How Desktop Virtualisation Works And It’s Benefits

How Desktop Virtualisation Works And It’s Benefits

Virtualisation in information technology is the process of creating a virtual system, separate from any kind of physical machine. The applications of this are many, but the chief benefit is that systems are not reliant on physical hardware – and thus are free from the constraints of said components. Restraints may include malfunction, compatibility issues and a lower cost in deploying applications.

Desktop virtualisation is essentially the creation of a personal desktop computer environment, identical to a normal desktop on a given computer, which is wholly separate from any kind of physical hardware and purely software driven. This process works by the client machine, in other words the machine on which the desktop is to virtualised, connecting to a host server which uses its hardware capabilities to produce the virtual desktop infrastructure which is then pushed through to the client machine over a network.

Larger networks often use this infrastructure in order to save on costs of implementing hardware upgrades or replacement. With a virtualised desktop having all its data on a centralised server, there is no need for upgrading hardware capabilities on individual machines, and in the event of malfunction of a virtualised desktop – all the data is readily accessible at one central location. This makes it a very efficient method of computing. With data kept on the remote central server, as opposed to the remote client there is an ease of accessibility and the user who works at a remote client machine only has to access a single machine where all the programs, applications, processes and data are stored. This allows users on the remote client machine to run programs or applications that exceed the hardware capabilities of their individual machine – as the capabilities of the server are pushed through remotely. The possibilities of a saving in cost here are significant, as a client machine will only need basic hardware to run intense data resource consuming software – thus applications may used on a device like a smartphone or laptop, which will not have the necessary capabilities to run such a desktop itself.

The central server will both create and maintain the virtualised desktop, and it is customisable according to the needs of the users on a network. As a result any changes made to the virtual desktop on the remote server will be propagated to all the client machines using the virtual desktop interface.

The benefits of such a system are many, including the ease of remote administration – which is helpful on larger networks featuring numerous machines. Another key benefit, as I have touched upon, is the diminished physical hardware capabilities required by client machines to use a virtualised desktop. It is possible for organisations to maintain one state of the art machine as a server, and use stripped down machines as clients. So called thin clients, also known as dumb terminals, are inexpensive to implement across a network and also to replace in the event of hardware failure. The stripped down nature of these machines also means that the hardware is less likely to fail, by virtue of the fact that there is less of it and the hardware that is present is relatively basic.

So there you have a brief overview of what desktop virtualisation is, as well as a basic dissection of how it works. There are many variants, as well as technological constraints, that may affect the implementation of such a system – but I have given some of the benefits, and as a result of these benefits many organisations will opt for such a system.

Jeffrey Nevil writes on a number of subjects including desktop virtualisation.

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