Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Software

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.

Top Rated Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Products

TrustRadius Top Rated for 2021

These products won a Top Rated award for having excellent customer satisfaction ratings. The list is based purely on reviews; there is no paid placement, and analyst opinions do not influence the rankings. Read more about the Top Rated criteria.

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Best Free Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Tools
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Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) tools are quickly becoming an essential part of many businesses as workforces are remote more often. VDI software helps businesses virtualize workstations so that users can access them securely from anywhere. Though many businesses can be...
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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) Products

(1-25 of 43) Sorted by Most Reviews

The list of products below is based purely on reviews (sorted from most to least). There is no paid placement and analyst opinions do not influence their rankings. Here is our Promise to Buyers to ensure information on our site is reliable, useful, and worthy of your trust.
Nutanix AOS

Nutanix AOS

Customer Verified
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)…

Parallels Remote Application Server

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…

VMware Horizon

VMware Horizon is desktop virtualization software, from VMware.

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (formerly XenDesktop)

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (formerly XenDesktop) is a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and application virtualization solution from Citrix.

VMware Fusion

Vmware Fusion is a virtual user session software built to run Windows applications on Macintosh to run any Windows applications.

VMware Workstation Player (formerly VMware Player)

VMware Workstation Player is desktop virtualization technology.

Red Hat Virtualization (RHV) (formerly RHEV)

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…

Unidesk (Discontinued)

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).

Citrix Workspace

Citrix Workspace is a complete workspace solution that delivers secure access to all apps and files from a single interface. Higher tiers provide anywhere, any-device access to everything remote employees need to be productive.

V2 Cloud

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.

Amazon WorkSpaces (VDI)

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),

Nerdio

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

Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (Oracle VDI) is an enterprise level solution providing a virtual desktop environment for users within an organization.

HVE-VDI Appliance

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.

Kasm Workspaces

Workspaces is a solution for remote browser isolation (RBI), containerized application streaming (CAS), virtualized desktop infrastructure (VDI) and desktop as a service (DaaS) that provides a remote desktop and remote work solution for distributed workforces. The Workspaces platform…

NVIDIA Virtual PC (vPC)

NVIDIA Virtual PC software & NVIDIA GPUs, including NVIDIA A16, accelerate productivity apps to deliver an incredible user experience — so today’s worker can seamlessly access the tools they need from anywhere.

10ZiG Technology

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…

Unisys Workplace as a Service

Unisys Workplace as a Service aims to meet the needs of speed, scalability, and security through our hybrid a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solution. This enables organizations to quickly spin up virtual desktops for end users via the cloud, and stand-up an on-prem VDI environment…

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…

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,…

VMware Mirage (discontinued)

VMware Mirage, formerly Wanova Mirage (of VMware since the 2012 acquisition), is a desktop image management solution.

Dizzion

Dizzion is virtual desktop technology from the company of the same name in Denver, Colorado.

Userful

Userful is flagship desktop virtualization software from the company of the same name.

HPE Desktop Virtualization Solutions

HPE’s portfolio includes a choice of traditional rack servers, hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solutions, composable solutions, and support for bare-metal VDI.

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.


Frequently Asked Questions

What businesses benefit most from VDI solutions?

VDI tools are most useful for remote workforces, or for businesses that have traveling employees. These solutions enable team members to access their desktop regardless of where in the world they are.

Are there free or open source VDI solutions?

There are some free VDI solutions, though they tend to lack the support and security features included in paid packages. Businesses using VDI for a large amount of employees are likely to need a paid VDI tool.

How much does a VDI solution cost?

VDI solution pricing is typically priced per month based on the number of users licensed. Businesses should expect to pay around $50 per month per user.