Iowa State University

ITInformation Technology

Virtual Desktops (Thin Clients, VDI)


With virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), users connect to their desktop environment remotely with a "thin client." This eliminates the need for powerful processors, large hard drives for storage, and constant system updates. With VDI, all software, security programs, and hardware are operated on a remote server where an IT professional maintains the entire system, including updates.


  • Lower total cost of ownership. Thin/zero client workstations have the advantages of longer equipment lifecycles, lower initial cost, and less power use than a traditional desktop.
  • Efficient use of resources. Each thin/zero client server is capable of running up to 200 sessions simultaneously.
  • Increased security. Data remains in the ISU data center rather than being stored on hardware that could be lost or stolen.
  • Decreased recovery time. The recovery time after an infection or upgrade to a new operating system decreases from hours to minutes.
  • Ease of updating. Lab managers can update entire labs remotely in minutes, or present multiple configurations in the same lab based on who logs in to the endpoint.

CorePlus VDI/Thin Client Services

CorePlus clients using thin client/VDI have additional VDI-specific support, in addition to CorePlus user and workstation support (see the Desktop Support service page for more information).

  • VDI central infrastructure and licensing
  • VDI image maintenance, including operating system patches, upgrades, and security settings
  • VDI image standard application software testing, installation, configuration, patches, and upgrades
  • Support for client to install and configure specialty software to VDI image (as needed)


  • ISU Net-ID
  • 100Mbps network connection
  • Desktop configured with minimal software OR hardware capable of running VMWare View connection client. Recommended hardware includes:
    • Dell Wyse 5030 zero client (available through TechCyte or Dell Premier)
    • Dell Wyse 5050 zero client (available through TechCyte or Dell Premier)
    • Samsung NC190/NC240 zero client (available through CDWG)
    • HP5740 thin client (available through CDWG)


Service Cost /Unit
VDI Session $13 /user/month
VDI CorePlus User Support $10 /user/month
VDI Workstation (Hardware) Support* $7 /station/month
ITS Lab Hardware Support $2 /station/month

*A VDI workstation may be a thin client, zero client or desktop computer configured with minimal local software.