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Microsoft server back ends for desktop virtualization: Hyper-V

In this section of our guide, we cover Microsoft server back ends for desktop virtualization. While adequate for simple implementations, more complex needs may require toolsets from Citrix.

In this guide on the back-end virtualization engines for desktop virtualization, we explore the major virtualization providers and their server virtualization back ends for desktop virtualization. In this section, we turn to Microsoft's Hyper-V technology and its enablement of Microsoft desktop virtualization.

SERVER BACK ENDS FOR DESKTOP VIRTUALIZATION:

Back ends for desktop virtualization: A guide

VMware desktop virtualization server back ends

Microsoft server back ends for desktop virtualization

Citrix Systems server back ends for desktop virtualization

Different from VMware's approach, users who want to access a Hyper-V server remote desktop do so through Remote Desktop Services interface. This enables administrators to aggregate desktop delivery alongside traditional application delivery through presentation virtualization (formerly known as Terminal Services). Using Microsoft's technology, users connect to applications or desktops through a Remote Desktop Web Access web page. Windows 7 users can alternatively use a local RemoteApp and Desktop Connection wizard that integrates remote connections directly into the local desktop.

Microsoft's desktop virtualization solution can be configured in one of two ways. Personal virtual desktops are desktops that are specifically tagged to users, with administrators creating a one-to-one connection between users and their desktop. This configuration is useful for environments where users require custom control of their desktops and the assurance that they will connect to the same desktop every time. Alternatively, virtual desktop pools can be used for users whose desktops need not remain the same during connections. In this configuration, pools of similarly configured desktops are randomly provisioned to users as they connect.

Management of Microsoft's desktop virtualization technology is done through a combination of System Center-branded products. Microsoft's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Standard Suite includes licenses for each user's Remote Desktop Services connection (for desktops only), use of the tools within the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, and System Center Virtual Machine Manager , System Center Operations Manager, and System Center Configuration Manager. Microsoft's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Premium Suite adds the rights to use the Remote Desktop Services connection for traditional presentation virtualization connections as well as Microsoft Application Virtualization, or App-V.

To date, Microsoft suggests that its desktop virtualization product is geared toward simple implementations. Lacking an overarching management solution that unifies each of its components, a Microsoft-only solution becomes a management challenge as the environment scales. For complex, enterprise-type deployments, Microsoft suggests combining its hypervisor with Citrix Systems' management toolsets.

Greg Shields is an independent author, instructor, Microsoft MVP and IT consultant based in Denver. He is a co-founder of Concentrated Technology LLC and has nearly 15 years of experience in IT architecture and enterprise administration. Shields specializes in Microsoft administration, systems management and monitoring, and virtualization. He is the author of several books, including Windows Server 2008: What's New/What's Changed , available from Sapien Press.


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