When working on desktop transformation designs, many start with the VDI (personal) model. I tend to go for the RDS (Shared) model. There are many reasons why, but mainly it is because

  1. Scalability: Most agree that a shared desktop environment achieves better scalability than personal desktop environments.
  2. Storage: Due to the shared operating system, the impact on storage is mostly a non-issue
  3. Security: Although a desktop can be secured, I typically find that people do a better job securing desktops in the shared model

Like I said, I usually start with the XenApp model, but as we all know, one size does not fit all. There are occasions where the personal desktop model is required. Every time I say this, I get many questions asking what for the user requirements that XenApp cannot provide. Here is a start:

  1. Reboot control: Can you imagine if you let users reboot a XenApp server. Talk about a great way to tick off your coworkers
  2. Admin rights: I hate to say it, but some users require admin rights. Doing this on a shared desktop will cause many issues.
  3. Specialized hardware: Some users need powerful graphics cards or sound cards. It is often easier to do this in a personal (VDI) model
  4. Backgrounds: Many users want a picture of Homer Simpson on their desktop background. Silly, that can be done with shared or personal. This is NOT a valid requirement to go to a personal desktop.

Of course, I’ll save the most common one for last…

  1. User Applications: Certain users need to install their own applications. Doing this on a shared model is scary, but on a personal model, makes a lot of sense.

What other areas do you see are viable user requirements that would dictate the need for a Personal (VDI) desktop instead of using the Shared (RDS) model?

Daniel – Lead Architect
XenDesktop Design Handbook