Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Software

Best Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Software include:

Nutanix AOS, VMware Horizon (formerly VMware View), and Parallels Remote Application Server.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Software TrustMap

TrustMaps are two-dimensional charts that compare products based on trScore and research frequency by prospective buyers. Products must have 10 or more ratings to appear on this TrustMap.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Software Overview

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is, simply put, desktop virtualization. Desktop (or client) virtualization is like server virtualization but for end-user machines. The end user’s desktop environment is separated by virtualization from the physical machine where it appears. Desktop virtualization is an instance of client-server computing. This is because the virtualized desktop is stored on a central server and not on the machine being virtualized.

This enables desktop users to log into their desktop from any machine, like a laptop or home computer. In addition to providing flexibility, there are security advantages to client virtualization. For example, if a user’s machine is lost or stolen it’s a simpler matter for IT to erase company data from the device.

The biggest difference between server and desktop virtualization is network resource usage. Server virtualization achieves better server utilization by making it possible to run multiple virtual machines on a single server. Thus it does not add additional load to a network. Desktop virtualization, however, operates entirely on the network. And as client resources are served to client machines across a network, the network’s performance can be slower.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Products

(1-25 of 38) Sorted by Most Reviews

Nutanix AOS
67 ratings
81 reviews
Top Rated
Nutanix in San Jose, California offers their software-defined Enterprise Cloud as a hyper-converged infrastructure solution. The Nutanix Enterprise Cloud solution combines the Nutanix Acropolis virtualization solution, Nutanix AHV hypervisor (though Acropolis works with other hypervisors), Prism clu…
Parallels Remote Application Server
38 ratings
76 reviews
Top Rated
Parallels Remote Application Server (Parallels RAS, formerly 2X RAS), is application virtualization technology, billed as a solution to extend the life of legacy OS (like Windows XP) with its virtual desktop for any device. Maltese company 2X Software developed the technology, but was acquired by P…
VMware Horizon (formerly VMware View)
61 ratings
29 reviews
Top Rated
VMware Horizon is desktop virtualization software, from VMware.
VNC Connect
60 ratings
29 reviews
VNC® Connect is a remote access desktop. It enables users to remotely access and control their devices wherever they are in the world, whenever they need to. VNC® Connect covers a wide range of remote access use cases with a single subscription.
Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (formerly XenDesktop)
50 ratings
25 reviews
Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (formerly XenDesktop) is a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and application virtualization solution from Citrix.
Remote Desktop Services
47 ratings
13 reviews
Remote Desktop Services from Microsoft is virtual desktop and remote user session technology.
Red Hat Virtualization (RHV) (formerly RHEV)
19 ratings
8 reviews
Red Hat Virtualization (formerly Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, broadly known as RHEV) is an enterprise level server and desktop virtualization solution. Red Hat Virtualization also contains the functionality of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktop in later editions of the platform.
Unidesk (Discontinued)
6 ratings
7 reviews
Unidesk was a virtual desktop technology from the Massachusetts company of the same name, and acquired by Citrix. It has reached End of Life (EOL).
VMware Workstation Player (formerly VMware Player)
24 ratings
6 reviews
VMware Workstation Player is desktop virtualization technology.
Nerdio
1 rating
3 reviews
Nerdio provides streaming IT services over the Internet by virtualizing hardware and software. Companies using Nerdio no longer have to maintain servers, desktops and software, but instead plug into virtual services in the cloud.
Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
9 ratings
3 reviews
Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (Oracle VDI) is an enterprise level solution providing a virtual desktop environment for users within an organization.
V2 Cloud
2 ratings
2 reviews
Desktop virtualization doesn't have to be complicated. And V2 Cloud aims to make it simple. As a fully integrated Desktop-as-a-Service solution, V2 Cloud states they focus on speed and simplicity—so users can work faster from anywhere. V2 Cloud offers a free trial.
HVE-VDI Appliance
1 rating
1 review
HVE ConneXions (a Sphere 3D company based in Texas) offers HVE (hybrid virtual engine) virtual desktop infrastructure, an appliance supporting desktop virtualization. The product line includes a non-converged VDI appliance and converged VDI appliances.
NVIDIA GRID vPC
6 ratings
1 review
NVIDIA GRID vPC is a virtual desktop offering from NVIDIA.
10ZiG Technology
1 rating
1 review
10ZiG Technology is a world-market leader in VDI endpoint device software and hardware. The 10ZiG Manager™endpoint management software remotely controls any endpoint running on a 10ZiG OS via one centrally-managed and easy-to-use platform. This solution is designed so that IT administrators can easi…
Amazon WorkSpaces (VDI)
5 ratings
1 review
Amazon WorkSpaces is a managed, secure cloud desktop service. Amazon WorkSpaces removes the complexity in managing hardware inventory, OS versions and patches, and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI),
LISTEQ Cloud Desktop
LISTEQ Cloud Desktop is end-to-end software that enables service/cloud providers to create their own virtual desktop service (DaaS, Desktops-as-a-Service). The vendor’s value proposition is that LISTEQ Cloud Desktop is an ultimate BYOD, fully scalable and provides multi-tenancy and simple provisioni…
Dell Wyse Management Suite
The Dell Wyse Management Suite is a scalable hybrid cloud solution ideal for safely and securely managing Dell endpoints. Wyse Management Suite centrally configures, monitors and optimizes Dell clients powered by Dell Hybrid Client, and Wyse thin clients. Optimized for a streamlined, out-of-box expe…
NComputing vSpace
NComputing vSpace is virtual desktop and application virtualization technology from global company nComputing.
Evolve IP Virtual Desktop
Evolve IP’s Desktop Services are designed to meet the diverse needs of any organization by providing a unified desktop management solution for physical and virtual desktops alike – enabling IT departments to deliver the most appropriate desktop solution for each end user, while maintaining control t…
vWorkspace-MokaFive Suite (Discontinued)
6 ratings
0 reviews
vWorkspace MokaFive was Dell's virtual desktop offering. the vWorkspace product line was discontinued in 2016.
ThinManager
Rockwell Automation offers the ThinManager thin client architecture supporting human-machine interaction with easy configuration of servers, terminals and mobile devices providing functional interfaces to a workforce in an industrial environment.
Lenovo Unified Workspace
Lenovo Unified Workspace provides a virtualized desktop environment for end users to access applications and enterprise resources, and is available on-site or via the cloud. Lenovo offers the service as self hosted, or via Lenovo managed-hosting.
QxVDI
QCT, a Quanta Computer company headquartered in San Jose, offers the QxVDI virtual desktop infrastructure line of VMware appliances.

Learn More About Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Software

What is VDI Software?

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is, simply put, desktop virtualization. Desktop (or client) virtualization is like server virtualization but for end-user machines. The end user’s desktop environment is separated by virtualization from the physical machine where it appears. Desktop virtualization is an instance of client-server computing. This is because the virtualized desktop is stored on a central server and not on the machine being virtualized.

This enables desktop users to log into their desktop from any machine, like a laptop or home computer. In addition to providing flexibility, there are security advantages to client virtualization. For example, if a user’s machine is lost or stolen it’s a simpler matter for IT to erase company data from the device.

The biggest difference between server and desktop virtualization is network resource usage. Server virtualization achieves better server utilization by making it possible to run multiple virtual machines on a single server. Thus it does not add additional load to a network. Desktop virtualization, however, operates entirely on the network. And as client resources are served to client machines across a network, the network’s performance can be slower.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Software Features & Capabilities

VDI provides the following feature sets:

  • Management tools for creation, management, and deployment of virtual clients

  • Support for a variety of hardware peripherals such as printer, monitors, etc.

  • User profile management (e.g. credentials & access)

  • User environment management (e.g. performance monitoring, cloning)

  • Dynamic automated allocation of virtual resources

  • Support persistent desktop (i.e. user settings personalized or can be retained)

  • Support non-persistent desktop (retain pristine settings, easy to update)

  • Optimization for mobile platform deployment

  • Optimization of storage and memory allocation

  • Network monitoring

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages

  1. Maintaining a single OS image will minimize costs towards administration and support.
  2. Administrative tasks decrease as all operating system and application updates are handled at once.
  3. Security is a major plus with VDI as all licensing and program downloads are centralized.

Disadvantages

  1. Increased network requirements depending on the nature of your business (simple word processing tools versus more graphics and memory intense environments).
  2. Changing from decentralized to centralized licensing does take quite a bit of time to adjust to, and while cost savings may come down the road, startup costs can be high.
  3. A lack of end-user privacy. Not all users or employees will be thrilled to have some of their privacy taken away due to the nature of VDI.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Software Comparison

One of the most well-known VDI platforms are VMWare, but here are the most important factors for evaluating a new VDI tool against the top competitors:

Operating System: This one might seem like a no-brainer, but VDI tools are not one-size-fits-all. Depending on your organization, you may have users that use different operating systems, so you’ll need to find software that works across operating systems.

Scalability: Many VDI platforms allow administrators to utilize only virtualized applications versus fully virtualized desktops and applications. You can also typically choose to run virtualized desktops with or without remote desktop access. If you have a mostly remote workforce, remote desktop access is a definite must. However, if you feel your organization may not need it initially, choosing a VDI provider that gives you the option of scaling up your plan to include it may save you some hassle in the future.

Licensing: As we mention below in our section on pricing, VDI software is available on a subscription basis. However, the specificities with how applications or programs manage their per user licenses can get complicated. Before purchasing VDI software, take an audit of all the paid software your organization uses and assess how their individual licenses will affect your transition to VDI.

Start a VDI software comparison

Pricing Information

VDI software is available on a subscription basis, or via perpetual licensing. It may be priced per named user or by number of concurrent users of virtual desktops. Free limited versions may be available of desktop virtualization software, and after that pricing may oscillate around $50 per month per named license user.