VDI at home

Do you have some old laptops sitting around that aren’t quite good enough to run a full desktop? Do you also have a good enough PC that could run some virtualisation platform? Then there is hope yet!

As I am writing this article I am using a rather old laptop with an Intel Atom with 2GB of RAM and everything is running pretty smoothly.

I have just renewed my home server running ESXi 6 on which I have installed Windows 7 in a VM. I then acquired 5 free VNC licences of RealVNC and installed a VNC server on the Windows box.

The laptop runs a light version of  Linux, in my case Elementary.

I have set the resolution of the Windows box to match the one of my laptop and simply run VNC viewer from my laptop to the Windows box in full screen.

The result is actually quite good!

There are enterprise level protocols that can serve the purpose in a much better way; smoother video refresh, better compression, multimedia support but for most of what I do VNC is absolutely fine.
I have no audio support, the videos are not very fluid but in general the experience is very good.
Also my session always stays there where I left it which is a good bonus because I can take that same session from pretty much any device I have in the house including my tablet.

Once you have one desktop floating in the house nobody will stop me from having two three more, no need for a beefy laptop, no need for dual boot, simply switch your session!

As I am writing about the upgrade process of my ESXi server in a bit more detail I will also go through what I did to setup the Desktop Virtualisation (strictly speaking this is not VDI in fact) so stay tuned!

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