1.2. About Virtualization

Virtualization is the basis of Oracle VDI because it provides the functionality for creating and managing desktops. A desktop is an instance of an operating system running on a virtualization platform. In Oracle VDI, a virtualization platform is configured as a desktop provider. When you configure a desktop provider, you specify the following:

Oracle VDI supports several types of desktop provider and the types can be divided into the following categories:

The provider hosts configured for a desktop provider are installed separately from Oracle VDI and run on their own platforms. The provider hosts provide the physical resources for running desktops, such as CPU and memory, as well as the means for managing desktops. The storage used by the provider hosts is discussed in Section 1.3, “About Storage”.

Oracle VDI does not restrict you to a single virtualization platform. You can use a mixture of desktop provider types and create as many desktop providers as you need. How Oracle VDI interacts with a desktop provider depends on the provider type, and is described in more detail in the following sections.

Hypervisor-Based Desktop Providers

The following are the available hypervisor-based desktop providers:

The Oracle VM VirtualBox software is distributed with Oracle VDI. Unlike the other desktop providers, VirtualBox enables you to run UNIX and Linux platform desktops as well Windows desktops. VirtualBox also has its own integrated server for the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) that enables you to connect to, and control, a remote virtual machine as though it was running locally.

With the Oracle VM VirtualBox and Microsoft Hyper-V desktop providers, Oracle VDI directly manages the provider hosts. Oracle VDI sends requests to register desktops with a provider host, including the configuration information for the virtual machines, and sends requests to manage those desktops, for example to start, stop, and preserve the state of desktops. For Oracle VDI providers, Oracle VDI uses the VirtualBox web service application programming interface (API) to communicate with the provider hosts. For Microsoft Hyper-V providers, Windows Remote Management (WinRM) is used. The communication between Oracle VDI and a provider host takes place over secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTPS) connections. There is no limit on the number of hosts these desktop providers can have, and to ensure best performance, Oracle VDI balances the desktop load across the available hosts.

When you configure a VMware vCenter desktop provider, you specify a VMware vCenter server rather than individual provider hosts because the provider hosts are managed by the VMware infrastructure. Oracle VDI sends requests for desktops to the vCenter server, and the vCenter server sends the request to a vSphere server in the group. Oracle VDI uses the VMware Infrastructure SDK web services API to communicate with the vCenter server and the communication takes place over HTTPS. Although the VMware infrastructure is responsible for all desktop operations, Oracle VDI is able to monitor the load and choose a particular datastore to use when creating a desktops.

Session-Based Desktop Providers

The following are the available session-based desktop providers:

The Microsoft Remote Desktop provider does not provide individual desktops, instead Oracle VDI connects users to desktop sessions created on RDS servers. The provider host can be a single stand-alone RDS server or a group of servers in an RDS farm. The RDS server or farm is responsible for creating new RDS desktop sessions for users, or for reconnecting users to their existing desktop sessions (if Session Broker is configured), and for load balancing the sessions. Optionally, you can configure the RDS servers so that Oracle VDI can display session, CPU, and memory load information, in the Oracle VDI administration tools.

The Sun Ray Kiosk desktop provider provides access to types of sessions that are not available with Oracle VDI itself, for example to connect to a remote desktop using a different broker such as the Sun Ray VMware View connector, or to provide access to a web-based application in a locked-down web browser.

Generic desktop providers run RDS desktop sessions on physical computers or virtual machines. Typically the Generic provider is used by Oracle VDI to connect users to existing Windows PCs, and is used as part of a strategy for migrating desktops to the Oracle VDI solution.