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April 2013, Volume 2, Number 4

Nonpersistent vs. persistent desktops: Why VDI should persist

Want your VDI project to be a success? Choose persistent desktops. In the world of virtual desktop infrastructure, there are two basic kinds of desktops: persistent (also called personal or one-to-one) and nonpersistent (also called shared or many-to-one). Many VDI proponents claim that nonpersistent desktops are the way to go because they're easier to manage than persistent VDI. With nonpersistent, a single disk image is shared among many users. As each user logs in, he or she gets a clone of the shared master desktop, and then that clone is customized on demand with app virtualization (Microsoft App-V, VMware ThinApp, etc.) or with user environment virtualization (AppSense, RES, etc.). While this seems like a great concept, the unfortunate reality is that it's impossible to virtualize every single app and user setting with these tools. For example, how do you handle new apps the user wants to install? They can't install to the master image since that's the image that's used for everyone, and they can't install into their own ...

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