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What is a Hosted Shared Desktop

A Hosted Shared Desktop is a Windows desktop running on Remote Desktop Server instead of a PC.   Multiple users can connect to the Remote Desktop in order to run the same applications and share data.   The server will be managed by a hosting provider and accessed over the Internet.

There are a number of terms you will come across when researching cloud based IT solutions: Hosted Shared Desktops, Hosted Desktops, Hosted Remote Desktops, Hosted Applications, Hosted Virtual Desktops, VDI, and probably several more.   This article will try to clarify the differences between these and, hopefully, give you some guidance as to which is best for your organisation.

While many software vendors are increasingly moving to web browser based applications and mobile “apps”, there is still a significant requirement for “desktop” applications, i.e. applications written to be installed on a standard Windows desktop.   Where these applications need to use shared data, either Office type documents or data in a database, there needs to be some mechanism for multiple users to connect to the same data source.   Traditionally that may have been a local file server but more increasingly people want the flexibility of cloud computing and so need an alternative method of sharing data.   All the terms above including Hosted Shared Desktop are services that can be used to run desktop applications “In the cloud”.

Hosted Desktops, Hosted Shared Desktops, Hosted Remote Desktops

These are all terms for the same thing, a desktop that can be accessed via the Internet running on a Remote Desktop Server.   Some services will use a product called Citrix XenApp to provide an additional layer to manage remote desktops, and the term “hosted shared desktop” is often used when referring to Citrix XenApp, but the underlying concept is the same in that lots of people are all running their own desktops on the same server.

Hosted Applications

Essentially a hosted application uses the same technology as the hosted remote desktops described above.   The only difference is that the users only get to access the specific applications, they don’t see the underlying remote “desktop” itself.   They will usually have either desktop icons on their PC (or other devices) to connect to the hosted application, or they will connect via a web portal which presents icons in a browser for each application.

Virtual Desktops, VDI

Unlike shared desktops where users share a single underlying Windows server, with virtual desktops each user is running their own individual operating system. Virtual desktops can be more suitable where individuals need more administrative control over their desktop, or are perhaps running more memory or CPU intensive applications that would “interfere” with other users if running on a Hosted Shared Desktop.   The downside of VDI is that with each user having their own operating system, software installations or updates need to be done on each desktop individually.   They are also likely to consume more resources overall (Memory, CPU and disk space) so would typically be more expensive.

Find out more

If you’re asking the question “What is a hosted shared desktop” then it is likely you are looking for a solution to either replace, or negate the need for, an on-site server that would support documents and data for your applications. Speak to a hosted desktop provider who will offer good advice about the most suitable solution to meet your requirements.

At Your Office Anywhere we have been hosting desktops for over 10 years and can help with any questions you may have, or provide a demo account so that you can try out the solution yourself. Get in touch via our contact page.

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