Security Encyclopedia

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is a technology that forwardly deploys all of the features of a connected computer so it can be signed into on other devices. VDI is used to manage remote workers, delivering uniform internal company services and streamlining an enterprise’s hardware investments.

VDI consists of the operating system (OS) and applications that workers require to perform their work, hosted at the enterprise or its cloud provider. Workers sign into a portal or image of the environment on desktop, tablet, or mobile devices. They then perform their work until the session ends. This vastly streamlines all hardware-related costs such as purchases, upgrading and updating, and cybersecurity costs associated with devices.

VDI elements include virtualization of the services into different layers, hypervisor software to separate the OS from hardware, connection broker software to manage requests and authenticate users, desktop pooling software to corral similar services for similar users, and application imaging capability.

VDI can be persistent (stateful), meaning the services on the user’s device are saved and they are delivered the same to the individual user from one session to the next. These would include user and app settings, browser bookmarks, and similar experiences.

VDI also may be non-persistent (stateless), with each session destroyed and subsequent sessions starting as a clean slate. Users generally prefer persistent VDI and enterprises prefer the uniformity and additional security of non-persistent.

Files such as document are unaffected by the state of VDI as they are saved differently and accessed differently from other services delivered during the session.


"Our office just began offering its resources on VDI, so employees are loving this new flexible work arrangement that comes with it. Any home or personal device becomes a virtual machine once you log in."