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VMware Issues White Paper

LAS VEGAS -- VMware Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is an alternative strategy for providing Windows XP or Vista desktops to information workers. The traditional desktop model involves providing each user with a full set of desktop hardware to run Windows XP or Vista locally: Each user has a full private copy of Windows.

An alternative approach that has been used for the last decade or so is to provide the user with a thin client (either a true thin client or low-end desktop running client software) to access a common server running Microsoft Terminal Services, sometimes with Citrix Presentation Server. In this scenario, each user shares a large Windows Server 2003 instance, with all applications installed on it.

VMware VDI is essentially a hybrid approach, where each end user has a thin client and connects to a private Windows XP or Vista image-a virtual machine hosted on VMware Virtual Infrastructure. This approach allows IT administrators the greater control over the user environment usually provided by Terminal Services or Citrix environments by consolidating the Windows images on server class hardware. It also allows the images to be stored and managed in the datacenter, while giving each user a full personal copy, which requires no introduction or explanation to a normal user. This information guide focuses on design choices for the storage environment that forms the foundation of a production VMware VDI implementation.

VMware Inc.