7 Best Virtual Desktop Solutions for Individual or Business

Even before the global pandemic, many businesses have adopted the idea of remote working. Yet, it’s no secret that the global COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2020 and 2021 has accelerated the adoption of Working from Home (WFH) and remote working all over the world. 

With that being said, desktop virtualization has been a viable solution for businesses to facilitate their remote workers with a full-fidelity desktop experience from anywhere, anytime, and on any device

There are various virtual desktop solutions available in the market for both individuals and businesses, allowing end-users to easily access a full desktop on any device (including thin clients and mobile devices) to minimize the need for expensive and high-performance hardware. 

Yet, with so many virtual desktop products available in the market, which one is the right one for you or your business? 

In this buyer’s guide, we have compiled a list of the top 7 virtual desktop solutions available today; their pros, their key features, and our review on whether they are the right fit for yourself as an individual or your business.

Without further ado, let us begin. 

Top 7 Virtual Desktop Solutions for Individual or Business

Desktop Virtualization Solutions: Comparison Table

Virtual Desktop Solution Guest OS Host OS Key Features Pricing
V2 Cloud Windows Windows
  • Native Office 365 and Microsoft Azure AD integrations
  • Daily backup with snapshots
  • Very fast and reliable
Starts from $35/month
VMware Fusion Windows

Linux

NetWare

Solaris

macOS
  • Drag-and-drop interface
  • Easy to use and reliable
Starts from $149
Amazon WorkSpaces Linux

Windows

Windows macOS

Android

  • Secure and reliable AWS infrastructure
  • Cost-effective pricing model (pay what you use hourly pricing)
  • Impressive 24/7 technical support via phone/chat/email
Custom pricing
Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop Windows Windows
  • Great data security features
  • Excellent and reliable backup/restore function
  • Native Windows 11 and Office 365 support
Custom pricing
Citrix DaaS Windows

Linux

Android

Windows

macOS

  • Intuitive, lightweight, and streamlined user management solution. Fast and easy to use
  • Support any public cloud or hypervisor solution (with Premium Plus plan and above)
  • Versatile, great BYOD suppor
Starts from $10/user/month
Shells Windows

Linux

All
  • Affordable monthly or yearly plan, no hidden fees. One of the most cost-effective option
  • Versatile and supports virtually any device. You can use a cheaper device with Shells
  • Easy deployment and use
Starts from $4.95/month (10 hours of usage per month)

Starts from $8.95/month for unlimited use

Nutanix Frame Windows Windows
  • Versatile subscription terms, sign up for a 3-to-60 month prepaid subscription or a pay-as-you-go subscription
  • Simple and intuitive, easy deployment and use
  • Auto-scaling and auto decommission
Starts from $24/user/month

 

1. V2 Cloud

Overview:

V2 Cloud is a full-service Desktop as a Service (DaaS) solution ideal for businesses of all sizes with Windows for both host and guest OSs. 

Being a full-service solution, V2 Cloud doesn’t only offer desktop virtualization but also facilitates secure data access and management.

With V2 Cloud, you can easily create and launch a Windows-based virtual desktop in less than half an hour, even if you are without any programming experience.

Pay-as-you-go pricing model to ensure cost-efficiency.

Pricing:

7-day free trial available. V2 Cloud offers multiple plans for businesses and individuals (full breakdown here) based on the number of users, computing resources, applications, and features needed. Starting from $35/month for individuals and $40/month for businesses.

Key Features:

  • Very fast and reliable (data centers with fast storage drives and processors)
  • Excellent 24/7 technical support
  • 50 GB storage space, expandable by request
  • Compatible with Microsoft Active Directory
  • Native Office 365 and Microsoft Azure AD integrations
  • Intuitive and streamlined user collaboration tools
  • Daily backup with snapshots
  • Unlimited teleporting to any locations all around the globe (Europe, Asia, America, Australia)

Key Benefits:

  • Easy to set up and use even without any coding/programming experience
  • Excellent 24/7 technical support
  • Very fast and stable cloud desktop experience

Our Review:

V2 Cloud offers a fast and reliable virtual desktop experience that is also cost-effective, complete with 24/7 technical support and live monitoring. 

The key highlight of V2 Cloud’s virtual desktop is that it’s very easy to set up in just a matter of minutes, with no programming skills required. Despite its ease of use, it also offers a pretty robust set of features and native integration with Microsoft Azure Active Directory (AD) and Office 365.

V2 Cloud offers support for up to 250 users, allowing them to share files and applications with each other in real-time.

2.VMware Fusion

Overview: 

VMware (owned by Dell) is one of the most prominent players in cloud computing and virtual desktop, so there shouldn’t be any doubt regarding quality and reliability.

VMware Fusion is a desktop hypervisor for Mac, allowing Mac computers to access Windows, NetWare, Linux, Solaris, and other popular OSs on your Mac. 

Pricing: 

Free Personal Use license available with basic features, free trial for paid plans available:

  • VMware Fusion 12 Player ($149 or $79 for upgrade):
    • Basic features to run nearly any OS, Container, or Kubernetes Clusters on Mac computers via virtual machines.
  • VMware Fusion 12 Pro ($199 or $99 for upgrade)
    • All features on the Fusion 12 Player and:
      • Create/manage encrypted virtual machines
      • Virtual Network customization
      • Connect to vSphere/ESXi Server
      • Create linked and full clones
      • Remote vSphere host power control
    • VMware Fusion 123 Pro+Support Basic 1 Year ($241 or $141 for upgrade)
      • Everything from the Fusion 12 Pro Plan and:
        • 24/7 technical support by telephone and email
        • Access to Knowledge Base articles and documentation

Key Features:

  • Access to multiple OSs running different applications simultaneously, don’t need to reboot every time
  • Native integration with popular VMware vSphere (cloud-based virtualization platform)
  • built-in CLI tool for building, running, and managing OCI containers and Kubernetes clusters
  • Connect to remote vSphere and ESXi servers for improved visibility into host and data center topology
  • Easily transfer virtual machines with drag-and-drop
  • Powerful graphics with eGPUs, run modern games and apps with OpenGL 4.1 and DirectX 11 support.
  • Supports large virtual machines with up to 128 GB or RAMS, 32 CPU cores, 10 TB virtual storage, and 8GB of vRAM per virtual machine.

Key Benefits:

  • Easy to use and reliable with drag-and-drop functionality
  • Support for rollback points to ensure minimal downtime and data security

Our Review:

If you are an individual using macOS devices, then VMware Fusion is arguably one of the most cost-effective virtual desktop solutions available in the market for you. 

The common use case of VMware Fusion is to run Windows on Mac, but it can also run hundreds of other OSs and underlying applications. With the Fusion Pro plan, you can easily create custom virtual networks with unique MTU sizes and NAT port forwarding to meet your unique needs. 

3. Amazon WorkSpaces

 

Overview:

Amazon is obviously one of the biggest players in the tech industry right now, and Amazon WorkSpaces is now also the leading product in DaaS.

Great set of features and flexible pricing options, making it ideal for businesses of all sizes. It is based on Amazon’s reliable SDX protocol and supports Windows, macOS, and Android devices.

Pricing:

Amazon WorkSpaces offers flexible pricing options according to your unique needs, with a wide variety of plans based on disk size, memory, number of CPUs, and so on. Services can be charged hourly (pay what you use) to ensure cost-efficiency.

There’s also a Free Tier for two workspaces for up to 40 hours per month. No hidden fees, and you can cancel your subscription at any time.

Key Features:

  • Easy setup and use with Amazon’s fully managed service
  • Fast and reliable virtual desktop experience with Amazon’s high-quality streaming protocols
  • Versatile hardware and software options with Amazon WorkSpaces bundles
  • Bring your existing Windows 10 Desktop licenses to WorkSpaces, and save up to 16% per month per WorkSpace.
  • Local NVMe-based SSD storage (instance store), ideal for caches and buffers
  • Amazon infrastructure, HIPAA, and PCI compliant
  • Supports on-premises Microsoft Active Directory 

Key Benefits:

  • Versatile plan, scale storage, CPU, and GPU resources as needed
  • Cost-effective pricing model (pay what you use hourly pricing)
  • Impressive 24/7 technical support via phone/chat/email
  • Secure and reliable AWS infrastructure

Our Review:

Amazon WorkSpaces offers easy provisioning of Windows and Linux virtual desktops on Windows, macOS, and Android devices, and there are a wide variety of applications and hardware resources to choose from in its flexible plans.

One of the key highlights of Amazon WorkSPaces is its flexible pricing, and you can easily custom-tailor your plan to upscale or downscale the CPU, GPU, storage, and applications as needed. Built on Amazon’s infrastructure, we can also expect fast and reliable virtual desktop experiences at all times. 

However, WorkSpaces is certainly not the most affordable solution available, and additional technical support is not free. If you do have the budget, Amazon WorkSpaces is definitely worth considering. 

4. Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop

Overview:

Being a Microsoft product, Azure Virtual Desktop allows businesses and individuals to provision Windows 11 virtual machines, complete with native Office 365 support and integration with popular third-party applications.

Azure Virtual Desktop supports Windows, iOS/macOS, Chrome OS, Android, and a wide variety of browsers.

Pricing:

Similar to Amazon WorkSpaces, Azure Virtual Desktop also offers versatile pricing based on OS, resources (CPU, GPU, RAM, storage), usage, operating system, and regions. You can use Azure’s pricing calculator to determine your costs before committing to an Azure subscription.

Key Features:

  • Native optimization for Windows 11 and Office 365, fast and reliable
  • Microsoft’s advanced security capabilities proactively detect threats and automatically take actions
  • Easy deployment and infrastructure management in just a matter of minutes
  • Cost-effective, pay only for what you use and use existing eligible licenses
  • ISO 27001, 27018, and 27701, plus PCI, FedRAMP High for Commercial, and HIPAA compliant
  • Supports role-based access control (RBAC)

Key Benefits:

  • Versatile for businesses and individuals, no minimum users/machines
  • Great data security features
  • Excellent and reliable backup/restore function
  • Native Windows 11 and Office 365 support

Our Review: 

Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop offers two key highlights: best-of-the-best Windows 11 and Microsoft 365 support, which is obvious, and great data security features (great backup and recovery features, encrypted transmission and backups, automatic failover, etc.)

Azure Virtual Desktop also offers versatile pricing, so you can personalize your plan according to your or your business’s exact needs.

However, despite its great benefits, Azure Virtual Desktop only offers Windows virtual desktops. So, if you are looking for Linux or other OS provisions, this one is not for you.

5. Citrix DaaS

Overview:

Citrix is another big name in the cloud service and especially the DaaS industry. Citrix DaaS is particularly great for mobile or remote workers, supporting Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, and iOS while also letting users easily switch between devices without rebooting. Users can easily connect to Citrix’s virtual desktops from anywhere and on any device, even mobile phones.

Pricing:

A 7-day free trial is available, and Citrix offers four different types of paid plans (custom plans also available):

  • Citrix DaaS Standard: $10/user/month
    • Managed DaaS for Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure
    • Access to virtual apps and desktops
    • Bring your own license (option for fully-managed service)
  • Citrix DaaS Advanced Plus: $13/user/month
    • All Standard plan features and:
      • Advanced monitoring
      • Session recording
      • Enhanced user performance and scalability
      • Hybrid multi-cloud desktop and app provisioning
  • Citrix DaaS Premium: $20/user/month
    • All Advanced Plus plan features and:
      • Improved virtual desktop and applications portability across hybrid clouds
      • Premium monitoring with historical reporting
      • Advanced image management features
      • Advanced security features
  • Citrix DaaS Premium Plus: $23/user/month
    • All DaaS Premium plan features and:
      • Security analytics to automatically detect and manage threats
      • Optimizing user experience via real-time performance analytics

Key Features:

  • A wide range of security features to protect your data: record user sessions, advanced access control, and so on
  • Very stable user experience even in slow internet speed
  • Hybrid multi-cloud, store workloads in any cloud platform (Google Cloud, Azure, etc.) Manage them alongside on-premises resources in a single dashboard
  • Security and user behavior analytics, combined with automated policy controls to ensure security without sacrificing performances
  • Simplified and optimized management, allowing accelerated logins, response times, and improved server scalability

Key Benefits:

  • Excellent security features, end-to-end data encryption, data never stored on physical devices
  • Intuitive, lightweight, and streamlined user management solution. Fast and easy to use
  • Support any public cloud or hypervisor solution (with Premium Plus plan and above)
  • Versatile, great BYOD support

Our Review:

The Citrix DaaS is one of the most versatile DaaS solutions, offering support to Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS devices. Users can seamlessly switch between devices with different OSs without rebooting, and the Citrix DaaS will automatically adjust to different screen sizes.

Starting from just $10/user/month, Citrix is also fairly affordable, considering the great set of features it offers. However, there’s a minimum of 25 users, making Citrix DaaS not an ideal solution for individuals or smaller teams.

6. Shells

Overview:

A relatively new player in the virtual desktop solution industry, Shell offers pretty decent multi-platform packages that are also affordable.

Unlike other virtual desktop solutions in this list, Shells uses the new SPICE (Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environments) protocol, which allows fast and reliable access to cloud desktops from various types of devices and OSs, allowing Shells to support virtually any device, including smart TVs and gaming consoles.

Pricing: 

Risk-free 7-day warranty. Custom plans are also available.

Shells offer four basic offerings: 

  • Shells Lite: $4.95/month
    • 1 Processor
    • 40 GB storage
    • 2 GB memory
    • 10 hours/month
  • Shells Basic: $8.95/month
    • 1 Processor
    • 40 GB storage
    • 2 GB memory
    • Unlimited use
  • Shells Plus: $13.95/month
    • 2Processor
    • 80 GB storage
    • 4 GB memory
    • Unlimited use
  • Shells Pro: $24.95/month
    • 4 Processor
    • 160 GB storage
    • 8 GB memory
    • Unlimited use

Key Features: 

  • Built-in mobile terminal view with iOS and Android apps
  • Connect to any protocols using SSH
  • Faster virtual machine performance with SLICE protocol
  • Easy deployment, instantly launch in seconds
  • Simple and transparent pricing (monthly or yearly price, no hidden costs.)
  • Global presence with locations in Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, New York, Amsterdam, & Tokyo
  • 24/7 technical support and always-online IRC presence on the Freenode IRC network

Key Benefits:

  • Affordable monthly or yearly plan, no hidden fees. One of the most cost-effective option
  • Versatile and supports virtually any device. You can use a cheaper device with Shells
  • Easy deployment and use
  • Free daily backups (up to 7 days’ worth of data)

Our Review:

Shells is a relative newcomer in the virtual desktop and DaaS industry but has grown really popular in recent years, and not without its reasons: it’s (very) affordable with a pretty decent set of features.

The lower price point does come with a (minor) downside: it has fewer data center counts than most of its competitors, which also means fewer locations. Yet, despite this downside, Shells still offer pretty reliable and fast services, even on low-spec devices. 

Definitely one of the best virtual desktop solutions available for both individuals and businesses, especially for those on a tight budget. 

7. Nutanix Frame

Overview:

Nutanix XI Frame is another virtual desktop solution worth considering in 2022 and is marketed as a “true hybrid multi-cloud” DaaS. Meaning, you can either deploy Nutanix Frame on-premises (via Nutanix AHV) or in other cloud services like AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud.

With Nutanix Frame, customers can quickly and securely access virtual desktops and applications on any device with a browser, regardless of the OS and processing power.

Not only is Nutanix Frame fast and reliable, but it also supports graphically-intensive apps with vGPU profiles on Nutanix AHV. Users can enjoy stable and fast Nutanix Fame sessions on multiple 4K monitors at 60 fps.

Pricing:

  • Pay-as-you-go: $33/user/month, 5 users minimum
    • Based on the number of unique users
    • Microsoft RDS-SAL entitlement
    • No support for Government Platform (FedRAMP)
  • Terms-based: $24/user/month, 5 users minimum
    • Based on the number of unique users
    • Terms-based, 3-60 terms available
    • Purchase via Nutanix Reseller
    • Overages billed directly to customers
    • Government Platform (FedRAMP) :$29
  • Max concurrent user: $48/VM/month, 5 VMs minimum
    • Based on the number of provisioned VMs
    • 3-60 month terms available
    • Purchase via Nutanix Reseller
    • Overages billed directly to customers
    • Government Platform (FedRAMP) :$58

Key Features:

  • Simple and easy deployment, virtual desktops and applications are ready in a matter of hours, not days
  • Access from any device with a browser, no need to download anything
  • No hidden costs, fully managed by Nutanix as a service
  • Supports a wide range of graphically-intensive apps
  • Native, in-session audio and video conferencing feature with Frame Remoting Protocol
  • Hybrid, deploy Frame on-premises or in GCP, Azure, or AWS

Key Benefits:

  • Versatile subscription terms, sign up for a 3-to-60 month prepaid subscription or a pay-as-you-go subscription
  • Integrates easily with popular identity providers, including ADFS, Azure AD, Okta, Ping, OneLogin, and Google.
  • Simple and intuitive, easy deployment and use
  • Auto-scaling and auto decommission according to your preferences

Our Review

Nutanix Frame is a great virtual desktop solution especially focused on simplicity. It’s very easy to create and deploy VMs with Nutanix Frame, and while it doesn’t offer any native apps and only supports Windows virtual desktops, Frame is still capable of providing an excellent experience.

Despite being focused on easy deployment and accessibility, Frame still supports high-performance and graphics-intensive applications. 

A great choice for businesses and individuals looking for speed and accessibility in their virtual desktop solutions.

Wrapping Up

Above, we’ve shared and reviewed seven virtual desktop solutions we feel are the best available in the market today.

Each of these solutions has its own unique features and benefits, so it’s quite difficult, if not impossible, to pick a one-size-fits-all solution for every business and individual. Instead, it’s important to first assess your needs (and budget) and choose the right solution accordingly.

We hope the information we’ve shared above can help you in choosing an ideal virtual desktop solution for yourself or your business and make the most of your investment.

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