Virtual client computing is defined as a computing model that provides desktop virtualization solution to improve limitations associated with the traditional distributed desktop environment. A client-based virtual machine is centrally managed on a server and then executed on a client device. Though the operating system is updated as well as backed up with the help of server, a continuous network connection is not needed for the functioning of a client-based virtual machine. Virtual client computing model is used to reduce the customers work effort and overall risk, by eliminating complexities and increase flexibility and minimize cost. The client computing virtualization separated all the components of the system such as applications, operating system, and hardware and make the components and their lifecycle independent of each other. Due to the separation of the workplace components from each other, virtual client computing model allows to move user personality, applications, data or entire workplaces from the operator’s device into the data center.
Virtual client computing solutions give IT an efficient and cost effective and secure way to centrally manage client devices. IT departments uses the local processor and compute capabilities in the client system to run CPU intensive and rich multimedia applications for a better user experience. The demand for virtual client computing devices is increases because in the traditional workplace computing the pervasive risk of data loss and data theft makes it difficult to meet the requirement of the users.
Virtual client computing technology consist of four software technologies such as desktop virtualization, application virtualization, virtual user session and user state virtualization. Virtual client computing market is experiencing growth owing to factors such as growing demands for more nimble workforce, lower costs, rising needs for improved user productivity and satisfaction, simplified IT management and an enhanced information security. Apart from this, client computing virtualization has a significant impact on education technology as it improves the operational efficiency, academic benefits. It also reduces IT overhead, improve security, facilitate student as well as administrative record-keeping, and provide easy access to the latest online applications within the learning environment.
The major factors that restrains the virtual client computing market growth includes mobility as well as cost controlling challenges. There are some alternative products for virtual client computing which includes thin client computing and zero-client computing. Thin clients and zero clients are small form factors especially designed for virtual desktop infrastructure. Thin client computing integrate better manageability and security into any infrastructure and make desktop virtualization quick and easy. While, zero client devices require no configuration and require less setup than a thin client.
The virtual client computing market can be segmented on the basis of type which includes virtual user sessions (VUS) or terminal services and virtual desktop infrastructure. Virtual user session (VUS) provides their own applications, data storage, profile setting to each user having their own account. On the other hand, virtual desktop infrastructure provides a virtual server that hosts multiple instances including desktop, operating system, applications and user setting of a client environment. Each user connects with their particular virtual client environment through a thin client.
The major participants in the virtual client computing market include companies such as VMware Inc., Citrix Systems, Inc., Microsoft Corporation, Ericom software, Unidesk Corporation, Dell, Fujitsu Limited., HP Development Company, L.P., Hitachi, Ltd., NEC Corporation, and NComputing Co. LTD.
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