Intelligent Desktop Virtualization

Reduce IT complexity and support end user needs with fewer physical devices via the Intelligent Desktop Virtualization (IDV) approach to thin-client management.

Key Takeaways

  • Intelligent desktop virtualization (IDV) is a new approach to thin-client management that optimizes TCO and streamlines processes.

  • IDV places high performance compute at the same physical location as users, supported by centralized management in core data centers.

  • With less reliance on internet connectivity, IDV helps enhance security and promotes system availability.



What Is Intelligent Desktop Virtualization?

From academia to the banking industry and beyond, IT departments are looking for ways to control complexity and reduce costs. To do so, they’re seeking ways to manage fewer client devices while still supporting a vast number of users—specifically in applications such as educational computer labs, corporate call centers, or banking counters.

Intelligent desktop virtualization (IDV) is a new model for managing thin clients and delivering virtualized computing environments so IT can support the same number of end users while reducing the number of devices deployed. The model uses high-performance PC devices that are physically located in the same location as users, in addition to the virtualization controlled at the server for overall management, to provide virtualized computing environments. Three user terminals can be supported by the same in-room high-performance PC, each using their own input, display, and audio peripherals. When dealing with use cases that demand simultaneous support for 30+ users, this allows the IT department to dramatically reduce management requirements.

In contrast to the traditional virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) approach, IDV employs powerful computing resources through a virtualization layer controlled through the data center that run Virtual Machines (VMs) at the end user location. The on-site resources work in conjunction with the core data center to provision VMs, synchronize system images, and enable streamlined management. Intel enables single-root I/O virtualization (SR-IOV) to allow hardware components within the high-performance PCs to be easily shared among the end user VMs.

Characteristics of IDV

  • Central management, local execution: The IDV model references a central data center, then places computing resources in the same location as users. The local resources help improve the user experience.
  • Imaging: Using the IDV approach, IT departments can remotely manage and deploy VM images to the distributed, high-performance computing devices.
  • Device-native management: IDV allows IT staff to leverage hardware resources independent of the operating system to ensure a robust computing platform and gain enhanced flexibility.

Benefits of IDV

IDV offers key benefits for organizations looking to control costs and streamline management of a large volume of end user devices.

Lower TCO

By simplifying management, optimizing data center resource usage, and allowing multiple users to leverage the same computing device, IDV helps control total cost of ownership (TCO). This happens by reducing the number of end user devices that must be supported, enabling centralized IT management and requiring fewer data center resources than traditional VDI.

Reduced Complexity

Centralized management from the core data center allows IT to easily deploy new system images and administrate devices as needed, no matter where devices are physically located. Supporting fewer end devices helps simplify and streamline IT operations.

Increased Security

With less data in transit across the internet, IDV helps organizations reduce risk and security exposure.


In the traditional virtual desktop infrastructure model, VMs run in a data center environment that’s physically distant from user locations. Users typically use thin-client devices with minimal onboard computing power to access their virtualized environment and conduct their daily tasks.

In the IDV model, VMs run on high-performance PCs in the same location as the users, powered by the virtualization layer in the central server. The users access these environments via connected displays and input peripherals. Client devices can also run offline in the IDV model, ensuring users can access IT resources even if internet connectivity is unavailable. Additionally, with less information being transmitted through various IT networks, IDV delivers enhanced security as well.

By moving the required VM resources out of the data center, IDV helps optimize data center resource usage while providing a superior user experience that is faster and more responsive. And because the distributed virtualization components are managed by a central server, IT can still easily provision and control end user environments remotely.

Where Can IDV Be Used?

IDV is well-suited for environments that demand simultaneous support for many users, such as:

  • Educational computer labs and classrooms
  • Training rooms
  • Call centers
  • Data analysis and professional design centers
  • Bank counters
  • Telecom front desks
  • Operations management centers

Essentially, where there are many end users and the IT department wants, or needs, to dramatically reduce management time, requirements, and costs, this is a viable solution.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is desktop virtualization?

Desktop virtualization decouples an end user’s computing environment and operating systems from their physical device.

What is the difference between VDI and IDV?

In the traditional VDI model, end user virtual machines run in a data center environment and are accessed remotely. In the IDV model, the core data center is used to provision VMs and manage the on-site devices; the virtual desktops run on high-performance PCs in the same physical location as users. VDI is completely dependent on connectivity to the data center to function, but IDV only requires data center connectivity for the initial setup, provisioning, and image loading.

What are the benefits of desktop virtualization?

Desktop virtualization provides lower TCO and reduced complexity because IT departments need to operate fewer end user devices. Managing and deploying images from a central interface helps enhance staff productivity and reduce overall operational costs.