3. Types of Virtual Desktop

As with any type of software, desktop virtualisation has several deployment models, all achieving a similar end result.

3.1 Operating System Provisioning

Operating system provisioning (OSP) is quite literally the provision of an entire operating system. They can be delivered as virtual machines hosted in a data centre or via a physical computer. OSP requires a constant network connection to run, which makes remote use impossible if the user does not have a secure link to the internet, meaning they would be unable to access their files.

3.2 Remote Desktop Services

Remote desktop services, originally known as terminal services, allows end users to take control of a virtual machine or remote computer by using a network connection. Requirements for RDS are minimal as the machine virtualisation takes place in a data centre, meaning scalability can be increased or decreased as required.

3.3 Client Hypervisors

A hypervisor is defined as:


‘A type of software, firmware, or hardware that creates and runs virtual machines.’

A client hypervisor is a hypervisor specifically used on client devices, including desktop computers, workstations, and laptops. This technique of virtualisation enables for the use of multiple operating systems and virtual machines on shared devices. Client hypervisors are widely used to perform tasks rivalling physical computers, and therein lies their popularity.

All client hypervisors can be separated into two distinct categories, type 1 and type 2.

Type 1

Type 1 or ‘bare metal’ client hypervisors operate directly from the host device, and are used to host an operating system.

Type 2

Type 2 or virtualised client hypervisors run from within the host operating system as a solitary application, and gain access to physical computer resources via the master operating system.

3.4 Client-side Hosted Virtual Desktops

Client-side hosted desktops run virtual machines as a layer on top of a current operating system. This type of hosted desktop allows users to access the virtual machine without the need to be connected to a network.

3.5 Application Virtualisation

Application virtualisation is the process of separating an application from the operating system used by a physical device by storing the application within a virtual environment. This allows for multiple applications to be used on a device without them having to be installed on the device.