What Is Desktop Virtualization And How Does It Work?

4 min read

Desktop virtualization allows creating and storing different user desktop instances on a single host, living in a data center or the cloud. It is achieved by using a hypervisor (virtual machine monitor), which lives on top of the host server hardware to run and allows virtual desktops to use the computing power of the basic server hardware. The hypervisor produces VMs that simulate the user’s desktop environments, which can hold multiple operating systems, applications, personalized settings, and user data. It can be accessed from a remotely connected device from anywhere with a connection to a network using any laptop, smartphone, or desktop. All user data and programs live in the desktop virtualization server, not on client devices.

How Does Desktop Virtualization Work?

You can achieve desktop virtualization in different ways, but there are two main types based on whether the operating system is remote or local. Local desktop virtualization runs the operating system on a client device using hardware virtualization, and all processing and workloads happen on local hardware. When users don’t need a continuous network connection, local desktop virtualization works very well.  And meets application computing needs with local system resources. However, processing can be done locally and you cannot use local desktop virtualization to share VMs or resources across a network to thin clients (users) or mobile devices. Remote desktop virtualization runs in a server computing environment. It permits users to run operating systems and applications from a server. While, all user interactions take place on a client device such as a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

What Are The Types Of Desktop Virtualization?

The three most famous types of desktop virtualization are:

  • Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)
  •  Remote desktop services(RDS)
  • Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS)

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure(VDI)

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, Desktop Virtualization

In Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), the operating system operates virtual machines which include the desktop image on a server within the data center. Companies that adopt this model run the desktop virtualization server as they would run any other application server on different facts. Users transfer all the end-user computing power into the data center. You have to invest a considerable amount to run VDI sessions at the time of implementation of servers. Since all end-user computing is moved from users back into the data center, the initial deployment of servers to run VDI sessions can be a considerable investment, modified by removing the need to constantly restore end-user devices.

Remote Desktop Services

RDS permits users to remotely access shared desktops and Windows applications on Microsoft Windows Server operating system. In this model, users access remote desktops by sharing the hardware, OS, applications, and host resources. Because only apps are virtualized. Remote desktop services can offer a higher density of users per VM.

Desktop-As-A-Service (DaaS)

Desktop Virtualization ,DaaS (Desktop As A Service)

DaaS functions are similar to virtual desktop infrastructure. Users access their desktops and applications from any endpoint device or platform. However, in VDI, you have to buy, install, and run all the hardware parts yourself. You outsource desktop virtualization to a third party to help you develop and operate virtual desktops in DaaS. DaaS moves the burden of providing desktop virtualization to service providers, which reduces the IT burden in providing virtual desktops. Companies that want to shift IT expenses from capital expenses to operational expenses will appreciate the expected monthly costs that DaaS providers base their business model on.

What Are The Benefits Of Desktop Virtualization?

It depends upon the deployment model chosen, virtualized desktops have many virtualization benefits. Following are some of them:

Simpler Administration 

Desktop virtualization makes it easy for IT teams to control and manage employee computing requirements. Your business can maintain a single VM template for employees within the same roles or functions instead of maintaining individual computers that must be recomposed, updated, or repaired whenever software changes need to be made. It saves time and IT resources.

Saves Money

Many virtual desktop solutions permit you to shift more of your IT budget from capital expenses to operating expenses. Because compute-intensive applications (that demands a lot of computation) need less processing power when they’re delivered via VMs hosted on a data center server, desktop virtualization can increase the life of older or less powerful end-user devices. On a different basis, virtual desktop solutions may need a noteable initial investment in server hardware, hypervisor software, and other infrastructure, making cloud-based DaaS—wherein you simply pay a regular usage-based charge—a more attractive choice.

Increases Productivity

Desktop virtualization makes it easier for employees to access business computing resources. They can work remotely from any supported device with an Internet connection.


In desktop virtualization, the desktop image is distracted and separated from the physical hardware used to access it, and the VM used to deliver the desktop image can be a tightly controlled environment managed by the business IT department.

Agility And Scalability

It is easy and quick to install new VMs or serve new applications when required, and it is easy to delete them when you don’t need them.

Better End-User Experiences

When you plan desktop virtualization, your end-users will enjoy a feature-rich experience without sacrificing functionality they’ve come to depend on, like printing or access to USB ports.

Supported Devices

There are many different devices that are supported by virtual desktops remotely, like laptops, desktops, zero clients, thin clients (users), mobile phones, and tablets. Desktop virtualization delivers workstation experiences and provides access to a full desktop remotely (anywhere, anytime), regardless of the native operating system on the end-user device.


Virtual desktops can be the best option for your company to control costs, provide more choices for desktop access, increase productivity, increase security, and simplify administration. There are multiple options for desktop virtualization, which also provides flexibility. If you are also a beginner, don’t have any idea about VMware solutions, or want to go for an interview, here are the detailed VMware questions and answers to qualifying for the interview. It will help you a lot in understanding what is VMware and how does it work?

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