Transition from Terminal Server To VDI Architecture:
Earlier, the Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Protocol in existence worked on connecting the client computer to the host server, which enabled the user to operate the host remotely. This was the Remote Desktop Service System, where one user operated at a time to get connected to the host. The host was called the ‘Terminal Server’ (TS) or the ‘Remote Desktop Server’ (RDS).
This system suffered from some serious privacy issues, and the multi user compatibility. This gave rise to Virtualization System, which divides the server host into various virtual machines (VMs), with an individual virtual desktop of their own. The multiple users get connected to the individual VMs. This architecture was referred to as ‘Virtual Desktop Infrastructure’ (VDI). The Desktop Virtualization can be associated with two types of end-point devices:
Designed for VDI Architecture, these were the end point devices which typically ran on some specific Operating System. The most common thin clients today run on Linux, Windows Embedded and a rare few on Windows CE operating systems. These usually contain multiple VDI connection brokers (responsible to establish remote connection) managed with a central utility, and are very flexible.
Instead of an Operating System, these have an onboard processor, where most of the decoding and processing takes place on the dedicated hardware. This eliminates the need of a standard CPU or GPU set-up. These systems have the boot-up speed of a few seconds which enhances the overall user experience with minimal delays. The Zero Clients are specifically designed for a specific protocol, most commonly PCoIP, HDX or RemoteFX, with the ones deploying PCoIP having exceptional video graphics. They run on one or two connection types at maximum, for example, Citrix or VMWare.
What makes up this VDI??
The VDI Architecture can be well understood as the sequential collaboration of the following necessary components:
- A Physical Server- This is the host which will house the complete data environment.
- Hypervisor- It is the virtual machine manager. It creates the multiple virtual machines in the server and hosts those.
- Connection Broker- The desktop agent which makes use of certain protocols to create and maintain the remote connection with the client machine.
- Endpoint Device- The client machine or PC, through which he can access the host.
The Major Players in the world of VDI:
There are a limited few names in this area, as the providers for VDI architecture. These are the companies with the prevalent hypervisor platforms to create the virtual machines and responsible for installing the virtual desktops:
- XenServer from Citrix
- vSphere from VMware
- Hyper-V from Microsoft
- KVM from Redhat
- VirtualBox from Oracle
- Parallel hypervisor from Parallels
Then comes the connection broker. It establishes the connection between the hypervisor’s virtual machines and the client’s operating system. For connection brokering services, View from VMWare is a preferred name.
The protocols are designed to regulate the working of these services, which involve the following major companies:
- Microsoft: Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) + RemoteFX
- Citrix: Independent Computing Architecture (ICA) + HDX
- VMware/ Teradici: PCoIP
- Redhat: Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environments (SPICE)
- HP: Remote Graphic Software (RGS)
- Ericom Blaze: Blaze
- Dell Quest: Experience Optimized Protocol (EOP)
Which One Is Preferred – Thin Client or Zero Client??
The zero clients are the recommended choice for various reasons, for which they are preferred over the thin clients.
In Comparison To The Thin Client Systems:
- Lower Deployment Costs:
- Lesser Licensing And Maintenance:
- Negligible Power Consumption:
Which Zero Client To Look For??
Out of many big names in the market today, check for the one that offers following features:
- Open source hypervisor
- Free maintenance
- All in a Single Package
- Can support needed industry applications
- Has an unlimited user number supported
- Is affordable