Virtual Desktop Definitions

This glossary explains the meaning of key words and phrases that information technology (IT) and business professionals use when discussing virtual desktop and related software products. You can find additional definitions by visiting WhatIs.com or using the search box below.

  • A

    app virtualization (application virtualization)

    App virtualization (application virtualization) is the separation of an installation of an application from the client computer that is accessing it.

  • application layering (app layering)

    Application layering (app layering) is a technology for delivering virtual applications that run in layers separate from a virtual desktop, but interact with the operating system and other apps as if they are installed natively on the base image.

  • application streaming

    Application streaming is an on-demand software delivery model that takes advantage of the fact that most applications require only a small fraction of their total program code to run.

  • B

    browser virtualization (in desktop virtualization)

    Virtualizing a browser helps companies run mission-critical applications in legacy browsers.

  • C

    Chrome Remote Desktop

    Chrome Remote Desktop is an extension of the Google Chrome browser that allows a user to remotely see and control another user's desktop through the browser window.

  • Citrix Cloud

    Citrix Cloud is a workspace management tool IT can use to deliver resources, including virtual desktops and apps, to users from a public or private cloud, on-premises deployment, or all three.

  • Citrix HDX 3D Pro

    Citrix HDX 3D Pro is a group of graphics acceleration technologies that help optimize the delivery of resource-intensive virtual applications on a company's XenDesktop and XenApp platforms.

  • Citrix Provisioning Services (Citrix PVS)

    Citrix Provisioning Services (Citrix PVS) is a software-streaming technology that allows administrators to patch or reconfigure an entire deployment of virtual desktops from one shared master image. The goal of PVS is to simplify virtual desktop management and maintenance and reduce operational costs.

  • Citrix Receiver

    Citrix Receiver is a suite of products that allows client devices to connect to various desktop virtualization services offered by Citrix.

  • Citrix StoreFront

    Citrix StoreFront is an enterprise application store that acts as a central location for users to access XenDesktop and XenApp virtual desktops and applications from their mobile devices, laptops, Windows PCs or Macs.

  • Citrix XenApp

    Citrix XenApp, now part of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, was a product that extends Microsoft Remote Desktop Session Host (formerly known as Terminal Services) desktop sessions and applications to users through the Citrix HDX protocol.

  • client-based virtual machine

    A client-based virtual machine is an instance of an operating system that is managed centrally on a server and executed locally on a client device.

  • Clonezilla

    Clonezilla is a free open source disk cloning application based on Debian. Like other disk cloning applications, Clonezilla copies the contents of a hard drive for transfer to another storage medium, such as another computer's hard drive or a removable medium, such as a DVD or a USB drive. Clonezilla is compatible with Windows, Macintosh and Linux operating systems.

  • continuous media

    Continuous media is data where there is a timing relationship between source and destination.

  • ControlUp

    ControlUp is a monitoring software company that sells tools IT professionals can use to manage, monitor and analyze virtual desktop and application performance.

  • D

    desktop as a service (DaaS)

    Desktop as a service (DaaS) is a cloud computing offering in which a third party hosts the back end of a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployment.

  • desktop virtualization

    Desktop virtualization is the concept of isolating a logical operating system (OS) instance from the client that is used to access it.

  • device as a service (DaaS)

    The device as a service (DaaS) model offers PCs, smartphones and other mobile computing devices as a paid service.

  • E

    eG Innovations

    eG Innovations is an end-user experience and infrastructure monitoring software vendor best known for its eG Enterprise product.

  • G

    graphics processing unit (GPU)

    A graphics processing unit (GPU) is a computer chip that renders graphics and images by performing rapid mathematical calculations.

  • H

    HDX

    Citrix HDX technology is a set of capabilities that work together to deliver a high-definition user experience of virtual desktops and applications to any device over any network from the data center. The goal of Citrix HDX technology is to ensure that XenDesktop and XenApp users receive a high definition desktop virtualization user experience similar to that achieved with traditional desktop computers.

  • host-based virtual machine

    A host-based virtual machine is an instance of a desktop operating system that runs on a centralized server. Access and control is provided to the user by a client device connected over a network.

  • hot desking

    Hot desking is a work space sharing model in which employees outnumber desks. In some such environments, each work station has its own computer and the worker logs into a virtual desktop. In other implementations, workers have notebook computers that they bring to work with them or store in a locker on the premises, along with any personal effects.

  • HTML 5 desktop client

    An HTML5 desktop client is a type of remote desktop client that provides an end user with access to a desktop or application through a web browser.

  • L

    Lakeside Software

    Lakeside Software is a desktop monitoring software company known for its SysTrack product, which provides performance data and analytics for physical and virtual desktops.

  • Liquidware

    Liquidware is a company that provides monitoring and management software for physical, virtual and cloud desktop deployments.

  • Liquidware FlexApp

    Liquidware FlexApp is an application layering technology that stores user or department-specific applications on virtual hard disks or virtual machine disk files and delivers them separately from users' Windows virtual desktops at login.

  • Liquidware ProfileUnity

    Liquidware ProfileUnity is a centralized user environment management tool used to manage virtual or physical Windows desktops.

  • Login VSI (Login Virtual Session Indexer)

    Login VSI (Login Virtual Session Indexer) is a software company that specializes in products IT can use to monitor and test loads for server-based computing, VDI and desktop as a service.

  • M

    Microsoft App-V (Microsoft Application Virtualization)

    Microsoft App-V is a tool IT administrators can use to virtualize and stream applications to users from a centrally managed location.

  • Microsoft UE-V (User Experience Virtualization)

    Microsoft UE-V (User Experience Virtualization) is a tool that enables users to move from one Windows device to another and maintain the same operating system (OS) and applications settings.

  • Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop

    Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop is an Azure-based cloud service for desktop and application virtualization.

  • P

    Parallels

    Parallels is an application and desktop virtualization software vendor that offers management and delivery platforms for Apple macOS and Microsoft Windows desktop deployments.

  • Parallels Desktop for Mac

    Parallels Desktop for Mac is desktop virtualization software that allows Microsoft Windows, Linux and Google Chrome OSes and applications to run on an Apple Mac computer.

  • PCoIP (PC over IP)

    PC over IP (PCoIP) is a remote display protocol that Teradici developed for delivering remote desktops and applications to endpoints.

  • published applications

    Published applications are virtual software programs that function as if they were installed locally.

  • R

    Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP)

    Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) is an application-level network communication system that transfers real-time data from multimedia to an endpoint device by communicating directly with the server streaming the data.

  • remote desktop connection broker

    A remote desktop connection broker allows clients to access various types of server-hosted desktops and applications.

  • Remote Desktop Connection Manager (RDCMan)

    Remote Desktop Connection Manager (RDCMan) is a free Microsoft tool that enables IT administrators to organize, group and control multiple remote desktop connections.

  • Remote Desktop Services (RDS)

    Remote Desktop Services (RDS) is an umbrella term for several specific features of Microsoft Windows Server that allow users to remotely access graphical desktops and Windows applications.

  • Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH)

    Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH) is a role in Remote Desktop Services (RDS).

  • remote display protocol

    A remote display protocol is a special set of data transfer rules that makes it possible for a desktop hosted at one place to display on a client's screen at another location.

  • RemoteFX

    RemoteFX is a set of protocols for Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) that are used to remotely deliver Windows virtual desktops over a local area network (LAN).

  • S

    streaming application

    A streaming application is a program that has its necessary components downloaded as needed instead of being installed ahead of time on a computer.

  • T

    terminal server

    A terminal server, also sometimes called a communication server, is a hardware device or server that provides terminals, such as PCs, printers, and other devices, with a common connection point to a local or wide area network (WAN).

  • U

    USB redirection (Universal Serial Bus redirection)

    USB redirection lets end users plug peripheral devices into local USB ports and access them from virtual desktops. Redirection tools transmit a device's functionality over the network to a virtual machine in the data center.

  • user environment management (UEM)

    User environment management is a technology designed to allow IT to oversee a user's complete desktop experience, including the profile, any policies IT applies and customizations the user makes.

  • user installed application (UIA)

    User installed applications (UIA) are programs that are installed on a computer by an end user, instead of by a corporate IT department.

  • V

    VDA (Virtual Desktop Access)

    Windows Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) is an authorization strategy that requires each device seeking access to a virtual desktop in a Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) to be licensed.  

  • VDI boot storm

    A virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI boot storm is the degradation of service that occurs when a significant number of end users boot up within a very narrow time frame and overwhelm the network with data requests. 

  • virtual desktop

    A virtual desktop is a computer operating system that does not run directly on the endpoint hardware from which a user accesses it.

  • virtual desktop pool

    A virtual desktop pool is a group of virtual desktops that are hosted on identically configured virtual machines.

  • virtual GPU (vGPU)

    A virtual GPU is a computer processor that renders graphics on a server rather than on a physical endpoint device.

  • virtual hard disk (VHD)

    A virtual hard disk (VHD) is a disk image file format for storing the entire contents of a computer's hard drive.

  • VMware Horizon Client

    VMware Horizon Client is software that establishes a connection between endpoint devices and Horizon View virtual desktops and applications.

  • VMware View Persona Management

    VMware View Persona Management is a feature of Horizon View that stores and delivers user-specific data from a remote storage repository to virtual or physical desktops.

  • VMware Workspace ONE

    VMware Workspace ONE is a management platform that allows IT administrators to centrally control end users' mobile devices and cloud-hosted virtual desktops and applications from the cloud or from an on-premises deployment.

  • What is virtual desktop infrastructure? VDI explained

    Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is a desktop virtualization technology wherein a desktop operating system, typically Microsoft Windows, runs and is managed in a data center.

  • Z

    zero client

    Zero client, also known as ultrathin client, is a server-based computing model in which the end user's computing device has no local storage.

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