Best Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Software include:
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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
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Advantages & Disadvantages
- Maintaining a single OS image will minimize costs towards administration and support.
- Administrative tasks decrease as all operating system and application updates are handled at once.
- Security is a major plus with VDI as all licensing and program downloads are centralized.
- Increased network requirements depending on the nature of your business (simple word processing tools versus more graphics and memory intense environments).
- 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.
- 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
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
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.