[clug] Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) for Linux Desktops

Paul Wayper paulway at mabula.net
Sun May 7 09:13:55 UTC 2017

On 06/05/17 17:15, George at Clug via linux wrote:
>      Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is virtualization technology
> that hosts a desktop operating system on a centralized server in a
> data center. VDI is a variation on the client-server computing model,
> sometimes referred to as server-based computing.
> searchvirtualdesktop.techtarget.com/definition/virtual-desktop-infrastructure-VDI
> Does anyone have experience with VDI for Linux KVM Guest Desktops and
> can recommend a working FOSS solution capable for watch Video
> (preferably in HD) ?
>>From my searching today, there is no real working solution as yet.
> Potential solutions;
> 1) Spice - includes video and audio but suffers from screen tearing
> and lag
> 2) VNC - does not support audio
> 3) XRDP - I was not able to get audio to work, but it might be
> possible?
> 4) KVM-VDI - I do not know much of this product.

Personally, I think VDI is not going anywhere.

The reason why is that computing is actually incredibly cheap.  A <$200
machine on your desktop can run your OS, play games, play video, browse the
web, and run most programs with ease.  With a VDI option you're going to spend
at least $100 on a 'terminal' that can connect to your server via SPICE, VNC
or whatever - and then your server is going to have to be capable.  I see this
as very little difference in the per-seat cost.

Any real figures would be greatly welcomed :-)

The other reason I'm wary is because of lag.  It's easy to dismiss lag as 'not
a problem' on a LAN (obviously VNC etc are much more painful over a long
distance or low bandwidth link), but things like screen tearing, lack of
synchronisation in quick mouse movements, waiting for menus to appear, delays
while typing and so forth will irritate you.  Try running Firefox over a
forwarded X-11 session on your LAN, or using remote VMWare consoles, and see
what I mean.

It's also tempting to have as many people using that VDI server as use a
normal file server, but the load is MUCH more because you're relying on a VDI
server for all the computation and interactivity.  At 4:30 when everyone
decides to finish up their work and log off the server will spike and suddenly
everyone's running slow.  Then you have the question of what happens to people
that get disconnected because the server is running slow...

IMO VDI is a false economy.

Are you simply wanting to watch video?  What about using a Raspberry Pi, the
Kodi distribution, and VLC?  VideoLan is designed to be a client-server
architecture and to stream video from a central console - it's ability to play
virtually ever file under the sun is purely a side-effect.  And the Pi is
surprisingly capable if you use its proprietary video decoder.

Have fun,


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