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The Virtual Desktop - Computer Sales _ Solutions for Business

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					            Virtual Desktop




              The Virtual
                                                                      operating system running on a virtual desktop has
                                                                      absolutely no idea what sort of “machine” it’s
                                                                      running on. This is the beauty of a virtual desktop.

              Desktop                                                 They act like real desktops, they perform like real
                                                                      desktops, they interact with other machines (either
                                                                      real or virtual) like a real desktop, they’re just not
              By Thomas F. Miller                                     real desktops!
              SARCOM Director of Product Solutions                    Blade PC + Application Sharing = Virtual
                                                                      Desktop
                                                                      A virtual desktop is a cross between a Blade PC
              The word “virtual” gets quite a bit of use in our
                                                                      and application sharing á la Citrix or Terminal
              business. Virtual memory, virtual disks, virtual
                                                                      Server. Blade PCs and application sharing both
              servers, virtual reality, virtual, virtual, virtual!
                                                                      take advantage of remotely accessing computing
              What does the word mean? Let’s start with a
                                                                      resources in the data center, but in two distinctly
              dictionary definition of the word “virtual.”
                                                                      different ways.
              According to the American Heritage Dictionary,
              the word virtual is an adjective that can be applied    Blade PCs move your traditional desktop machine
              to things that really exist and are created or          off of your desk and into a dense rack of many
              carried on by means of a computer. For example,         bladed PCs housed securely in the data center.
              virtual rooms, virtual conversations, the online        You have a one to one relationship with your
              virtual dictionary I referred to for this definition.   blade PC from a remote access device such as
              If you think about it, our computers “virtualize”       a thin client terminal or remote access software
              many aspects of our lives. And now, they’re so          like Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Protocol, HP’s
              good, they can virtualize themselves. A virtual         Remote Graphics Software or even open source
              computer is a computer inside of another                VNC. This scenario effectively moves the desktop
              computer. I often think of this as a “box of boxes.”    to the datacenter but does not effect the
                                                                      processing power these machines have so that all
              Virtual Server vs. Virtual Desktop
                                                                      of this power can be shared among users. This
              Perhaps you’ve heard of virtualizing server             scenario does however give each individual user
              infrastructure. This is a scenario where we load        his own “machine” to work with.
              multiple running instances of server operating
                                                                      Application sharing displaces the desktop machine
              systems on a single powerful server that is
                                                                      with a software based Microsoft Windows
              equipped with a virtualization kernel. In a
                                                                      “session” running on a large server in the data
              virtualized server, multiple OS instances can all
                                                                      center. This scenario does indeed solve the issue
              share and take advantage of the underlying
                                                                      of sharing the processing resources of the server
              networking, storage and processing power of the
                                                                      these sessions are running on, but this special
              host physical machine yet operate independently
                                                                      “session” is not at all similar to a running
              of each other. A virtual desktop is much the same.
                                                                      “machine” in that it doesn’t have it’s own BIOS,
              The only difference is, it’s rare that we need to
                                                                      chipset or memory space. Because of this, many
              access the actual screen, keyboard and mouse of a
                                                                      times applications have to be written and
              virtual server. The whole point of a desktop
                                                                      administered to run in these sorts of sessions.
              machine is to see and interact with it via keyboard
                                                                      Additionally, since there’s only one instance of the
              mouse and display. But, with those two
                                                                      Windows operating system, all running sessions
              differences aside, a virtualized desktop and a
                                                                      must use the software resources of that one
              virtualized server are much the same.
page 26




                                                                      running OS.
              Virtual Desktop Uncovered
                                                                      The virtual desktop is a cross between these two
              So, what’s under the covers of a virtual desktop?       technologies. Every virtual desktop gets its own
              A virtual desktop is a running instance of a            BIOS, chipset and memory space. Every virtual
              desktop operating system that has its own BIOS,         desktop also gets its own operating system
              chipset, disk drives, and network. Although these       instance. Because of this, a virtual machine runs
intuITion




              devices are all “virtual” devices, they look, act and   with autonomy from all other virtual machines
              function just like their “real” counterparts. The       located on the same physical hardware. The
                                                     security of having all of your “desktops” securely
If you think about it, our                           located in the data center. The compatibility of the
computers “virtualize” many                          virtual machine is identical to that of the standard
                                                     physical desktop, with one major exception. The
aspects of our lives.                                hardware abstraction of these virtual machines is
                                                     absolutely identical from one virtual machine to
                                                     the next regardless of what the underlying
number of virtual desktops you can load is           physical hardware actually is. With a virtual
directly proportionate to your available memory.     desktop, you no longer need be concerned about
For instance, a virtualized server with 32 GB of     driver or hardware abstractions from one machine
memory can easily host 60 512MB virtual desktops     to the next. They’re all the same!
simultaneously.
                                                     Now, the only thing I need on a user’s actual desk
Advantages of a Virtual Desktop                      is some sort of thin client or remote software that
                                                     lets them access their virtual desktop. This greatly
So, what are the advantages of a “virtual”
                                                     reduces the time and effort required to care and
desktop? The answers are: centralization,
                                                     feed equipment located on a user’s desk and
performance, security and compatibility. Virtual
                                                     allows that desk to be just about anywhere there’s
                                                                                                            Vol. 3, Issue 3




desktops are centrally located on a robust,
                                                     network connectivity.
redundant server class machine. This
centralization also allows us to locate our user’s   Does all of this sound too good to be true? It’s
machines in close proximity to the servers and       not! We’re using this technology today here at
infrastructure they access. This provides a higher   SARCOM. Please ask your SARCOM representative
level of application performance. The location of    to schedule a demonstration of Virtual Desktop
these machines in the data center also lends a       Infrastructure today!
                                                                                                            page 27




higher degree of uptime due to highly available
power and data infrastructure, not to mention the

				
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