In the last post in this VDI series I outlined Microsoft's Remote Desktop Virtualization terminology. Today I will give an overview of Microsoft's three VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) solutions.
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Microsoft "In-Box" VDI
With In-Box VDI Microsoft refers to the VDI technology that is delivered with Windows Server 2008 R2. I have already introduced some of the In-Box VDI components in my previous article:
- Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V 2.0
- RD Virtualization Host: Supports personal virtual desktops (PVD, each virtual machine has its own OS image) and virtual desktop pools (users/virtual machines share one OS image)
- RD Connection Broker: Supports load balancing and reconnection to existing sessions
- RD Gateway: Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) over HTTPS (SSL)
- Remote Desktop Web Access: Users access their virtual desktops through a web page
Microsoft VDI Standard Suite
The VDI Standard Suite is not a new desktop virtualization product but a collection of Microsoft tools that are useful in a VDI environment. It costs $21 per device, per year. Included in this collection are:
- In-Box VDI components: Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V and Remote Desktop Services
- System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2
- System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2
- System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2
- Microsoft Application Virtualization (only for VDI) through the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP)
Microsoft VDI Premium Suite
The VDI Premium Suite is mostly an extension of the VDI Standard Suite. It costs $53 per device, per year and includes:
- Microsoft VDI Standard Suite
- Complete Remote Desktop Services capability (RDS CALs)
- Microsoft Application Virtualization for Remote Desktop Services
Basically, Microsoft In-Box VDI is just Windows Server 2008 R2 which provides the core technology for Microsoft's desktop virtualization solutions.
The VDI Standard Suite adds App-V for VDI and three System Center products that can be used to manage virtual desktops. With Configuration Manager you can deploy software and updates to the virtual desktops. Virtual Machine Manager helps you manage Hyper-V and your virtual machines, and Operations Manager allows you to monitor your Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. Application virtualization is useful for VDI because it keeps the virtual desktops "clean." In a VDI environment it is essential to ensure that the number of OS images is low and that each image is as simple as possible.
The VDI Premium Suite essentially adds the capability to use not only the VDI functions of Server 2008 R2 but also session virtualization (formerly Terminal Server). So for example you could launch RemoteApp programs from a virtual machine desktop. The VDI Premium Suite provides you with the necessary licenses (RDS CALs). Application virtualization is especially useful for session virtualization because it allows you to run applications that are problematic in a RD Session Host environment.
The term "VDI Premium Suite" is a bit misleading because it doesn't add special VDI features to the VDI Standard Suite. Nevertheless, session virtualization and application virtualization can be helpful for VDI although combining all these technologies raises the complexity level significantly.
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In my next post I will discuss two new technologies that will be delivered with Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1: RemoteFX and Dynamic Memory for Hyper-V. Both technologies could be essential for the adoption of Microsoft VDI products.