Top 8 Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Tools

Citrix Virtual Apps and DesktopsMicrosoft Remote Desktop ServicesVMware Horizon ViewVMware WorkstationCitrix WorkspaceParallels Remote Application Server (RAS)VMware Horizon 7VMware Fusion
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    Security is a shining point of the Citrix Workspace. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops is a very robust solution when security is a concern. Furthermore, the content collaboration data-hosting that Citrix integrates with Virtual Apps and Desktops is among the best there is.
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    The performance is one of the main features of this solution.The most valuable features of the solution are ease of use and the simple environment.
  3. Find out what your peers are saying about Citrix, Microsoft, VMware and others in Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). Updated: June 2021.
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  4. leader badge
    The local hardware pass-throughs are valuable. I like being able to have access to local hardware.Great for desktop management, particularly when it comes to all the upgrades.
  5. Great at solving connection problems. I haven't faced any inconveniences working with this solution. It is very easy to use.
  6. The feature that I like is that it is fast.The basic virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) feature is most valuable. We were lucky to have it in place when the pandemic hit. It is used very heavily now.
  7. Its price and ease of use are the most valuable. It is simple and has good performance.Simplicity of the interface is a valuable feature.
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  9. We like that VMware is the top competitor in virtualization.The benefits of this solution are that it is modern and it works perfectly well with the rest of the VMware environments we have. Having this vertical integration is what matters to us as an organization and this solution excels in this area. You deploy it and it works without much hassle.
  10. The whole point of it is to run Windows VMs on a Mac. This is the most valuable feature. There is snapshotting, but we don't really use that. The Pro version allows me to actually attach to the Windows ESXi infrastructure at the backend, and I'm able to create a session that I can attach to the VMware hooks at the backend, so one is running a VM, and the whole operating system is running on the actual Mac. The other one is literally a frontend to the VMs that are running in the infrastructure at the backend. These are the two main features I use.

What is the purpose of a virtual desktop?

Virtual desktops can fill several purposes. First, they enable users to access their desktop, applications, and data from anywhere and from any device. Also, virtual desktops promote collaboration, since most solutions allow for users to work on the same documents and projects remotely, to share data and docs, and even to communicate within the virtual desktop environment.

More organizations are moving to desktop virtualization because it provides business continuity and makes workloads more efficient. Desktop virtualization provides a way for organizations to continue operations even in moments of crisis or with a geographically distributed workforce.

How does a virtual desktop work?

A virtual desktop works much like a physical desktop. A user logs in to their virtual desktop from any device and connects to the network. There, the user can interact with applications, data, and other users as they would on a physical desktop.

In hosted virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), the virtual desktop resides within virtual machines on a central server. This technology uses hypervisor software to virtualize the operating system and simulate the user desktop. This enables the server to run multiple instances of the same operating system, thus fostering sharing and collaboration between multiple devices and users.

How do I create a virtual desktop?

Most major operating systems providers offer desktop virtualization. For instance, Windows 10 offers the possibility of creating several virtual desktops for end-users. If you use a single monitor, this feature can be very useful. You can add a new virtual desktop by using the Task View pane.

If you want to add a virtual desktop, click on the Task View button in the taskbar or press the Windows key + Tab. Then, click New desktop to add a virtual desktop. You can also switch desktops by going to the Task View pane. You can add an unlimited number of virtual desktops.

You can also create a Windows Virtual Desktop in Microsoft Azure. Although this is a bit more complicated than for an end-user, it can be done from the Virtual Machines tab. Start by creating a host pool of virtual machines and then create the application groups, the workspaces, and the designated users. More detailed information is available from Azure.

Types of Virtual Desktops

There are three main types of virtual desktops:

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is popular among companies because it mimics physical desktop computing. This hosted model assigns a virtual machine (VM) to each user when they log in. The persistence in this technology enables each user to connect to the same VM each time they access the workspace so that users can customize their desktops.

Remote desktop services (RDS) enable users to access desktops and Windows applications via the Microsoft Windows Server operating system. From the end user’s perspective, there is no difference between RDS and VDI. However, in RDS the server can support as many users as the hardware can handle, and thus is more cost-effective.

Desktop as a Service (Daas) VMs are hosted on a cloud platform supported by a third-party provider. DaaS platforms provide scalability and are usually more flexible than on-premises solutions. They also deploy faster than other desktop virtualization options.

Benefits of Virtual Desktops

The benefits of virtual desktops include:

  1. Business continuity: Virtual desktops help organizations stay in operation even when part of the workforce is remote. Virtualization also helps companies to expand their activities to keep a global workforce without compromising security or productivity.
  2. Expanded security: Desktop virtualization works at a layer on top of the physical hardware. Since the desktop is managed from a central physical or cloud-based server, you can implement security controls that go across the entire controlled environment.
  3. Simpler administration: Virtual desktops make it easier for IT teams to manage the access and computing needs of employees. It also simplifies collaboration and sharing for employees.
  4. Improved productivity: With a virtual desktop, employees can easily access enterprise computing resources from anywhere. Therefore, productivity is increased regardless of where the workforce is operating from.
  5. Scalability: Scaling up a regular company’s on-premises infrastructure is expensive and time-consuming. Desktop virtualization enables organizations to deploy new virtual machines or add a new user whenever necessary.
  6. Better user experience: Virtual desktops offer an intuitive user experience with easy access and collaboration from a centralized dashboard.

Features of Virtual Desktops

Desktop virtualization allows you to move computing operations to a virtual or cloud environment, offering you scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. Here are some of the features of effective virtual desktops:

  • They can be accessed from any device: Any authorized user from any device - mobile or desktop - can access their desktop virtually and work as if they were in the office. This helps companies with remote staff or employees that need to work from the field.
  • You can deliver apps, data, and documents to any device from any cloud: Collaboration is easier with virtual desktops, since all employees share the same workspace, regardless of their operating system.
  • Unified management console: Most desktop virtualization solutions offer a unified management console to simplify user administration, deployments, and hybrid environment management.
Find out what your peers are saying about Citrix, Microsoft, VMware and others in Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). Updated: June 2021.
521,817 professionals have used our research since 2012.