Desktop virtualization is a relatively new concept utilises the untapped power within data centres to deliver and host desktop instances on. This type of solution allows organisations to significantly lower thei-r IT maintenance costs and streamline their desktop delivery processes.
Centralising the desktop infrastructure also allows organisation to quickly flex up or down to meet the needs of the organisation. It also also rapid changing, upgrading or deployment of changes to aid an organisation perform in a competitive market.
So today, for example instead of running 60 pcs, each with their own processor, RAM, hard drive, monitors and everything else. We now have 60 low energy thin clients connected to a data center via desktop virtualization in which each persons session is hosted on a server. Now a server hosts multiple desktop sessions which allows the maximising of computing resources ensuring no computing power is wasted. This means that when an employee is on his or her computer working and customising their workstation as they normally would, they aren’t actually on their individual workstation their session is just a virtual session held on a server.
So instead of having 60 pcs with 500W power supplies and all the associated components running continually, that load can be hosted on 2 1000W servers. When you look at the sums you’ll end up seeing that a significant amount of money can be saved in energy alone, so can desktop virtualization be good for the environment as well. Further saving can be made in hardware cost, the costs of maintenance and operations.
Savings in hardware costs come down because the lifespan of thin clients tend to 5x that of a traditional PCs, this extends the rate of replacement and therefore the lengthening of the hardware lifecycle. Thin clients also tend not to have any moving parts thus there is less wear and tear so less maintenance is required so costs go down. There are currently two leading virtual desktop virtualization providers which are VMWare and Citrix but coming up quickly are Microsoft. VMWare leading product is VMWare View which has some great innovations which address the maximising of storage and network bandwidth with the introduction of tiered storage and PcoIP. Citrix’s leading products are XenDesktop (XD) and VDI in a Box (ViaB). Both of these products are simple to use and to implement and with 2 leading products aimed at different market segments the key is choosing which one is right for you.
VDI in a Box
VDI in a Box is a very simple, wizard based desktop virtualization platform which effectively allows you to create a golden desktop image and then clones that multiple times. Those clone guest desktops are accessible via a range of different ways. This efficient and simplified platform can mean that an organisation could have an effective and scalable virtual desktop solution up and running in days, instead of months.
XenDesktop, on the other hand is more complex and has been designed for larger enterprises. Its additional functionality allows administrators to customise the environment further by the creation of scripts that automatically create new desktops & collect metrics. XenDesktop deployments can be difficult but the product has been around for a while and is well known by many.
VDI in a Box previously known as Kaviza is a dream to use and can be scaled to support thousands of desktops thanks to its modular architecture and the use of multiple hypervisor hosts. For those of you who don’t know, a hypervisor is basically software which is run on a server that allows it to host multiple servers\desktops within one centralised physical environment.
For organisation’s looking to start with a small desktop virtualization deployment on which they would like to expand at a later date then use VDI in a Box. VDI in a Box requires less maintenance and is simpler to deploy, therefore a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
So if you’re looking for a highly configurable and largely automated solution and cost isn’t a major concern, then look at XenDesktop or VMWare View. The one feature that VMWare View has above XenDesktop is its ability to utilise tiered storage for hosting of desktops. In my opinion VMWare also have a more cost effective remote access approach and we love PCoIP, truly innovative. On those final benefits, I would fully recommend VMWare View, but XenDesktop isn’t far behind and Citrix truly has pedigree in this market space.
If you’re looking for a simple, straightforward, scalable solution then VDI in a Box is your best bet.