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October 2014, Volume 3, Issue 9

VDI vs. RDSH doesn't matter if users don't need full Windows desktops

Much of the talk about desktop virtualization over the past few years has been about VDI. That term describes running a client-based OS (such as Windows 7) as a virtual machine in some far-off data center while the user's client device does little more than display the remotely generated pixels and transmit keystrokes and mouse clicks to the remote host. What most people fail to remember -- especially when getting excited about VDI -- is that there's another technology that is almost identical to VDI. Microsoft Remote Desktop Session Host, or RDSH, is just the modern name for Microsoft Terminal Server, a product that was initially released way back in 1998 and has remained largely unchanged since then -- I mean that in a good way! RDSH includes "session host" because multiple users log into the same virtual machine (VM) at the same time, but each user has his or her own "session." From the user's standpoint, RDSH and VDI are identical: The user clicks a button on his client, enters his credentials, waits a few seconds, and boom!...

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