Microsoft VDI refers to a set of Microsoft technologies which can be used together to provide a 'Type 1' VDI solution.
The key components in this solution are:
• Microsoft Hyper-V (Hypervisor)
• Microsoft VDI Connection Broker (Connection Broker)
• Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager (Provisioning)
Microsoft released it's hypervisor product Hyper-V in October 2008, providing a standalone version to the earlier Hyper-V Server released as part of Windows Server 2008.
Microsoft's Hyper-V differs significantly from the majority of other hypervisor products. The main difference being in the underlying operating environment used by the hypervisor software, which is generally based on Linux/Unix for the majority of Hypervisors but Microsoft Hyper-V uses Windows 2008 Server.
Microsoft Hyper-V standalone version is installed directly onto server hardware and by creating a series of partitions, seperates virtual machines logically from one another. The primary partition still needs to run Windows 2008 Server, as it provides drivers and services which allow better communication with the supporting hardware and provide management of the environment.
This 'micro-kernelised' approach adopted by Microsoft's Hyper-V allows it's footprint to be minimised, as there isn't a need for a full version of Windows 2008 Server to be installed, instead the core version can be used which lacks the full GUI can be used.
Microsoft does not have its own connection brokering software available for general release at the time of writing, however Microsoft has its VDI Connection Broker software available in beta for release early in Q4 2009. This software will provides the brokering facility for inbound requests from the clients.
Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2008 provides the provisioning aspects to this VDI solution and although not dynamic, provides rapid provisioning capability to ensure enough virtual machines can be created and made available.
Microsoft VDI Client is really an RDP client which is used to present the virtual machine remotely using Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).
On top of VECD licenses for clients to use Microsoft Windows operating systems in a virtual environment, there is no additional licensing required which makes the Microsoft VDI solution very attractive. However it is important to appreciate that other VDI solutions whilst costing substantially more, may be able to deliver other benefits.