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IBM-SmartCloud Desktop Infrastructure with Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops

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IBM SmartCloud Desktop Infrastructure (SDI) is IBM’s answer to end-user virtualization and integration needs.

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Compatible with

  • XenDesktop 7.1


  • Citrix Virtual Desktops (XenDesktop)

Product Details

IBM SmartCloud Desktop Infrastructure (SDI) is IBM’s answer to end-user virtualization and integration needs. It offers a robust virtual desktop solutions, infrastructure and services designed to make the deployment of virtual desktops easier, as is based on a reference architecture approach. As such IBM SDI supports a wide range of hardware, hypervisors and software platforms from multiple vendors, providing a high degree of flexibility and customization choices. IBM SDI helps offer a more cost-effective, manageable, virtual desktop environment for a wide range of customer sizes, user types and industry segments. The IBM SDI uses a VDI approach to solving the above described business problems. VDI is an enterprise architecture that stores user data, user profiles, and application data files on centralized servers. These servers are located in data centers and therefore this approach extends the data center security and manageability down to the end-user resources. Additionally VDI provides users with anywhere, anytime, secure access to data and applications from any device. This includes popular mobile devices such as tablets and cell phones.

IBM SDI offers flexibility through choice of solution elements. There are however standard components, such as connection brokers, provisioning servers, and administrator consoles, etc. that make up and define the IBM SDI architecture. This section describes all these required components.

Different organizations have different guidelines on the amount of personalization permitted on end-user desktops. Some allow end users to customize to the extent that users are permitted to install applications, others allow minor changes like screensavers, desktop wall papers and many do not allow any changes to the standard image at all.

This set of policies can be applied to a VDI environment in a similar manner. Users can be allowed to have their own, “dedicated” virtual desktops/virtual machines (VM), or be required to use a “standard” desktop image, only being able to make minor modifications or even no modifications at all. Eliminating modifications to a virtual desktop environment allows images to be shareable across multiple users, thus allowing a virtual desktop image to be stateless.

The IBM SDI architecture allows for both dedicated and stateless desktop images. A key design decision however is to favor stateless desktop images whenever possible, as this reduces the shared storage requirements by utilizing local solid state drive (SSD) storage instead of large-scale shared storage arrays for the performance-intense I/O operations that occur in most VDI environments, and can thus greatly improve on performance as well.


The advantages of a VDI approach to enterprise desktop management compared to traditional desktop environments can include:

  • Rapid desktop deployment, including updates, patches, security enhancements.
  • Overall cost savings in desktop support, a centralized approach to client OS management, and reduced client machine energy consumption,
  • Unified management and reporting through a single administrator console.
  • Easy accessibility through a variety of end point devices (laptops, tablets, thin clients), both locally and remotely.
  • User and application virtualization that disaggregates resources for balanced network workloads while maintaining a consistent look and feel for the user.
  • Ability to leverage centralized data center resources and processes for backup and recovery.
  • Horizontal scalability — up to tens of thousands of end point devices can be handled through a central point.
  • Improved data security through centralization of sensitive data behind data center firewalls and security protection.
  • Compliance with regulatory norms for information protection (like HIPAA and Sarbanes Oxley [SOX] security standards).