Best Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Software19Desktop Virtualization Software allows a user to run a virtual instance of an operating system on a machine with a different operating system installed.Nutanix AOS1 Remote Application Server2 Horizon (formerly VMware View)3 Connect4 Virtual Apps and Desktops (formerly XenDesktop)5 Desktop Services6 Hat Virtualization (RHV) (formerly RHEV)7 (Discontinued)8 Workstation Player (formerly VMware Player)9 Virtual Desktop Infrastructure11 Technology12 WorkSpaces (VDI)14 Appliance15 GRID vPC16 Cloud Desktop17 vSpace20 IP Virtual Desktop21 Desktop Search22 Serial Port Driver23 Unified Workspace25

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Software

Best Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Software

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Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Software Overview

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


  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.


  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.

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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.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Products

Listings (1-25 of 35)

Nutanix AOS

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Top Rated
121 Ratings

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

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Top Rated
92 Ratings

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…

84 Ratings

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.

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.

4 Ratings

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.

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…

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.

We don't have enough ratings and reviews to provide an overall score.

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…

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

We don't have enough ratings and reviews to provide an overall score.

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

We don't have enough ratings and reviews to provide an overall score.

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…

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Lookeen is desktop and enterprise search technology, with particular strength in Outlook and Exchange Server search. Lookeen uses its index to search and retrieve data from diverse sources across the enterprise to save companies time and money. It is offered as a stand-alone desktop or server soluti…

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Virtual COM Port Driver is a system utility from Eltima Software that is able to emulate a serial port and pair it with another virtual serial port via a virtual null modem cable. All ports created with the help of the software completely emulate serial port settings exactly like real ones, and sup…

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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.

We don't have enough ratings and reviews to provide an overall score.

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.

TrustRadius Top Rated for 2020

2020 Top Rated Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Software

There are plenty of options out there, but here's our shortlist of the best Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Software. 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. To qualify, a product must have 10 or more recent reviews and a trScore of 7.5 or higher, indicating above-average satisfaction for business technology. The products with the highest trScores appear first on the list. Read more about the Top Rated criteria.