IT Services
Technology Provisioning

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

About VDI

Available to

  • All Sheridan Students
  • Sheridan employees

[ updated Jan. 13, 2020] Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) utilizes server hardware to run desktop operating systems (OS) and applications inside a virtual desktop (aka Remote Desktop) rather than hosting the OS, desktop personality and data on individual laptops or desktop computers. At Sheridan, VDI is used to:

  • deliver virtual Windows 10 desktops to students in Sheridan's labs and Learning Commons locations
  • deliver academic software that may have unique requirements to students in select programs
  • provide users in select administrative areas with a standard, predictable computing platform that is more sustainable

*Thin client machines have no local storage and behave like terminals

User Experience

For the most part, the end-user experience is essentially the same—your remote desktop looks and behaves just like the Windows desktop on the PC or laptop that you’re accustomed to using. However, there are some notable differences you should be aware of – see the VDI Academic Desktop and VDI Administrative Desktop users guides for details and troubleshooting tips.

Accessing VDI

Users can access their virtual desktops using:

  • client-side applications on their existing PCs
  • apps on their mobile devices
  • via zero client machines*

* Zero client machines are simplified workstations that rely on the server to deliver the user desktop environment and handle data processing tasks. Thin Client machines are employed in Sheridan's Learning Commons', labs and some administrative offices.

VDI Desktop Types

At Sheridan we offer a variety of VDI desktops:

  • The Academic Desktop is available to all Sheridan students and employees. When you're logged into VDI, your remote desktop behaves very much like the normal desktop PC or laptop that you're accustomed to using. Complete details are provided in the Academic Desktop Usage Guide.

  • Academic – Program-specific: these are used by students and employees associated with a particular program (e.g. Pharmacy Academic Desktop)

  • The Administrative Desktop is available to Sheridan employees*. Unlike the Academic Desktop that is shared among many users and refreshed each time the user logs in, the admin desktop is assigned to each individual user and allows for a greater level of user customization and personalization—users can install software, create shortcuts, etc. See the Administrative Desktop Usage Guide for details.

VDI Benefits

Because the computer processing and storage infrastructure moves from the user’s workstation to the server, there are benefits to both the user and the organization:

  • users can access virtual desktops anytime, from anywhere, on any internet connected device

  • installation of applications, updates, and drivers needs to only occur on the server image— every user relying on that image benefits from any updates that occur

  • there’s no need to upgrade individual PCs to meet a new operating system's or application’s minimum hardware requirements

  • in the case of thin clients, data is stored on the server in the data center and not the device. If the device is stolen or damaged, the information is protected.

Support & Resources



In Person Support

Available at the IT Service Desk.

Phone or Email

Call the IT Service Desk at ext. 2150 or send email to