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Virtual Desktops: Frequently Asked Questions

April 27, 2013

Many Stanford departments are making the switch to virtual desktops to realize gains in flexibility, scalability, and security. 

What is a virtual desktop?
A virtual desktop is a computing environment physically located on a remote central server rather than on the user's local computer.

How does a user access the virtual desktop?
Users log in to their virtual desktops via a local client installed on any capable device, such as a traditional personal computer, notebook computer, smartphone, or thin client.

What are the benefits of virtual desktops?
Virtual desktops as a centrally managed service offer several immediate advantages over traditional desktops:

  • Faster Provisioning: Deploying virtual desktops simplifies and speeds up the process of provisioning new desktops for users. Applications and other tools are standardized and centrally maintained, facilitating both initial deployment and ongoing maintenance.
  • Reduced Costs: By offloading processing to central servers, local desktop hardware costs can be reduced, and their refresh cycles extended.
  • Better Security: Data is readily available on virtual desktops but cannot accidentally leave the data center.  

What sort of user is a good fit for a virtual desktop?
Those who primarily use standard administrative applications (Word, Excel, web-based applications, etc.) are excellent candidates for virtual desktops. Less suitable candidates would include users of high-end graphics or other similarly resource-intensive applications.

Where can I go to learn more?
To learn more about virtual desktop technology and whether it might be a good fit for your department, contact Armand Capote.