Best VDI Solutions Shortlist
I handpicked these VDI solutions because they make operations easier to manage and ensure a great user experience:
- Amazon Workspaces - Best as a replacement for a traditional desktop
- Azure Windows Virtual Desktop - Best for Windows desktops
- IBM Cloud - Best for businesses on cloud platforms
- VMware Horizon - Best for managing virtual machines
- VirtualBox - Best VDI for startups
- V2 Cloud - Best VDI for non-technical businesses
- Kasm Workspaces - Best VDI for streaming containerized apps and desktops
- HPE GreenLake - Best for remote workforces
- Nutanix - Best for Cloud infrastructure
- Red Hat Virtualization - Best for emerging technologies
- Parallels RAS - Best for management and administration of virtual apps
- Venn - Best for securing BYOD employee workspaces
As a virtualization engineer, you understand the challenges of managing VDIs. Ensuring optimal performance, scalability, and user experience can be complex, especially when dealing with many virtual desktops. Additionally, troubleshooting issues and maintaining security across VDIs require specialized expertise.
That's why I've carefully selected the best VDI solutions, so you can find the right tool to simplify desktop management, boost productivity, and enhance user satisfaction.
What Is a VDI Solution?
A virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution is a technology that enables remote access to a computer's operating system, applications, and data. It hosts these resources on a central server, allowing users to access them from their own devices, such as laptops or tablets. With VDI, you have a virtual desktop that can be accessed anytime, making it convenient for remote work or accessing files on the go.
The central server in a VDI solution manages and controls virtual desktops, ensuring personalized environments for each user. It offers familiar desktop functionality, secure data storage, simplified management, and scalability for organizations of all sizes.
Overviews of the 12 Best VDI Solutions
In my research, I found 12 top VDI solutions that offer significant benefits to companies of all sizes:
1. Amazon WorkSpaces - Best as a replacement for a traditional desktop
Amazon WorkSpaces is a cloud-based virtual desktop that can replace a conventional desktop. It includes an operating system, computing power, storage space, and software applications, enabling you to perform daily tasks just as you would on a regular desktop.
Why I picked Amazon WorkSpaces: I chose Amazon WorkSpaces for its virtual desktop solution, which enables remote management and avoids office computer crashes that require a manual reboot. It replaces physical desktops and enhances flexibility for companies with remote workers.
Amazon WorkSpaces Standout Features & Integrations:
Features that I think are beneficial to companies in Amazon WorkSpaces include bundled hardware and software options. Provisioning is straightforward, so I found it easy to choose suitable bundles for users and launch any preferred number of Amazon WorkSpaces.
Integrations are native but require initial configuration to set up. Integrations include Okta MFA, SAML 2.0, Datadog, and AWS KMS.
Pricing: $7.25/1 vCPU, 2GB/month
Trial: Free tier available
- Multi-factor authentication is enabled for better security
- Gives companies control over employee and consultant workstations.
- Can quickly spin up new workstations quickly
- Some initial setup is required
- MFA is email-only
2. Azure Windows Virtual Desktop (AVD) - Best for Windows desktops
Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) is a Microsoft Azure-powered solution that enables the virtualization of Windows operating systems. It allows secure access to virtualized desktops and applications hosted in the cloud.
Why I picked Azure Windows Virtual Desktop: I chose AVD because it allows easy deployment and management of virtual desktops and applications for Windows. You can assign users, monitor performance, and quickly provide Windows desktops with all your business applications.
Azure Windows Virtual Desktop Features & Integrations:
Features I found helpful for Windows users include delivering the only virtualized solution fully optimized for Windows 11 and Microsoft 365. I also appreciated the enhanced application and data security, which detects threats proactively and facilitates system compliance and protection.
Integrations are native and include hardware, such as Linux and NVIDIA GPU driver. You can also integrate with Stackify and Snapshot.
Trial: $200 credit for 30 days
- System configs can be customized for team needs
- Reduces costs the more pooled VMs you have
- Can publish multiple VMs for different workloads
- Resources must be managed internally, no third-party solutions are available
- Users have little control over processes like restorations or system restarts
3. IBM Cloud - Best for businesses on cloud platforms
IBM Cloud is a cloud service provided by IBM for businesses. It allows you to consolidate your VDI infrastructure on a scalable cloud platform, minimizing the need for extensive hardware investments and maximizing resource usage.
Why I picked IBM Cloud: I liked IBM Cloud for cloud platforms because it simplifies VDI management with centralized updates. I found the remote access worked well across a variety of devices, allowing me to access files, applications, and cloud services from anywhere.
IBM Cloud Standout Features & Integrations:
Features I think are great for cloud platforms are data protection with managed and updated OS images, ensuring confidentiality and secure remote worker authentication. Consolidating processing on host servers and minimizing hardware purchases can significantly cut IT costs.
Integrations are native and encompass Citrix DaaS and Dizzion, providing compatibility and extended functionality within the cloud platform.
Pricing: Contact for pricing
Trial: Free tier available
- Easily adjust resources to meet changing needs
- Application and data availability, even during technical malfunctions
- User-friendly and intuitive, offering a well-organized interface for easy usage
- Slow snapshot creation which can take hours
- Slow Ubuntu updates for bug fixes and new features
4. VMware Horizon - Best for managing virtual machines
VMware Horizon is a desktop and app virtualization solution that simplifies the deployment and scaling of desktops and apps across different infrastructures. You can easily manage and deliver applications across various environments, including VDI, Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS), and published apps.
Why I picked VMware Horizon: I personally chose VMware Horizon because you can deploy fully customized virtual desktops and apps, provision applications faster, and deliver user policies in context. It also provides app isolation for a personalized, reliable, and consistent user experience.
VMware Horizon Standout Features & Integrations:
Features I found useful include application and user management for virtual desktops and published application environments. VMware also supports enterprise-scale capabilities like streamlined updates, easy rollbacks, and application lifecycle management.
Integrations are achieved using Workspace One's pre-built plugins. It supports many integrations, including Horizon 7, Microsoft Azure, Datadog, ServicePilot, and VMware Tanzu.
Trial: 60-day free trial available
- Applications can be accessed from a centralized desktop
- Flexible configuration options
- Enhances security by keeping all data within an internal network
- Steep learning curve
- High cost of licensing and additional features
5. VirtualBox - Best VDI for startups
VirtualBox is a popular, free, and open-source hypervisor that allows easy experimentation. It virtualizes machines quickly and reliably, leveraging the host machine's hardware. Despite being free, VirtualBox offers advanced features comparable to those of the paid tiers in other hypervisors.
Why I picked VirtualBox: I chose VirtualBox for startups because it enables companies to make new VDIs for free. I also liked the way it supports its own container format, which is used when creating a new VDI with a new disk.
VirtualBox Standout Features & Integrations:
Features I thought were useful are software packages that enhance guest system performance and integration with the host machine. It ensures compatibility across different host platforms, enabling easy transfer of virtual machines between hosts with different operating systems (e.g. Windows and Linux).
Integrations offer pre-built integrations known as Guest Additions. These integrations include PACE suite, Clarive, Forensic Explorer, and Huawei RDS.
Trial: Free version available
- Easy host and guest sharing and access for development work
- Full product and options are free with unlimited usage
- Supports virtualization of Windows and many Linux types
- Guest systems need to be shut down if you want to modify resources
- Needs more software demonstrations to showcase the product’s capabilities
6. V2 Cloud - Best VDI for non-technical businesses
V2 Cloud is a user-friendly Desktop-as-a-Service solution that allows businesses to securely host and access applications in the cloud. It offers simplicity without extensive training or certifications to deploy cloud desktops.
Why I picked V2 Cloud: I chose V2 Cloud because it allows you to quickly deploy pre-installed desktops with your business applications. You can access them easily from your desktop, browser, or smartphone. Additionally, it offers secure and fast cloud desktops for remote work on employees' own devices.
V2 Cloud Standout Features & Integrations:
Features I encountered that make life easier for businesses by simplifying complex features include a single panel that provides access to cloud resources, user controls, billing, security settings, and backups. Also, the dashboard gives full administrator access to virtual machines and facilitates easy application installation.
Integrations are pre-built and encompass various applications, including Microsoft 365, Quickbooks, Okta, JumpCloud, and FlexManager.
Pricing: $40/50 GB/month
Trial: 7-day free trial available
- Allows you to focus on your business, not on server maintenance
- Quick and simple template system setup for easy customization
- Easy to specify and implement according to your requirements
- Download processes may be slow and needs improvement
- Slight typing and scrolling lag compared to a regular desktop
7. Kasm Workspaces - Best VDI for streaming containerized apps and desktops
Kasm Workspaces delivers streaming containerized apps and desktops to end-users. With data-loss prevention and web streaming technology, it enables the secure delivery of containerized workloads to your browser.
Why I picked Kasm Workspaces: I picked Kasm Workspaces for its containerized desktop infrastructure, which includes a range of apps, desktops, and templates. These templates are open-source, allowing for easy customization to fit any use case.
Kasm Workspaces Standout Features & Integrations:
Features I found most useful in Kasm Workspaces were those that simplify the process of app containerization. They offer templates that can be used independently or within the Kasm Workspaces platform. Additionally, Kasm Workspaces provides open-source templates for popular operating systems like Ubuntu, CentOS, and NVIDIA CUDA.
Integrations come with pre-built plugins that work with third-party applications. Some of the supported integrations include Microsoft Azure, Docker, Digital Ocean, VNC Connect, and Ubuntu.
Trial: Free version available.
- Web browser access is possible without agents or VPNs
- Containerized applications deployments are versatile; can be hosted on-premise or in the cloud
- Easy installation
- Remote workers may spend additional time learning the application on different web browsers
- File upload is through the control panel; easier interaction methods like drag-and-drop should be added
8. HPE GreenLake - Best for remote workforces
HPE GreenLake is a software solution that enables secure and scalable virtual desktop infrastructure. It is delivered as a service, catering to the needs of your remote workforce.
Why I picked HPE GreenLake:
I chose HPE GreenLake because it connects edge-to-cloud platforms, allowing easy remote access to applications and data. This guarantees a good user experience, regardless of employee location.
HPE GreenLake Standout Features & Integrations:
Features I found interesting include connecting remote employees through private and public clouds. This enables automated hybrid cloud operations, performance optimization, and security for remote workloads.
Integrations with HPE GreenLake are via pre-built plugins. Supported integrations include DbVisualizer, Rayven, Aruba ESP, and Cylera.
Pricing: Pricing upon request
Trial: 30-day free trial available
- User interface is easy to navigate
- No individual device installations, updates, backups, or virus scans required
- Enables employees to access applications and data anywhere
- There is a learning curve involved
- Initial setup may be confusing at the start
9. Nutanix - Best for cloud infrastructure
Nutanix VDI is a software solution that unifies your hybrid cloud infrastructure. It includes computing, storage, networking, and hypervisors, and it can be deployed in public and private clouds.
Why I picked Nutanix:
I chose Nutanix because it combines on-premises and public cloud environments for scalability and cost-effectiveness. It eliminates vendor lock-in and ensures consistency across workloads.
Nutanix Standout Features & Integrations:
Features I liked include the backup of your workloads anywhere you need – on-premises, at edge locations, in the public cloud, or through disaster recovery solutions. It automates service restoration from one platform to minimize service downtime.
Integrations with Natrix are achieved through pre-built plugins. Supported integrations include ZigiOps, IBM, OpsRamp, and Datadog.
Trial: 30-day free trial available
- Easily track capacity usage for better planning
- Interface organized by nodes for easy navigation
- Adding new nodes can be done by configuring IP addresses
- Adding GPU cards can be complex and require SSH configuration
- Initial network setup can be confusing
10. Red Hat Virtualization - Best for emerging technologies
Red Hat Virtualization (RHV) is a virtualization platform designed for automating, managing, and modernizing your virtualized workloads in a cloud-native and containerized VDI environment. It offers support for a variety of virtualization workloads, including resource-intensive and critical applications.
Why I picked Red Hat Virtualization: I decided on RHV because it offers a range of purchasable applications for emerging technologies. You can deploy applications and workloads across various platforms, including physical, virtual, private, public cloud, and edge deployments.
Red Hat Virtualization Standout Features & Integrations:
Features I thought were useful include an enhanced performance metrics page in the web console, helping you identify potential causes of high resource usage across various operating systems and workspaces. Additionally, it offers the convenience of easily exporting metrics to a different server.
Integrations are conveniently cataloged based on the operating system. These integrations are pre-built and include OrientDB, OpenUnison, AWS, and IBM Cloud.
Trial: Free version available
- OpenStack support allows customizable VM templates for network management
- Integrates with Active Directory for simplified identity and access management
- Open-source, allowing for easy integration on any hardware
- Limited support and integration options for data management functionality like snapshot or restore
- Needs improved deployment for cloud services
11. Parallels RAS - Best for management and administration of virtual apps
Parallels RAS is software that lets you access Windows applications from shared servers or cloud systems. It creates virtual workspaces and automates deployments on popular platforms like Microsoft Azure, AVD, and AWS.
Why I picked Parallels RAS: I picked Parallels RAS for its streamlined deployment and management of IT infrastructures. It offers an intuitive management console and tools to deliver applications, desktops, and data to any device.
Parallels RAS Standout Features & Integrations:
Features I noted include providing a single workspace for accessing all necessary applications, which improves user productivity. It creates a central access point for apps from various sources, simplifying the user experience and offering controls for easy management.
Integrations with Parallels RAS include pre-built plugins from Microsoft, AWS, appCure, Lenovo, and Brocade.
Pricing: $120/15 users/year
Trial: 30-day free trial available
- Good speeds for end-users no matter which client they use
- Logging which captures incoming connections, IP addresses, and sign in timestamps
- Control who gets in and out of published application based on Active Directory privileges
- IP filtering for Parallels client has some issues
- Some error codes may be undocumented; outdated documentation may be present in general
12. Venn - Best for securing BYOD employee workspaces
Venn is a virtualization platform designed for secure Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) environments. It provides a simplified solution to secure remote work on any unmanaged or personal computer, eliminating the need for expensive virtual desktops or strict PC/Mac lockdowns.
Why I picked Venn:
I chose Venn because it simplifies the process of managing and securing company-owned PCs, reducing costs and complexity. It eliminates the need for expensive virtual desktop infrastructure and allows for the benefits of BYOD while ensuring security.
Venn Standout Features & Integrations:
Features I liked include a secure VM on the user's PC or Mac. In this VM, data is encrypted, access is managed, and work applications run locally, separate from personal use. This protects company data without the need to control the entire device, providing secure remote work without a complex VDI.
Integrations with BYOD devices are simple with pre-built plugins. Supported integrations include ZScaler, CATO, Umbrella, OneDrive, and Box.
Trial: Free demo available.
- It protects work-related data and apps from any personal activities on the computer
- Integrate all apps into Venn–no need for additional software
- No need for multiple logins or devices
- Various device brands and models may have compatibility issues with Venn
- Slight learning curve
Other VDI Solution Options For Your Systems
Here are a few VDI solutions that didn't quite make it to the top 12 but are definitely worth checking out:
- Microsoft Remote Desktop Services - Best VDI for troubleshooting
- NComputing vSpace - Best for hardware solutions
- Nerdio - Best for Microsoft Azure deployment
- Oracle VDI - Best for solutions in Oracle data centers
- Hysolate - Best security for VDIs
- Sangfor aDesk VDI - Best easy-to-use VDI
- NetApp VDS - Best for Azure desktops at a fixed-price
- NVIDIA GRID - Best for productivity apps
- Dizzion - Best for distributed and third-party teams
- Inuvika - Best for VDI processing speed
Selection Criteria for VDI Solutions
Curious about how I found the best VDI solutions? As a virtualization specialist, I've had the opportunity to work with different companies and their VDI tools. This firsthand experience helped me evaluate VDI solutions thoroughly and fairly during my search.
Here's what I looked for:
First, I evaluated VDI solutions on the key functionality that any platform needs to effectively deliver virtualized workspaces.
- VDI offers a consistent desktop experience for users, whether in the office or at home.
- When an organization needs to accommodate temporary expansions, such as seasonal call center agents, the VDI can be easily scaled up.
- Since all data is stored in the data center, the VDI must offer robust security features.
To facilitate the core functionality of VDI solutions, here are the key features that I required:
- Device flexibility: Flexibility is a crucial advantage of VDI, as it allows IT departments to integrate with existing systems, enables user BYOD, and can even extend the lifespan of outdated PCs when they are repurposed as VDI endpoints.
- Mobility: Remote workers, including sales reps, project teams, and executives, need mobile access to their apps while traveling.
- User experience: User experience should match or exceed the physical workstation by leveraging centralized resources and proximity to the backend infrastructure.
I prioritized usability when choosing VDI solutions, so that the given tool will be easy to pick up. I focused on VDI solutions with an intuitive interface, because this enables access to virtual desktops for all employees, regardless of technical expertise.
Security and Compliance
I prioritized VDI solutions that automate responses to suspicious activity, eliminating the need for constant human intervention. These solutions can block malicious traffic and quarantine infected virtual machines.
VDI solutions usually require monthly or annual payments, with costs increasing as you maintain your VDI servers. The software for VDI solutions starts at around $40 to $250 per desktop per month and goes up as your company and desktop count increase.
Scalability and Flexibility
I singled out VDI solutions which offered flexibility, allowing companies to scale their virtual desktop environment as needed. For example, when onboarding new employees, additional virtual desktops can be quickly provisioned to accommodate the growing workforce.
Can VDI Solutions enable remote work?
How do you secure VDI?
VDI solutions offer a secure and efficient approach to managing virtual desktops, enhancing productivity and user satisfaction. With simplified operations and centralized desktop management, organizations can enjoy improved security, scalability, and flexibility. I hope this list saves you time as you grow your tech stack and remote connection capabilities.
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