The Best Virtual Desktops
While the virtual desktop or VDI isn’t exactly new, it’s witnessed a growth in popularity in recent years, especially in terms of market share. With this type of infrastructure, a service provider handles all the logistical and technical aspects of cloud desktop and remote app management. As a result, you can save valuable resources that would otherwise be spent on setting up and maintaining the infrastructure yourself.
With so many VDI solutions currently on the market, it’s important to keep up with the latest technologies. The two major factors to consider when choosing this type of software are user experience and scalability. Of course, data security and pricing are equally important, especially for small business owners and startups. To help you make the best decision for your company, we’ve compiled a list of the best virtual desktops for business ventures of all sizes.
Starting off our list is Amazon WorkSpaces, a cloud desktop solution designed to boost employee productivity while lowering expenses. The fully-managed VDI can create Windows and Linux virtual machines and is compatible with multiple devices, including Mac, Chromebook, ios and Android tablets. Both operating systems come with pre-installed applications like Internet Explorer, although Microsoft Office and other programs may be purchased separately for a monthly subscription.
Setting up this type of infrastructure can be pretty expensive, not to mention time-consuming. However, with Amazon WorkSpaces, you can save valuable resources in the long run, thanks to streamlined management. Furthermore, as fully managed software, the VDI allows you to expand your team by facilitating remote work. In other words, your employees will be able to sign up with different devices and from various locations. Instead of creating an entirely new directory, the virtual desktop solution allows you to connect to your current Active Directory.
In addition, you can quickly manage and alter user access privileges from a single interface, allowing for a more efficient workflow. Amazon WorkSpaces is also a budget-friendly solution. There are several pricing plans to accommodate different user needs. All five bundles come with powerful graphics, scalable VDI, and basic services. In addition, you can opt for paying a monthly or hourly fee, depending on your management needs and IT budget.
- Flexible pricing
- Active Directory
- Entirely managed service
- Users have to be added manually
- Additional tech support costs
If you’re a freelancer or the owner of a budding startup looking for a reliable virtual desktop infrastructure, then Shells is a top choice for you. The software can turn any device, regardless of its hardware, into a virtual desktop that can run almost any office management program.
In addition, you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues since Shells works with Linux, Windows, Ubuntu, Android, and other platforms. The versatile interface can enhance the capabilities of any device, reducing the need for pricey additional equipment. As a result, developing businesses don’t have to raise funds to purchase new hardware to successfully integrate the VDI. Furthermore, because the platform is mobile-friendly, your employees can work from any location without any hindrance.
Shells is compatible with multiple operating systems, including Android, iOS, PlayStation, Windows, and Linux. In addition, the VDI solution comes with a built-in Protocol for Independent Computing Environments (SIMPLE), allowing users to access their desktops from different devices. The software includes a slew of highly advanced features, such as x86 with ARM compatibility, compiler customization, automated data backups, and a virtual keyboard. You’ll also have the option to install bots and increase the upload and download speed to 500mps.
Furthermore, Shells provides automatic updates, ensuring that you have the most up-to-date VDI framework. The free automatic backup and regular snapshots ensure all your data is stored securely within the platform. So even if you were to lose your phone or tablet, you’d be able to access the information you need. Security is critical, or any VDI solution and Shells works hard to maintain it at the highest level possible.
- Versatile interface
- Budget-friendly upgrades
- High security
- Fewer data center counts than rivaling providers
Nutanix VDI is a converged VDI that offers industry-leading solutions for software appliances. It’s regarded as a highly dependable program that allows for easier administration, seamless performance, and linear scaling. Also, the software is incredibly versatile, supporting different types of deployment, apps, and VDI users.
By simplifying the isolated infrastructure silos typical for this type of software, Nutanix VDI facilitates speedier adoption and evaluation time. That means you can get it up and running in record time without the need for sophisticated network or storage setups. With cutting-edge capabilities like deduplication, shadow clones, compression, and redundancy, Nutanix VDI significantly improves on the shortcomings of standard storage architecture.
In addition, the advanced features provide a consistently streamlined end-user experience. With such characteristics, the VDI solutions can meet the demands of the most high-maintenance users. Nutanix VDI is still an excellent pick for those uncertain about their computer skills, even with so many advanced capabilities. Thanks to the fully managed user experience, anyone can set up and operate the virtual desktop quickly. In comparison to other more sophisticated services, Nutanix VDI’s simplicity and ease of use are unique.
- Extremely user-friendly
- High performance
- Robust capabilities
- No live support
Citrix Virtual Applications and Desktops is a cloud-based virtual desktop service that allows you to access desktops and apps with different devices. The VDI gives your team the freedom to work from wherever, allowing employees to switch between internal and external networks with ease. Also, the software is one of the more budget-friendly solutions on our lists, making it perfect for startups and small businesses.
The VDI solution comes with a slew of robust features, all while maintaining straightforward navigation for end-users. Although Citrix is predominantly a ChromeOS-compatible system, it can provide a uniform experience with other devices. Furthermore, it offers an automated client configuration that selects the optimal connection path for all users without requiring you to tweak the settings. With Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop, you can switch between multiple devices without hampering the workflow.
Apart from ChromeOS, the VDI solution is compatible with Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS devices. Moreover, the software can adjust to different screen sizes so that employees may connect on a tablet or even a smartphone. In addition, for AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA GPUs, Citrix provides special acceleration capabilities.
- Streamlined interface
- Outstanding Graphics
- Extremely flexible
- Requires 25 user’s minimum
Horizon Cloud by VMware is a cloud-hosted VDI and virtual app solution that can be fully operated with a single control panel. The software provides all-around access to databases, files, and other company resources while maintaining maximum security levels.
In addition, thanks to its highly encrypted setup, the VDI can significantly reduce the risk of data abuse and cyberattacks. With VMware Horizon, you can manage multiple workplaces with one control panel, regardless of the number of remote devices. The VDI solution can facilitate all types of management tasks that way, particularly app delivery. Having all your apps and desktops handled with a single dashboard can be extremely helpful, especially if you’re worried about time management. As the number of remote employees increases, so does the risk of cyberattacks.
With VMware Horizon Cloud, you can rest assured all your data is perfectly safe, even when accessed from dubious locations. In addition, the software allows you to manage company resources in all workspaces, having clear insight into who is accessing the data and when. There are three main pricing plans – Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise, all determined by payment strategy, software version, and user type. The upper-level subscriptions include advanced features such as Linux provisioning, SSO and MF authentication, and virtualization for Skype for Business. Keep in mind that VMWare is purely BYOL, without the intention to sell Windows licenses in the foreseeable future.
- Maximum security
- One control panel
- Only compatible with BYOL
With V2 Cloud, you get a fully managed, scalable VDI platform that can deploy virtual apps and desktops to multiple remote devices. As an admin, you can add as many as 250 users to a single virtual desktop, with each user having access to a shared public folder and private files. Also, they’ll be able to access the data from different devices.
The software includes a multi-user window operating system and bundled Microsoft Office. V2 Cloud is another user-friendly solution with an array of versatile features. The software can be accessed via a Web browser and provides printing and bidirectional copy-paste capabilities. Thanks to the two-step authentication and built-in HTTPS encryption, V2 Cloud provides maximum network and data security.
All conversations within cloud desktops are fully encrypted. In addition, the VDI performs daily backups, ensuring all data can be quickly retrieved. V2 Cloud offers a safe, high-quality user experience with 24/7 technical assistance and live monitoring. As mentioned, you can add up to 250 users to one virtual desktop while maintaining a 360-degree view of all cloud PCs. Admins with full access can also remotely install apps, manage users, and monitor distant connections. All of these characteristics allow you to operate in an exceptionally secure and streamlined cloud environment.
- Streamlined remote management
- Built-in encryption
- Snapshots last only seven days
Evolve IP VDI resembles a desktop-as-a-service solution, with its fully managed infrastructure and budget-friendly pricing. As a result, it’s a great fit for small to medium-sized business ventures with a tight-knit crew. If you’re running on a tight IT budget but still want a reliable virtual desktop solution, Evolve IP is a solid choice.
The software gives you complete control over the virtual desktop and app delivery, allowing you to split your team across several projects. However, the infrastructure management is strictly run by Evolve IP. On the plus side, there’s plenty of room for customization. You’ll be able to determine the way apps, desktops, and storage spaces are delivered to end-users while maintaining a steady workflow. Evolve IP VDI comes with various capabilities that can accommodate a wide range of end-user demands.
The affordable VDI solution provides you with the Windows version of your choosing, along with the Microsoft Office apps, Standard or Enterprise. All of this can increase workspace productivity and facilitate communication between team members.
- Wide range of advanced features
- Highly customizable
- Not built for large companies
Parallels Remote Application Server or RAS is a virtual desktop and app delivery software that allows employees to access company resources from any device. It’s an elegant, easy-to-set-up VDI solution that ensures complete network visibility, unlimited access, and data-centric load balancing. The VDI has a flexible and scalable design that allows you to accommodate the ever-growing need for app delivery and cloud computers.
The sophisticated yet streamlined software can connect multiple remote devices to relevant virtual apps and desktops. Regardless of the platform or device, the VDI delivers an exceptional end-user experience. The software works well with various operating systems, including Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, iOS, and Chromebooks. In addition, all HTML web browsers are supported. With a shared clipboard, support for local peripherals, and drag-and-drop features, the cloud VDI provides excellent on-the-go access, increasing employee productivity in any circumstances.
Thanks to the HTML5 Client feature, users can change locations and networks without exiting the workspace. Parallels RAS also protects company assets from cyber-security breaches and data leaks. The software comes with advanced access control that prevents unauthorized remote access. Furthermore, you’re free to implement corporate data security plans based on your Active Directory or user behavior.
- Maximum data protection
- 15 users’ minimum requirement
With Microsoft Azure’s Windows Virtual Desktop, you can deploy Windows 7 or 10 virtual PCs with Office 365 and various third-party applications. The VDI solution is compatible with a wide range of devices. In addition, it works well with all popular browsers and platforms, including Windows, ChromeOS, macOS, iOS, and Android. The pricing is incredibly flexible since it’s determined by the virtual machine (GPU, CPU, and RAM) operating system, geographical location, and frequency of use.
Also, if you sign up for a one-year or three-year subscription, you can get a significant discount. For a more accurate cost estimate, you can visit the Windows Virtual Desktop website with a built-in cost calculator. If you opt for this VDI solution, you’ll get a slew of data recovery and backup features, ensuring your company resources are fully protected. Snapshots, automated failover, offline and encrypted virtual machine backups help reduce the risk of data loss or corruption.
- Regular backups
- High security
- Supports multiple devices
- Strictly cloud-based
- Windows-compatible only