What is Virtual Desktop Software? | Parallels Insights

Virtual desktop software is a solution built solely on desktop virtualization technology. It provides organizations or individuals a way to create and store multiple instances of user desktops on top of powerful computer hardware, residing in a data center or the cloud.

Virtual desktop software utilizes hypervisors, which provide a hardware abstraction layer on top of a computing server. Multiple virtual machines (VMs) can be created using the same computing resources that simulate desktop environments for users, which can store different operating systems, applications, personalized settings and user-specific data.

Users can remotely access and operate these virtual desktops from any endpoint device. The virtual desktop also promises low administration effort as it allows IT admins to control and monitor all the virtual desktops centrally. Given the rising need for maintaining a flexible workplace that can be accessed from any corner of the world, the increasing popularity of virtual desktops in organizations is not a surprise.

Challenges with Virtual Desktop Software

Leading virtual desktop software companies claim to offer a lot of great features. However, the picture is not always great when it comes to customer satisfaction and return on investment (ROI). First of all, most of these solutions come with a high cost and need supporting components. Running such a solution brings in budget and integration difficulties. Some solutions are so complex that customers need to hire experts to get things done.

Another pain point with the virtual desktop is licensing. Most of the time, multiple high-cost licenses for key features outweigh the upfront benefits for organizations.

Virtualization isn’t always straightforward to implement. The virtual desktop market space is highly competitive, with almost all vendors providing cutting-edge technologies and features. The challenge as a customer is to choose something that comes bundled with maximum capabilities and minimum worries for the future—at an affordable cost.

Types of Virtual Desktop Software

The different, available virtual desktop software options are:

Remote Hosted Desktops

Remote hosted desktops comprise a server that runs an image of an operating system or application. The client devices share and access the OS or applications using connection broker software. The client devices see the image of the application being shared and transmit the keyboard and mouse input back and forth.

Remote hosted desktops have lower costs and a higher degree of control, but their performance depends on the quality of the network connection.

Remote Virtual Applications

Remote virtual applications only require the browser and standard web protocols like HTTP, HTTPS, SSL, etc. to create secure connections. The end-user client device might process some application logic or graphics or simply light up the monitor and send clicks to the server.

Remote virtual applications do not require IT staff to control the hardware or software environment of the end-user, but this in fact could affect performance.

Remote Hosted Dedicated Virtual Desktops

Remote hosted dedicated virtual desktops comprise an entire virtual machine that hosts the operating system and the set of applications that is made accessible to one user instead of sharing it with multiple users. The virtual machine can either be hosted remotely or streamed.

Remote hosted dedicated virtual desktops are good for applications that do not run well in shared mode and can also isolate activities of users thus bettering security. However, they use far more bandwidth and hardware than remote hosted desktops.

Local Virtual Applications

Applications downloaded directly from the server to the client machine, and run on the clients, are local virtual applications. They use the local memory and processing power of local machines.

Local virtual applications use more computing resources and hence offer better performance. However, they give lesser control capabilities for IT staff.

Parallels RAS Improves Your Experience with Virtual Desktop Software

Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS) provides an all-in-one, easy-to-deploy virtual desktop software solution. It offers both application and desktop delivery under a single license and does not require any supporting components. Parallels RAS is a cost-effective solution with straightforward licensing, as opposed to many of its alternatives.

Parallels RAS allows users to create virtual desktop environments on top of any hypervisor, such as Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware ESXi or hyper-converged solutions such as Scale Computing HC3 and Nutanix.

Moreover, Parallels RAS supports various security features, including multifactor authentication (MFA), data encryption and access filtering.

Download your 30-day trial of Parallels RAS and see the benefits for yourself!