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Microsoft Virtualization Secrets by John Savill

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Exploring Third-Party VDI Solutions

The Windows Server 2008 R2 VDI solution worked well for smaller implementations because of the static nature of the virtual machines. Windows Server 2012 takes the in-box VDI solution to the next level with user profile disks and virtual desktop templates. That being said, sometimes another level of technology—such as the need to dynamically stream a single gold image or, most frequently, the need to provide better support for non-Windows client devices—may also be needed.

Two of the main Microsoft partners in the VDI space are Citrix and Quest, both of which offer VDI solutions that leverage some Microsoft virtualization capabilities, such as Hyper-V and App-V, but replace other components, such as the RD Connection Broker, RD Gateway, and RD Web Access. Both of these vendors offer a single solution, Citrix XenDesktop and Quest vWorkspace, that include both VDI and session-based desktop scenarios. XenDesktop replaces RDP with its own Independent Computing Architecture (ICA) protocol, which has other complementary technologies grouped into a solution known as HDX. Citrix has clients for nearly every platform and also works very well in WAN scenarios. On the other hand, vWorkspace leverages RDP but enhances it with its own customizations. Both third-party solutions offer improved image management capabilities, allowing a single gold template image to be used dynamically as new users connect, automatically populating the virtual machine with the ...

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