A hosted virtual desktop (HVD) is a user interface that connects to applications and data that are stored on a cloud provider's servers rather than on the user's computer or the corporate network. An HVD is sometimes referred to as a cloud-hosted virtual desktop.
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Each desktop instance exists as a virtual machine (VM) on the service provider's servers. To the end users, the experience should be indistinguishable from one in which all their data and applications are local.
The HVD delivery model, also known as "desktop as a service" (DaaS) offers a lot of benefits to the enterprise. The service provider is responsible for storage, backup, security and upgrades. Service providers generally offer redundancy, high availability, optimized power, and sometimes other features such as remote replication for data protection. The model also benefits a mobile workforce because employees can access their desktops from anywhere with an Internet connection.
Drawbacks to the HVD model include issues with visibility and control, as well as difficulty prioritizing DaaS traffic over the public Internet to ensure performance.
DaaS service providers include Desktone, Rackspace and TuCloud.