vdi vs saas

Virtual Desktop Solutions in the age of SaaS

All three major cloud providers provide virtual desktop solutions, but is a virtual desktop right for you, and how does it compare to a software service?

Everybody is familiar with Microsoft’s Office 365 and G Suite, and Amazon also provides cloud document solution through its  Workspaces, however accessible as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

The primary difference a VDI offer comes down to the distinction between SaaS (Software as a service) and PaaS (Platform as a service), namely the ability to have full control over a piece of compute power and install additional applications, not just the managed apps offered with the Saas suite.

Difference between Saas and VDI

The advantages that a virtual desktop offer can be summarize as:

  • Remote access.
  • Mobile accessibility
  • Removes infrastructure cost.

So if you necessarily need to emulate the experience of traditional desktop, with ability to install third party software applications and customize specific configurations, a VDI, might be what you need.

However, if you just look for the traditional e-mail, document and data management, then either Office or G Suite can be sufficient for an organization.

For developers interested in customizing their own environments for collaboration and seamless integration, a VDI can be ideal, since it offers the ideal playground environment. A company running a customized application can also benefit, since it removes the hurdles of managing an additional workstation.

Although, when it comes to Windows 10, Microsoft is challenging the VDI space, with it’s Modern Desktop Management framework, which promises to emulate any Windows machine in the cloud, using, AutoPilot, content delivery networks for distributing software, and more.