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Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

The virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) brings virtualization to the end-user's computer, and is one of the fastest-growing cloud services. It is a new form of server-side virtualization in which a virtual machine on a server hosts a single virtualized desktop. VDI is a popular means of desktop virtualization as it provides a fully customized user desktop, while still maintaining the security and simplicity of centralized management. Leading vendors in this area are Microsoft, VMware, and Citrix, employing technologies such as:

PCoIP – allows all enterprise desktops to be centrally located and managed in the data center, while providing a robust user experience for remote users.

Remote desktop protocol (RDP) – a Microsoft proprietary protocol which is an extension of the ITU-T T.128 application sharing protocol allowing a user to graphically interface with another computer.

Citrix independent computing architecture (ICA) – a Citrix proprietary protocol that is a platform-independent means of exchanging data between servers and clients.

Network performance is a key factor here. As described in a posting on the Citrix Blog, the table below estimates the amount of bandwidth that might be used by XenDesktop users. It doesn't require many users to hit tens of Mbps.




XenDesktop Bandwidth


43 Kbps


85 Kbps


573 Kbps

Flash Video

174 Kbps

Standard WMV video

464 Kbps

High Definition WMV

1812 Kbps