08 Jun What You Should Know About Virtual Desktops
In the digital age, almost everything we do is virtual. We communicate virtually. We play games with our friends virtually. Some of us even have virtual lives online. But what about virtual desktops? To be clear, virtual desktops does not mean working from home — although that can be part of it. Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) describes the hosting of multiple virtual desktops at a central server. This virtualization offers the same conveniences of the other aspects of our virtual routine processes. It has pervasive accessibility, interactive prowess, the ability to save data frequently and easily, the ability to come back to that data in one piece and the freedom to carry that virtual instance wherever we want.
What Is a Virtual Desktop?
Virtual desktops — sometimes called virtual machines — allow the desktop environment of a user to be re-imagined outside of the user’s computer. Essentially, the hardware of your computer doesn’t need to be in immediate proximity for you to access any of your desired files or software. Desktop virtualization is accessible from any client device. You can have a virtual desktop on any phone, tablet or another computer that has the basic capabilities required.
The Computer Stack
The mechanics of virtualization are fairly easy to understand metaphorically. Imagine that the hardware and software of which a computer is composed exists as a stack. Computers by themselves consist of layers that start with the hardware, which coexists with the operating system layer and the application layer.
– The Hardware Layer
The hardware layer is responsible for undertaking many operations. Hardware stores memory — typically either random access memory (RAM) or disk space — which keeps your computer running smoothly and holds space for you to install software. Your hardware also works with compatible input and output devices, like a flash drive, for example. Execution hardware, a subset of the hardware layer, carries out the calculations and operations your computer needs to perform. A bus or system interconnect bridges all these different components together.
– The Software Layer
Operating systems are at the beginning of a computer’s software layer. They are the crux of computer functionality. Though operating systems are fundamentally classified as software, the other software elements of a computer would be almost entirely inoperable without the operating system. Apart from the operating system, the software layer contains libraries and the application layers. Libraries collect data, documentation and routines to support the application layer. The application layer is composed of all the programs on your computer.
3 Types of Virtual Machines
Virtual machines exist in various parts of a computer stack. Three cases can serve to explain this particular engineering, executed on different layers. The first layer is the hardware-level of virtualization. Secondly, there is the operating system-level virtualization. And lastly, there is the virtual machine itself.
Virtualization at the hardware-level emulates the hardware of an actual machine, making virtual replicas of the CPU, memory, disks, registers and all the physical mechanisms of a desktop computer. This is an iteration of the original meaning of “virtual machine” from 1960, which is more related to copying an image than actually implementing software.
2. Operating System
At the operating system-level, processes are managed between the operating system of the device and the application layer. This is called a process virtual machine and is meant to run specific applications optimized for the virtual operating system. The virtual machine terminates when the objective processes have been completed.
Finally, there is the high-level virtual machine. Virtual machines of this kind are high-level because the process is completely virtualized. Known as system virtual machines, these desktops run on the application layer and use a hypervisor to operate, running one or more virtual machines at once through a host server.
Why You Should Use a Virtual Desktop for Your Business?
Virtual desktops can optimize business for any digital need. Interacting with a desktop remotely promotes accessibility and saves costs. If managing physical desktops has ever been more strenuous than you thought was worth it, there are several reasons why switching to a virtual desktop could be a good idea.
Much of the cost of owning a PC is spent on maintenance and management for hardware and software. Buying a computer for your business is only a small percentage of the total cost that your business will have to pay for upkeep. Virtual desktops cut these costs down dramatically.
Virtual desktops eliminate the need for frequent trips to IT support or desktop technicians. Since virtual desktops are not composed of physical components, they won’t wear down over time, so you spend less money on replacements. Sustainability is another advantage to virtual desktops. Naturally, they use less energy than running a traditional monitor and desktop setup.
Virtual access means more security for those using it. Having physical representations of important company data carried along with personal items is dangerous. Even carrying around a device where information is easily accessible could jeopardize your business. Virtual desktops are applications that can be encrypted. A laptop or briefcase can be lost and unlocked, but a virtual desktop can’t be stolen, lost or tampered with.
Virtual desktops are also isolated from your physical machine. Any hackers or bugs that try to infiltrate your virtual machine can likewise be handled virtually and efficiently. They are trapped in the virtual desktops, unable to interfere with anything related to relevant physical systems.
With virtual desktop software, IT professionals do not have to come in and spend time setting up computers for new employees. Virtual desktops are managed through a central location, so the manual labor of going from computer to computer in a large business office is unnecessary. Through a virtual desktop, everything can be automated and streamlined across all devices.
Software installations take valuable time, as well as updating and patching applications. If there is a more convenient and faster way of doing this, productivity will increase. Virtual desktops are the solution. Employees will have more time to work rather than sit around and wait for an update and restart of unpredictable length.
We’re all familiar with the frustration of having countless formatting errors due to incompatibility from one system to another. Many try to solve this problem by asking the sender to “save as” a certain type, which can help if you’re not using an entirely different program. This doesn’t even account for problems outside of basic text editors.
Virtual desktops are made so that any written code can run on it. Imagine you have an Apple computer, and you need to work with a Windows application. In that case, you can open your virtual machine and create a Windows virtual desktop instance, allowing you to run the application with ease.
High-level virtual machines are an example of level of indirection. Indirection can be used in programming to reference a likeness of a value instead of the authentic value. For virtual machines, this suggests that they can be used as a decoy of sorts. As we established, this is helpful to lure away or confront hackers and bugs. But there is another benefit.
You can use virtual desktops to run programs and debug errors that only present themselves during run-time. This prevents any system crashes or unexpected failures that happen from compromising a physical computer.
Every time additional software is installed onto a traditional computer, it takes up disk space and slows down memory. While this is normal, it’s not necessary. The speed and response times of virtual machines are much quicker than that of physical desktops thanks to their complete virtualization. On physical systems, the machine must physically read the data. A hard disk can only be spun so fast to read this information. Alternative disk types are available but all their applications will, of course, be physical in nature. Hardware limitations won’t slow you down with virtual desktops.
Where Can You Find VDI?
Virtual desktops come pre-set with many useful features right out the box. Integrating virtual desktops into your business is an innovative approach to growing your business. The freedom of virtual desktops will bring significant changes to your office. But your greatest obligation is choosing the virtual desktop that is right for your business.
With Netrepid, we can ensure that you’ll be getting the features you need for your business. By using system virtual machines, our Citrix VDI solutions deliver secure, quality services with the added convenience of professional support. We give expert advice, maintain hardware, perform quarterly assessments and provide you unlimited support for your virtual needs. Unchain your desktop from your desk. Contact us now to stay on top of the virtual world.