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Persistent vs Nonpersistent VDI: Which to Select?

Persistent vs Nonpersistent VDI: Which to Select?

Flexibility, ease of use, cost-saving, and simplified management are the major benefits of the virtualization of desktops and applications. But businesses must decide how much end-user experience they want to retain and to what extent they can sacrifice by choosing between persistent vs nonpersistent virtual desktops. Our aim here is to take you through both, their benefits, shortcomings, under which kind of scenario each can be used so that you can make an informed decision.

Persistent/Stateful VDI

In this case, each end-user’s desktop is customizable and once saved, the customized data persist from session to session. By definition persistent VDI is a one-to-one desktop, each running from a separate, customized disk image. Naturally, they consume more storage space and backups.

Advantages of Persistent VDI

 Personalized, familiarity, ease: because a user can save the personalized data, shortcuts, files and gets the same desktop image each time, it helps to embrace VDI with the least mental resistance.

Easy to manage: such a VDI has the same setup as a physical desktop; the admins can easily manage as there is no need to re-engineer the desktop while shifting to VDI. The same setup can be used.

 Disadvantages of Persistent VDI

Storage: storage and backups are the major concerns. Storage uses a separate drive integrated with a virtual machine (VM) while the actual user data are stored on the desktop.

Tough image management: it gets complicated for the admins to manage various diverse images.

Nonpersistent/Stateless VDI

It is just the opposite of persistent VDI where none of the user settings/data is saved. The desktop gets back to its original state and each time a user logs in gets a fresh image.

Advantages  of Nonpersistent VDI

Easy to manage for admins: being made up from a master image, admins find it easy to manage, patch and update image, take quick backups and deploy the needed applications to all. Because the users can’t install their own apps, security is foolproof. Even in case of any security breach, it can be rebooted to clean.

Less storage: the main user settings and data are stored on separate hardware with remote access separating the OS from user data reducing storage costs.

Disadvantages of Nonpersistent VDI

Limited personalization, flexibility: it doesn’t allow users to personalize their desktop or install apps. Whatever degree of customization is required for a particular function, are done by the admins so that the users can access all the apps they need.

All these may need user environment virtualization, which at times could get complex. Also, there could be apps that cannot be virtualized.

 Persistent vs Nonpersistent VDI Scenarios

Whether you will need persistent or nonpersistent VDI will depend entirely on your task need. The following are different scenarios that use the two different sets. Also, there could be a mix-match between the two. For example, morning till lunch or day hours may use nonpersistent and evenings/nights to utilize persistent desktops.

Task Workers

They are the people who do repetitive work using a small set of applications; call center workers, for example. Here you can use nonpersistent VDIs, standardize the images needed by them to be available every time a user logins.

Knowledge Workers

They deal with complex documents or need to install their own applications. Therefore they need persistent desktops that don’t change and save the settings and data.

In case if some knowledge workers need user-installed apps only for temporary use, they can use nonpersistent desktops and save all their data outside the VM, on a file server or application database.

 Kiosk Mode/Lockdown Client Desktops

Such desktops have very limited user operations. Examples are airline check-in stations, medical data entry kiosks, classrooms/libraries, customer self-service kiosks. Here users do not need to login to use the service, though they still can be required to provide some credentials for some applications. Here stateless desktop images are used.

 To some up, you can choose your virtual desktop as per your need, as also you can mix and match between the two and save money.

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