Businesses are always on the lookout to create ease of operations for their workforce. A flexible, secure and robust IT infrastructure plays an instrumental role towards this goal. Now, enterprises can deploy desktops in a lot of different ways.
In this post, we will be focusing on a comparison between session based desktops and virtual desktops. We will also be highlighting the different use cases, where either of these two options can prove a better choice.
Session Based Desktops
As the name suggests, session based desktop environments are created and hosted over a server operating system. Windows Server operating system is probably the most easily relatable example of deploying session based desktops.
However, session based desktops are not created over dedicated virtual machines. Instead, these are created, and run directly over the host operating system (OS). End users can access these session based desktops over the internal network of an organization.
In the case of session based desktops, although there is a separate environment for each desktop, it still runs on the same underlying host server. In the case of session based desktops, the file system is also shared among each desktop environment.
Unlike session based desktops, virtual desktops are created and run over dedicated virtual machines (VM). Configuration of these virtual desktops is still required at the server end, just like session based desktops.
As each virtual desktop is setup over a dedicated virtual machine, such desktop environments are completely isolated and independent of one another. Despite sharing the underlying server, resources like CPU, RAM and Storage etc. are dedicated.
This brings a virtual desktop fully at par with a physical desktop PC, but with one more trick up its sleeve, which is remote access. End users of virtual desktops can access them remotely, from their workplace or any other location that has the internet.
Session Based Desktops v/s Virtual Desktops
Below is a head to head comparison between session based desktops and virtual desktops.
|Session Based Desktops||Session Based Desktops|
|These are easier to setup, as most of the resources are shared.||Relatively tough to setup and configure, requiring more IT resources.|
|Remote access capability is very difficult, and adds a lot of complexity.||These are purpose built for remote access, whether from the office or home etc.|
|Migrating them across different hosts is difficult, requiring complex configurations||As each virtual desktop is backed by a virtual machine, migration is easy.|
|Due to shared resources, end user experience can be quite compromised.||The resources of each virtual desktop are dedicated, whether in use or idle.|
|One power user could consume the resources of all the other users.||In the case of virtual desktops, one user does not impact the other in any way.|
|Due to shared resources, a security breach can spread across the whole network.||The breach of any one virtual machine does not impact the other Virtual Desktops.|
|Migration of session based desktops across host servers is complex and lengthy.||IT admins simply have to move virtual machine images across servers to migrate.|
|Remote access requires complex configurations and the use of VPNs.||No complexity is involved, and users can access these resources over the internet.|
The above head to head comparison between session based desktops and virtual desktops should bring a lot of clarity on the practical use cases of both. Session based desktops are most suited for deployment within the organization.
Due to shared resources though, session based desktops are not suitable for processing intensive workloads. These desktops are otherwise less secure, especially when compared with dedicated virtual desktops. Their configuration and migrations are also complex.
Virtual desktops, on the other hand, tick a lot of right boxes when it comes to security, user experience and the seamless handling of various workloads. The one factor that makes virtual desktops stand out from the competition is their ability for remote work.
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