Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
In this article, Igor will cover the basic principles for understanding Microsoft's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.
The general idea behind VDI is simple: Provide organisational users a desktop environment, fully loaded with all their applications and files in a contained virtual machine located on our centralised virtualisation datacenter, and in doing so enhance the manageability, scalability and service level we offer and provide.
To illustrate the point, instead of managing 500 separate workstations, we're in fact managing one datacenter with one virtualisation platform including one desktop image, the Golden Image, while using one single management console.
In effect, instead of working using standard PCs, the users start working with Thin Clients, a very minimal machine that supports the Remote Desktop Services protocol. This machine will allow the user to connect to his work environment while maintaining the full workstation experience.
From the users' point of view, nothing changes and if done right, they wouldn't even notice the difference. We can provide them with all the benefits while introducing none of the down-sides.
For example, if a user experience hardware issues with a Thin Client machine, all that needs to be done is to replace the defective hardware. No backup or restore necessary. Compare that to a normal workstation, where the user's files and configuration need to be backed up, the machine needs to be installed with a fresh copy of the operating system and then everything needs to be restored. This can sometimes take hours and really interfere with the user's schedule.
Microsoft's VDI can be implemented in these three different variations:
- Session Based - Technically, the old way of doing things. Users connect to a central server and share the server's resources, each user in their own separate session on the server.
- Personal Virtual Desktop - Each user connects to his own personal Windows 7/8/8.1/10 virtual machine. The VM is assigned to a one and only specific user with definitive permissions.
- Pooled Virtual Desktop - Each user connects to an available Windows 7/8/8.1/10 virtual machine. Every machine in the pool is identical to all the other machines which are all built on the same shared Golden Image. Each machine in the pool is a delta of that base Golden Image, meaning only changes performed on the machines are persisted to the storage device. This saves a lot of storage space.
For comparison, 10 Personal Virtual Desktops, each weighing 40 GB, will take up 400 GB of storage space. 10 VMs in a Pooled VDI implementation will only occupy the base 40GB of storage plus any changes made by the user that will be stored in a .avhdx file. This can potentially save hundred of GB of storage space.
Furthermore, any changes that the users do make on the machine in the pool that aren't part of their user profile are not persisted, meaning every time a user connects, his machine is reverted back to a pristine condition and repopulated with his personal profile.
In any one of these deployment choices, we have the option to create and use a User Profile Disk, a special share where all the users' personal information and data (Desktop, Documents, Default Profile and so on) are saved. It works similarly to Roaming Profiles, but implemented in a much more comfortable manner where a virtual disk, .vhdx file, is created for every user.
Microsoft VDI advantages and benefits
- Efficient use of computing resources
- Support for virtual graphics cards (vGPU)
- A Rich User Experience with RemoteFX
- Central Management of the desktop environment
- Easy, Fast and Direct access to applications
- Unified work environment for the organization
- Great availability, redundancy and scalability
- Updates and Upgrades are centrally managed
- Users' data is centrally stored and backed up
- Improved security
VDI, in any configuration we choose to implement, allows us to set up a centralised work environment for the users in a very secure, manageable and simple manner from any location and any device.comments powered by Disqus