vmware desktops basics

I am familiar with the concepts of virtual servers i.e. 10 or so guest virtual machines on the same vsphere host, but how do virtual desktops work, is it the same concept, i.e a guest virtual desktop machine on the same hosts as the servers as well (how do users access these virtual desktops?), or is it more likely to find a totally different hardware and hypervisor platform? What vmware tools are used for virtual desktops?
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pma111Asked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, it's exactly the same, access is provided by a Client, either by RDP, or a specialist Client .e.g Citrix ICA or VMware Client PCoIP. This client software is installed on the Workstation, or Dumb Thin Clients are used to access the Desktop Farm.

The same Hypervisors, VMware, Microsoft or Citrix are used, sometimes, organisations prefer to seprate Servers from Desktop Pools, so have separate farms and hardware.
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pma111Author Commented:
Is there a specific product for desktop virtualisation in vmwares range? i.e. I assume vsphere is for virtual servers only?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
VMware Horizons Suite
http://www.vmware.com/uk/products/horizon-suite/

it used to be a called VMware vSphere View
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pma111Author Commented:
But you could also possible just add the desktops on a vsphere host? I.e. you can use both desktops and servers on vsphere? is that correct?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes, Servers and Desktops can share the same hosts. This is done in smaller organizations.
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Mohammed KhawajaManager - Infrastructure:  Information TechnologyCommented:
I personally prefer Citrix solution as it is more robust.
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pma111Author Commented:
Do you need vmware horizons suite though for desktop virtualisaiton, or can you have virtual desktops just like you do virtual servers on the same vsphere host? Or if you are having virtual desktops cant you use them on vsphere?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You can just have a virtual computer, this could be a server or desktop operating system.

VMware Horizon Suite, provides you with management of many desktops.
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coolsport00Commented:
What Horizon View can do though is save $$ and administration. How? Let me explain - you can create a VM for your View environment and use that as a 'base' image or template. From that VM, you can create a "linked-clone" pool of VMs to use for desktops. Why is that beneficial? Well, those linked-clone VMs are not "full" VMs. They don't have a full virtual disk used for their OS. The use the parent VM's virtual disk. What this does is preserve storage. Another benefit is, you can install software in 1 place...on that parent/base VM (and upgrade software) and not on each of those linked-clones. The reason is because..again..those VMs use the virtual disk of that parent/base VM. Administration is easier because you can do changes to 1 VM, then do a "recompose" operation to those linked-clone VMs and the changes are then disseminated to them. Costs can be saved also by using a "dumbed-down" client - a thin or zero client device, for example that typically is much less than a PC or notebook. They only need a very 'thin' OS with a support client installed that enables remote connectivity to those linked-clone VMs. Now, I will say this, getting a View (VDI) infrastructure up & going is a pretty expensive initial capital cost - storage & "right-sizing" it for desktop performance, vSphere & licensing, Hosts, administration, & clients if not using current workstations (yes, you can use current workstations & just strip down the OS to only have a VDI client). Horizon also provides a way to disperse apps via ThinApp. You can install & update in a central location, then provide the app(s) to VM desktops.

Now, you can just use a plain vSphere environment, install a Windows OS in a VM and just have a user connect to it, but that doesn't really provide any benefit. Reason? Well, the main reason is you're using full VMs... i.e. virtual disks for those VMs users would connect to. You have to manage apps, patching, etc. on multiple VMs instead of a parent/base VM....and other reasons.

Long response, I know :) So, I think the above experts answered your question generally-speaking... yes, VDI is for the most part, like standard virtualization. But, there are way more components to it & can be a bit complex.

Regards,
~coolsport00
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