Virtualization

The Top 9 Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Solutions

Discover the top virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions with features like in-built security, broad compatibility, compliance controls, and added support for graphics-heavy applications.

The Top Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Solutions Include:
  • 1. Amazon WorkSpaces
  • 2. Citrix DaaS
  • 3. Dizzion-Frame DaaS Complete
  • 4. Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop
  • 5. Nerdio Manager for Enterprise
  • 6. Parallels Remote Application Server (RAS)
  • 7. Red Hat Virtualization
  • 8. VMWare Horizon Cloud
  • 9. V2 Cloud

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions enable organizations to implement a type of IT infrastructure that enables employees to access corporate resources from anywhere, on any device—including tablets and cell phones. VDI solutions are based on a single, centralized server, which is split into multiple virtual machines (VMs). These, in turn, host virtual desktops, which can be delivered to users on-demand. Users can access virtual desktops—and all the apps and files stored on them—via a secure desktop client or browser, then interact with them as though they were running locally on their endpoint.

VDI is a highly cost-effective way for IT departments to provision, manage, and secure their organization’s IT infrastructure. It reduces costs associated with hardware provisioning and upgrades, improves security by removing the risk of corporate data being stored on unsecured user endpoints, improves productivity by enabling uses to access their desktop via multiple devices, and enables secure, remote access to corporate resources.

Because of this, VDI implementations are particularly popular amongst:

  • Organizations with remote workers
  • Organizations with a “bring your own device” (BYOD) policy that allows users to access company resources on their own personal devices
  • Organizations with employees working in shifts (e.g., call centers and retail settings) and use the same software to perform a limited number of tasks
  • Development, engineering, and design organizations that rely on graphic-heavy applications and have high storage requirements
  • Healthcare organizations and educational institutions that need to limit access to sensitive data based on user profiles (e.g., a doctor only being able to access the records of their own patient, or a teacher only accessing their own students records)

In this article, we’ll explore the best virtual desktop infrastructure solutions. These include features such as on-prem and multi-cloud compatibility, device and OS compatibility, in-built security, and compliance controls, with added support for graphics-heavy applications via NVIDIA vGPU. We’ll give you some background information on the provider and the key features of each solution, as well as the type of customer that they are most suitable for.

AWS Logo

Amazon offers a suite of virtual desktops solutions: WorkSpaces Core offers VDI APIs for third-party VDI software; WorkSpaces Web offers browser access to internal websites and SaaS apps; and, their flagship, Amazon WorkSpaces offers comprehensive, persistent virtual desktops for hybrid and remote workers. With Amazon WorkSpaces, users can use their Windows, Linux, and Ubuntu devices to securely access data and apps stored on AWS, via a browser or native client application.

Amazon WorkSpaces is fully managed and cloud-based, making it easy to deploy via the AWS Management Console. Once deployed, admins can centrally manage their virtual desktops and stream them to users on demand. The ease of deployment and scalable, fixed-rate billing make this solution accessible to organizations of all sizes, with no risk of over-provisioning. Because Amazon WorkSpaces’ desktops are persistent, they store users’ changes, making this solution particularly well suited to development or IT teams, or businesses with remote or hybrid workers. Overall, we recommend Amazon WorkSpaces to any organization looking to provide their remote users with secure access to data in the AWS cloud.

Citrix logo

Citrix Desktop-as-a-Service, or Citrix DaaS (formerly Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops) is a market-leading, fully managed VDI solution that enables businesses to provision their users with secure virtual workspaces that can be accessed from anywhere, on any device. The platform is compatible with multi-cloud environments—including support for Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud—and offers central management for cloud workloads alongside on-prem workloads. When users sign in, Citrix DaaS optimizes their connections for communications tools and 3D apps, ensuring productivity even when bandwidth is low. Citrix DaaS also offers in-built security features, including granular access controls, user session recording, and user behavior analytics. Together, these features help admins prevent and identify unauthorized network access.

Delivered in the cloud, Citrix DaaS is easy to deploy and highly scalable. It’s compatible with cloud, multi-cloud, and hybrid environments that comprise both cloud desktops and on-prem workloads. The platform offers flexible pricing options that enable organizations to add on extra security, performance optimization, and analytics features. Overall, we recommend Citrix DaaS for any organization looking to provision virtual desktops within a cloud, multi-cloud, or hybrid environment. It is particularly suited to those already utilizing Citrix’s solutions in their IT infrastructure and security stack.

Dizzion Logo

In May 2023, Nutanix Frame was acquired by private equity firm LLR Partners and merged with Dizzion, a leading DaaS provider. Dizzion-Frame offers a broad range of virtual desktop and Desktop-as-a-Service solutions; DaaS Complete is their managed DaaS platform. DaaS Complete is compatible with IBM Cloud, Azure, Google Cloud, VMWare vSphere, AWS, and Nutanix AHV, delivering virtual desktops of workloads stored in any of these locations to remote users on any device—including thin clients. Once connected, users benefit from enhanced performance via NVIDIA GPUs and SD-WAN optimization. The platform is PCI-DSS, HIPAA, GDPR, and SOC 2 Type II compliant. From the management portal, admins can manage the solution and generate usage reports in real-time.

DaaS Complete is a fully managed solution: Dizzion-Frame handles the infrastructure, patching, updates, RMM, and backups. Admins can also add on threat detection and antivirus, software distribution and patching, as well as helpdesk tools. DaaS Complete is a highly flexible VDI solution that we recommend for most use cases. Its delivery of persistent desktops and compliance support makes it suitable for securely provisioning remote workers who handle sensitive data, such as healthcare and finance institutions. The platform’s delivery of non-persistent desktops and support for thin clients makes it suitable for provisioning task workers such as retail, call centers, and help desks.

Azure Logo

Azure Virtual Desktop (formerly Windows Virtual Desktop) is Microsoft’s VDI solution. The platform enables admins to deliver a full Windows 10 or 11 or desktop experience (including Microsoft 365) to their users via a Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, or HTML5 client. From the central management portal, admins can configure network setting, manage users, deploy apps, and manage security settings. The platform offers in-built security through the Azure security stack—including Azure Firewall, Azure Security Center, Azure Sentinel, and Microsoft Defender for Endpoint—, as well as conditional MFA and role-based access controls. It’s also ISO certified, and HIPAA, PCI, and FedRAMP compliant.

Azure Virtual Desktop is a simple, yet accessible and resilient VDI solution for organizations operating a Windows environment. Admins are able to use their existing Windows or MS 365 licenses to save costs and can manage the solution within the main Azure portal. The platform also offers a wealth of in-built security and compliance features, making it particularly well-suited to government, healthcare, and financial services organizations that need to comply with strict data protection and privacy regulations.

Nerdio Logo

Nerdio is a VDI provider that specializes in deploying virtual desktops in Azure. Nerdio offer a VDI solution for MSPs, with Nerdio Manager being their Enterprise solution for businesses. Nerdio Manager for Enterprise expands upon Microsoft’s own VDI offering with the unified deployment, management, and optimization of Azure Virtual Desktop, Microsoft 365, and physical Windows devices, all via a single pane of glass. Delivered as-a-Service, the platform makes it easy to deliver virtual workstations through Azure Virtual Desktop within two hours of deploying Nerdio. Aside from simplified management, the platform also offers enhanced security, with user session controls (including forced log off and remote control), role-based access, data sovereignty controls, and security audit assistance.

Nerdio Manager for Enterprise deploys as an Azure application, directly into an organization’s Azure subscription. It offers just-in-time virtual machine use, creating new machines when needed and stopping them when not in use to reduce Azure compute costs. Overall, we would recommend Nerdio Manager for Enterprise to mid-market organizations and larger and enterprises looking to set up a virtual desktop infrastructure within Azure but are struggling to manage Microsoft’s Azure Virtual Desktop. The solution provides added support through simplified management, automation, and license optimization.

Parallels Logo

Parallels Remote Application Server (RAS) is a VDI solution that enables businesses to provide their remote users with secure access to company desktops and applications. RAS allows admins to centrally manage both on-prem and multi-cloud workloads (with support for Azure, AVD, and AWS), while enabling remote users to securely access virtual desktops and apps on any device or operating system. This access is achieved through Parallels’ web client or local client. For enhanced security, the platform offers central file storage, advanced encryption, multi-factor authentication, and granular access policies at user, group, and device level. Finally, admins can also generate graphic reports into traffic and resource usage, allowing them to effectively monitor user activities for auditing, security, and compliance purposes.

Parallels RAS offers a good deal of out-of-the-box functionality, with configuration wizards for easier deployment and integration. The platform includes 24/7 support and access to free technical training to help businesses get the most out of the solution. Overall, we recommend Parallels RAS as a strong VDI solution for small- and medium-sized businesses looking for a secure way to provision their remote and hybrid users with access to on-prem and cloud resources.

Red Hat Logo

Red Hat is a provider of cloud infrastructure, middleware, application development, management, and automation solutions for the enterprise. Built on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and KVM, Red Hat Virtualization enables organizations to virtualize their resources and applications for more effective and efficient IT management. Red Hat Virtualization’s key differentiator is its support for NVIDIA vGPU, which enables it to virtualize resource- and graphics-intense applications, making it well-suited to design and development organizations.

It’s important to note that Red Hat Virtualization is a virtualization solution, not a VDI solution—it enables businesses to virtualize their resources, processes, and apps, and these virtualization capabilities are very powerful. However, it doesn’t provide comprehensive management for delivering virtual desktops and resources to users. As such, we recommend Red Hat to mid-market and larger enterprises. We would suggest that organizations deploy Red Hat in tandem with another third-party VDI provider on this list to help deploy virtualizations to users.

VMWare logo

Horizon Cloud is VMWare’s VDI solution, which enables businesses to deliver virtual Windows desktops and hosted apps to their remote users. Users can connect to company resources through the VMWare Horizon client or through a browser, on any device (including all common devices and Oss, HTML5 browsers, thin clients, and zero clients). The platform optimizes user experience across WAN and LAN for maximum productivity even with low bandwidth. It also offers NVIDIA vGPU support for hosted infrastructure deployments, enabling it to deliver secure, 3D graphics. For ease of management, IT teams can integrate virtual desktops with their Active Directory. The platform has full MFA support, as well as being able to integrate with additional tooling, services, and workflows via API.

Horizon Cloud is a flexible, scalable VDI solution. The platform offers a range of deployment options. It can be fully-managed and hosted from VMWare, this offers enhanced scalability. Alternatively, organizations with an existing Azure subscription can deploy the solution through public clouds. Organizations can also use on-prem hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), this is ideal for organizations that need more control over their VDI due to strict security requirements. Overall, we recommend VMWare Horizon Cloud as a strong VDI solution for mid-market and larger enterprises looking to provide their remote users with access to corporate resources.

V2 Logo

V2 Cloud is a leading desktop virtualization platform that focuses on delivering secure Windows desktops, whilst being simple to deploy and manage. From the management console, admins can access cloud resources, user controls, security settings, and billing information. V2 Cloud supports multi-user desktops that run on Windows Server OS and can provision up to 250 users, making it easy to distribute apps to user groups, as well as single-user desktops for apps that require a Windows 10 desktop OS. Users can access virtual desktops via the platform’s web app—which offers support for screen sharing, printing, and file transfers—or via the desktop, mobile, or Raspberry Pi app. V2Cloud also offers a comprehensive set of in-built security features, including daily backups (note: backup have a limited retention period of 7-21 days depending on selected plan), antivirus, MFA, SSO, and an IPsec VPN.

V2 Cloud is deployed as a fully-managed platform designed specifically for small businesses. It includes comprehensive technical support via phone, email, and live chat. The admin console is highly intuitive and navigable, with the platform offering a secure, reliable means for users to access resources remotely. We recommend V2 Cloud as a strong VDI solution for small businesses looking to provision remote employees, developers looking to share a cloud version of an on-prem application with their clients, and educational institutions looking to give students remote access to resources.

The Top Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Solutions