the expenses related to the maintenance and support of numerous workplaces, since user stations become virtualized. Only one central server needs to be maintained including such works as periodical installation of new versions of system, client and applied software, as well as regular scheduled maintenance.

Thirdly, one more substantial advantage of desktop virtualization is the ease of virtual machine cloning. For example, a company establishes a new office, where 20 new workplaces should be organized for workers. Without using virtual machines, technical staff should have assembled and test computers, and then installed operating system and applications for twenty times.

Now, with desktop virtualization, it is only necessary to create one workstation and make 19 clones of it, after which only minimum tweaking of some virtual desktops is needed in order to meet requirements of certain users.

The same applies to data backup. If saving a backup of a regular physical computer is either only partially possible or requires bringing the system offline, then creating full backups (snapshots) of virtual desktops is possible at any time without interrupting the work. Restoring virtual desktop from backup is carried out multiple times faster than restoring backup of a real computer.