What is a Virtual Desktop?

  • Posted on: 10 October 2016
  • By: jbailey4

A Virtual Desktop is your typical desktop, re-imagined. Imagine the machine that was once statically placed on your desk in application form and accessible anywhere in the world!

Since 2013, Kent State University Tuscarawas has been utilizing this technology to deliver university-licensed applications to faculty, staff and students.

How does the virtual desktop work?There are many different ways it can be built. In our particular case, Network Services decided to go with a "private cloud" approach. This means all hardware and data resides within the data center on site. A dedicated cluster of powerful servers connect to a high speed, fiber connected, hybrid storage array.

Applications are then built, tested, and maintained by Network Services Staff to assure a quality delivered application at each log in. 3 versions of the application and operating system are kept back upon updates in case of an issue with a conflict. This means that in the event there is an unforeseen problem with an application, Network Services can quickly revert the application so that you can continue working from anywhere in the world.

What do we mean by anywhere? Anywhere there is an internet connection! When I was recently on vacation, I connected into my VDI from Fairbanks, Alaska! There are many ways to connect to VDI. For example: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android. There is even an HTML5 web browser client that can allow you to connect somewhere you may not have administrative access to install the client. Examples would be a hotel or library.

How is it backed up?
VDI is backed up on an layer-level on campus. Of course, user files are backed up in VDI the same way they are with physical desktops connected to the domain. On and off-site.

This sounds great! But I don't have a virtual desktop! Do I qualify?
Currently, virtual desktops can be utilized by university employees supported by the Tuscarawas Network Services team. If you feel this is a great option for you, head to our Helpdesk page and fill out a virtual desktop request form.

All other questions can be directed towards jbailey4@kent.edu