Virtual Desktop Definitions

This glossary explains the meaning of key words and phrases that information technology (IT) and business professionals use when discussing virtual desktop and related software products. You can find additional definitions by visiting WhatIs.com or using the search box below.

  • A

    app virtualization (application virtualization)

    App virtualization (application virtualization) is the separation of an installation of an application from the client computer that is accessing it.

  • application layering (app layering)

    Application layering is a technology that delivers individual apps or groups of apps in layers distributed to users' virtual desktops at login. This allows IT to manage and update apps and base images separately.

  • application streaming

    Application streaming is an on-demand software delivery model that takes advantage of the fact that most applications require only a small fraction of their total program code to run.

  • B

    browser virtualization (in desktop virtualization)

    Virtualizing a browser helps companies run mission-critical applications in legacy browsers.

  • C

    Chrome Remote Desktop

    Chrome Remote Desktop is an extension of the Google Chrome browser that allows a user to remotely see and control another user's desktop through the browser window.

  • Citrix App Layering (formerly Citrix AppDisk)

    Citrix App Layering, formerly Citrix AppDisk, is a tool that delivers applications in layers independently from the virtual desktop operating system.

  • Citrix AppDNA

    Citrix AppDNA is an application testing and management technology for XenApp and XenDesktop that analyzes virtual applications' compatibility with specific operating systems and configurations. AppDNA either automatically repairs or offers instructions for IT administrators to manually repair compatibility problems.

  • Citrix Cloud

    Citrix Cloud is a workspace management tool IT can use to deliver resources, including virtual desktops and apps, to users from a public or private cloud, on-premises deployment, or all three.

  • Citrix DesktopPlayer

    Citrix DesktopPlayer is a desktop virtualization platform with a Type 2 hypervisor that administrators install locally on top of a Windows or Mac OS X operating system. DesktopPlayer allows users to access a separate virtual desktop when they are using wireless internet or are not connected to the company network.

  • Citrix Director

    Citrix Director is a management console in XenDesktop and XenApp that allows IT administrators to monitor virtual desktop and application deployments, including user and infrastructure tracking.

  • Citrix FlexCast

    Citrix FlexCast is a delivery technology that allows an IT administrator to personalize virtual desktops to meet the performance, security and flexibility requirements of end users. Currently, there are five different FlexCast models available.  

  • Citrix HDX 3D Pro

    Citrix HDX 3D Pro is a group of remote display and graphics acceleration technologies designed to optimize the user experience of resource-intensive virtual applications on the XenDesktop and XenApp platforms.

  • Citrix Machine Creation Services (Citrix MCS)

    Citrix Machine Creation Services is a desktop image delivery feature in XenDesktop used to configure and distribute virtual desktops to end users. It uses hypervisor application programming interfaces, or APIs, to make, start, stop and delete virtual machines.

  • Citrix Provisioning Services (Citrix PVS)

    Citrix Provisioning Services (Citrix PVS) is a software-streaming technology that allows administrators to patch or reconfigure an entire deployment of virtual desktops from one shared master image. The goal of PVS is to simplify virtual desktop management and maintenance and reduce operational costs.

  • Citrix Receiver

    Citrix Receiver is a suite of products that allows client devices to connect to various desktop virtualization services offered by Citrix.

  • Citrix Secure Browser

    Citrix Secure Browser is virtualization software that allows web applications to run in incompatible browsers.

  • Citrix StoreFront

    Citrix StoreFront is an enterprise application store that acts as a central location for users to access XenDesktop and XenApp virtual desktops and applications from their mobile devices, laptops, Windows PCs or Macs.

  • Citrix User Profile Management

    Citrix User Profile Management is a tool in the company's XenDesktop and XenApp desktop virtualization platform that allows IT administrators to deliver employees' personal data and settings to physical and virtual endpoints.

  • Citrix VDI-in-a-Box

    Citrix VDI-in-a-Box is all-in-one desktop virtualization software built for small and medium-sized businesses.

  • Citrix Workspace Suite

    Citrix Workspace Suite combines Citrix products including XenApp, XenDesktop, XenMobile, ShareFile Enterprise and NetScaler Gateway into a single platform IT administrators can use to deliver desktops, data, applications and services to users.

  • Citrix X1 Mouse

    The Citrix X1 Mouse is a small Bluetooth device that allows users to navigate Windows virtual desktops and applications on mobile devices.

  • Citrix XenApp

    Citrix XenApp is an application virtualization product that extends Microsoft Remote Desktop Session Host desktop sessions and apps to users via the Citrix HDX protocol. It can run on Citrix XenServer or other server virtualization platforms.

  • Citrix XenClient

    Citrix XenClient is a Type 1 (or bare metal) client hypervisor from software provider Citrix Systems.

  • Citrix XenDesktop

    Citrix XenDesktop is a desktop virtualization product from software vendor Citrix Systems.

  • client hypervisor

    A client hypervisor is a hypervisor that resides on a laptop, PC or other client device.

  • client-based virtual machine

    A client-based virtual machine is an instance of an operating system that is managed centrally on a server and executed locally on a client device.

  • Clonezilla

    Clonezilla is a free open source disk cloning application based on Debian. Like other disk cloning applications, Clonezilla copies the contents of a hard drive for transfer to another storage medium, such as another computer's hard drive or a removable medium, such as a DVD or a USB drive. Clonezilla is compatible with Windows, Macintosh and Linux operating systems.

  • continuous media

    Continuous media is data where there is a timing relationship between source and destination.

  • ControlUp

    ControlUp is a monitoring software company that sells tools IT professionals can use to manage, monitor and analyze virtual desktop and application performance.

  • D

    Desktop as a Service (DaaS)

    Desktop as a service (DaaS) is a cloud computing offering in which a third party hosts the back end of a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployment.

  • desktop layering

    Desktop layering is a method of dividing a disk image into logical parts that can be managed individually.

  • desktop virtualization

    Desktop virtualization is the concept of isolating a logical operating system instance from the client that is used to access it.

  • device as a service

    Device as a service is the offering of PCs, smart phones and other mobile compute devices as a paid service.

  • E

    eG Innovations

    eG Innovations is an end-user experience and infrastructure monitoring software vendor best known for its eG Enterprise product.

  • G

    Glassware 2.0

    Glassware 2.0 is an application virtualization tool IT admins can use to containerize legacy apps and deliver them to users on newer operating systems.

  • Goliath Technologies

    Goliath Technologies is a performance monitoring software vendor that offers tools to monitor and analyze data centers, back-end servers and network performance for on-premises and cloud deployments.

  • GPU (graphics processing unit)

    A graphics processing unit (GPU) is a computer chip that performs rapid mathematical calculations, primarily for the purpose of rendering images.

  • H

    HDX

    Citrix HDX technology is a set of capabilities that work together to deliver a high-definition user experience of virtual desktops and applications to any device over any network from the data center. The goal of Citrix HDX technology is to ensure that XenDesktop and XenApp users receive a high definition desktop virtualization user experience similar to that achieved with traditional desktop computers.

  • host-based virtual machine

    A host-based virtual machine is an instance of a desktop operating system that runs on a centralized server. Access and control is provided to the user by a client device connected over a network.

  • hot desking

    Hot desking is a work space sharing model in which employees outnumber desks. In some such environments, each work station has its own computer and the worker logs into a virtual desktop. In other implementations, workers have notebook computers that they bring to work with them or store in a locker on the premises, along with any personal effects.

  • HTML 5 desktop client

    An HTML5 desktop client is a type of remote desktop client that provides an end user with access to a desktop or application through a web browser.

  • L

    Lakeside Software

    Lakeside Software is a desktop monitoring software company known for its SysTrack product, which provides performance data and analytics for physical and virtual desktops.

  • Liquidware

    Liquidware is a company that provides monitoring and management software for physical, virtual and cloud desktop deployments.

  • Liquidware FlexApp

    Liquidware FlexApp is an application layering technology that stores user or department-specific applications on virtual hard disks or virtual machine disk files and delivers them separately from users' Windows virtual desktops at login.

  • Liquidware ProfileUnity

    Liquidware ProfileUnity is a centralized user environment management tool used to manage virtual or physical Windows desktops.

  • Login VSI (Login Virtual Session Indexer)

    Login VSI (Login Virtual Session Indexer) is a software company that specializes in products IT can use to monitor and test loads for server-based computing, VDI and desktop as a service.

  • M

    MDOP 2012 (Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack 2012)

    MDOP 2012 (Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack 2012) provides system administrators with a suite of utilities that allow them to perform emergency recovery and management of Group Policies and BitLocker, as well as to manage desktop and application virtualization.

  • Microsoft App-V (Microsoft Application Virtualization)

    Microsoft App-V is a tool IT administrators can use to virtualize and stream applications to users from a centrally managed location.

  • Microsoft UE-V (User Experience Virtualization)

    Microsoft UE-V (User Experience Virtualization) is a tool that enables users to move from one Windows device to another and maintain the same operating system (OS) and applications settings.

  • N

    nonpersistent desktop

    A non-persistent desktop is a virtual desktop that does not maintain user data, personalized settings, or any other changes made by the end user.

  • P

    Parallels

    Parallels is an application and desktop virtualization software vendor that offers management and delivery platforms for Apple macOS and Microsoft Windows desktop deployments.

  • Parallels Desktop for Mac

    Parallels Desktop for Mac is desktop virtualization software that can replicate a native user experience for guest applications and operating systems on Apple Mac computers.

  • PCoIP (PC over IP)

    PC over IP (PCoIP) is a remote display protocol that Teradici developed for delivering remote desktops and applications to endpoints.

  • persistent desktop

    A persistent desktop is a virtual desktop that maintains user settings and data so that each time a user logs into their virtual desktop, all of their personalized settings, files and data appear.

  • published applications

    Published applications are virtual software programs that function as if they were installed locally.

  • R

    Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP)

    Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) is an application-level network communication system that transfers real-time data from multimedia to an endpoint device by communicating directly with the server streaming the data.

  • remote desktop connection broker

    A remote desktop connection broker allows clients to access various types of server-hosted desktops and applications.

  • Remote Desktop Connection Manager (RDCMan)

    Remote Desktop Connection Manager (RDCMan) is a tool that allows information technology (IT) administrators to organize, group and control remote desktop connections.

  • Remote Desktop Services (RDS)

    Remote Desktop Services (RDS) is an umbrella term for several specific features of Microsoft Windows Server that allow users to remotely access graphical desktops and Windows applications.

  • Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH)

    Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH) is a role in Remote Desktop Services (RDS), or Terminal Services, as it was known prior to Windows Server 2008 R2.

  • remote display protocol

    A remote display protocol is a special set of data transfer rules that makes it possible for a desktop hosted at one place to display on a client's screen at another location.

  • RemoteFX

    RemoteFX is a set of protocols for Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) that are used to remotely deliver Windows virtual desktops over a local area network (LAN).

  • S

    streaming application

    A streaming application is a program that has its necessary components downloaded as needed instead of being installed ahead of time on a computer.

  • T

    terminal server

    A terminal server, also sometimes called a communication server, is a hardware device or server that provides terminals, such as PCs, printers, and other devices, with a common connection point to a local or wide area network (WAN).

  • U

    USB redirection (Universal Serial Bus redirection)

    USB redirection lets end users plug peripheral devices into local USB ports and access them from virtual desktops. Redirection tools transmit a device's functionality over the network to a virtual machine in the data center.

  • user environment management (UEM)

    User environment management is a technology designed to allow IT to oversee a user's complete desktop experience, including the profile, any policies IT applies and customizations the user makes.

  • user environment virtualization (UE virtualization)

    User environment virtualization is the abstraction of personalized computer settings from their operating system and applications.

  • user installed application (UIA)

    User installed applications (UIA) are programs that are installed on a computer by an end user, instead of by a corporate IT department.

  • V

    VDA (Virtual Desktop Access)

    Windows Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) is an authorization strategy that requires each device seeking access to a virtual desktop in a Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) to be licensed.  

  • VDI boot storm

    A virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI boot storm is the degradation of service that occurs when a significant number of end users boot up within a very narrow time frame and overwhelm the network with data requests. 

  • virtual desktop

    A virtual desktop is a computer operating system that does not run directly on the endpoint hardware from which a user accesses it.

  • virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)

    Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is a desktop virtualization technology wherein a desktop operating system (OS) -- typically Microsoft Windows -- runs and is managed in an on-premises or cloud data center.

  • virtual desktop pool

    A virtual desktop pool is a group of virtual desktops that are hosted on identically configured virtual machines.

  • virtual GPU (vGPU)

    A virtual GPU is a computer processor that renders graphics on a server rather than on a physical endpoint device.

  • virtual hard disk (VHD)

    Virtual hard disk (VHD) is a disk image file format for storing the complete contents of a hard drive.

  • VMware Blast Extreme

    VMware Blast Extreme is a remote display protocol designed to deliver graphics-intensive virtual workloads using the H.264 advanced video compression standard.

  • VMware Horizon Air

    VMware Horizon Air allows IT administrators to deliver cloud-based virtual desktops and applications to users on any device or on a Web browser.

  • VMware Horizon Client

    VMware Horizon Client is software that IT or users install on endpoint devices to connect with Horizon View virtual desktops and applications running on vSphere ESXi servers in a company's data center.

  • VMware Horizon FLEX

    VMware Horizon FLEX is a desktop virtualization product that allows IT administrators to deliver virtual desktops to Windows and Mac endpoints.

  • VMware Horizon Mirage

    VMware Horizon Mirage is a desktop management tool that centrally manages physical and virtual desktop images.

  • VMware UEM (User Environment Manager)

    VMware User Environment Manager is software that IT professionals can use to configure and deploy employees' desktop computer settings.

  • VMware View Persona Management

    VMware View Persona Management is a feature in the Horizon View desktop virtualization platform that stores and delivers user-specific data and settings to a virtual desktop from a dedicated profile located in a remote repository.

  • VMware vRealize Operations for Horizon

    VMware vRealize Operations for Horizon is a monitoring tool that tracks the health and performance of Horizon, Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp, and Remote Desktop Session Host deployments.

  • VMware Workspace ONE

    VMware Workspace ONE is a centralized management platform that combines the company's enterprise mobility management, cloud-based desktop management and identity management products to manage and secure end-user computing devices.

  • W

    Windows Thin PC

    Windows Thin PC (WinTPC)  is a stripped down version of Windows 7 for legacy PCs that do not have the resources to support a full version of Windows 7.

  • Windows XP Mode

    Windows XP Mode is a feature of the Windows 7 operating system that allows it to run applications that are only compatible with Windows XP.

  • Z

    zero client

    Zero client, also known as ultrathin client, is a server-based computing model in which the end user has no local software and very little hardware.

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