Embracing the Return of the Dumb Terminal
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)—the desktop equivalent of the cloud—and session virtualization can often provide the solution to some of the problems presented by mobile workers. VDI enables users to remotely connect to a client operating system running in a virtual environment within the corporate datacenter. Session virtualization, on the other hand, is an often overlooked option that can be a better fit than VDI for many scenarios. While VDI provides each user with his own client operating system on a virtual machine, session virtualization provides the same user experience but provides a session on a shared server operating system. VDI is frequently seen as a cure-all for everything from poor desktop management to solving application compatibility problems. Although that isn’t the case, it’s still a great solution when used in the right ways.
CROSSREF Chapter 11 describes the VDI in detail, and Chapter 7 covers session virtualization.
Regardless of which option you use, you can provide a Windows environment for outside users who are connected to the corporate infrastructure that can run corporate applications and access corporate data, all while running within the datacenter. The user accesses this Windows environment through remote desktop protocols using a client application that could be running on an iPad, a mobile phone, a home machine, or a laptop. The device doesn’t matter because it is just serving as a dumb terminal ...