Virtual Desktop Infrastructure or VDI is a service that enables you to access a Windows-based machine from any device, whether it be a tablet or a machine with a different operating system.

VDI is a set of virtual desktops for your use. These desktops are hosted on central servers and are accessible from outside of the Imperial College London network.

We provide virtual desktops running Windows 7 with standard software (Office 2010, Adobe Reader etc.) We plan to introduce a Windows 8.2 virtual desktop in the near future. You can access these desktops from a desktop or laptop machine or a tablet (either Android or iOS). These desktops are not meant to be customised as they are refreshed regularly to keep them up to date with security patches and software updates.

When is VDI useful?

VDI is useful when:

  • you wish to access Imperial resources, such as electronic journals, that are not normally accessible from a remote location;
  • you wish to access a desktop environment from a mobile device;
  • you are in a locked down network (e.g. NHS Trust) and you need a second Imperial standard desktop;
  • you are a Mac or Linux user and you wish to access the College's Windows environment.

When is VDI not useful?

We do not recommend the use of VDI in the following scenarios:

  • for use with high performance apps or simulations that are CPU intensive and unsuitable for execution on a virtual machine. Contact the HPC team via the ICT Service Desk for guidance;
  • for the running of specialist software. This purpose is not supported under VDI as we aim to keep things simple with a standard desktop operating system. This allows use to provision or rebuilt the desktops quickly and provide a better quality of service to our users. Contact the ICT Service Desk for advice on how to proceed with the execution of specialist applications on a remote server.

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