Virtual clients are personal computers that serve as the physical hosts for a number of virtualized machines. It is the personal computer analog to virtual servers, which describes virtualization environments where servers are used as the physical hosts for virtual machines. Virtual clients are an essential component of virtualization, and while the specific features of virtual clients will necessarily vary from one to the next, the most common of these features will be explained in this article.
The defining feature of a virtual client is that it makes it possible for users to run a number of virtualized machines that collectively share the hardware resources of the single client system. The single client system is most often a personal computer with an architecture based on Intel’s x86 processor.
How Virtualization Works
Through virtualization, an essentially unlimited number of virtual machines can be installed to the same physical machine. A different operating system can be installed on each virtual machine on the virtual client. Each operating system may be used to install a number of applications. As a result, there are a number of sizing, scaling, and efficiency advantages to using virtual clients in business and enterprise environments.
One of the most significant benefits and features of a virtual client is the added security it brings over traditional one computer, one operating system, one application setups commonly found in business environments. When such environments switch from personal computers to virtual clients, applications that are designed for productivity and performance can be kept away from applications that are designed for personal endeavors and hobbies.
As a result, information technology specialists can easily and effectively keep the more risky elements of personal computer work from productivity tools critical to business operations. Examples of risky elements in personal computing include music, videos, pictures, online and offline games, chat clients, and web browsers.
These tools are responsible for the vast majority of security compromises in business environments, which means having a way to separate these tools from tools based on productivity can have significant ramifications for businesses and enterprises. Tools that are expressly related to the functions of workers and the goals of the business tend to involve office productivity software, email clients, and applications designed for enterprises and specific companies.
Another significant benefit and feature found within virtual clients is the ability to increase control over how information is accessed within a business environment. With standard computing systems, each employee has full access to the features of his or her own personal computer, which means the risks of unsolicited access to confidential or high level information increases dramatically.
This is particularly a problem when remote workforces are present, as it can quickly become impossible to supervise the actions of workers in the field or in offices hundreds of miles from the central headquarters of a business. Through virtual clients, systems and applications can be isolated quickly and effectively, which means companies have greater power over determining how workers access important information. Departments also gain the power to determine who has access to important information.
David Malmborg works with Dell. When David is not working he enjoys spending time with his family. For more information on virtual clients, David recommends clicking here.