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This short article will focus on the main characteristics of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) as opposed to the traditional Terminal Services.

Terminal Services are also known as Remote Desktop Services, whereby software and entire desktops are made available to remote client machines that support RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol). Thin clients are handled through shared sessions with the central server.

Characteristics of TS include:

  • Sharing one server amongst many users
  • All users have the same software with the same configurations
  • Maintenance (updates, patching, troubleshooting, etc.) is handled in a single point
  • Each user has a limited access to the shared pool of resources
  • Requires the usage of VPN in a business setting

The concept of VDI is to use many virtual machines running on top of hypervisors, thereby achieving some sort of isolation.

Characteristics of VDI include:

  • Each user has their own operating system and dedicated resources, their own software with suitable configurations
  • Virtual desktops are available from virtually anywhere if there is an internet connection
  • Data loss is not a problem because it doesn’t reside on local devices
  • The provider handles all updates, storage demand, maintenance etc. for the users
  • Vendor lock-in can be a disadvantage though
  • However, costs are reduced because a virtual desktop can be run on any device and there is no need to spend a lot on infrastructure

You have users agreeing on BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). They do not have a problem in working from remote locations and remote access to the data. (Source)

  • Costs are also more optimally managed because customization is now possible to service the needs of different users
  • Any individual user’s actions do not affect the other users

Computer Science & Data Analytics Master Student @ADA & @GWU