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Which is best for me?
VDI versus RDS

Today, desktop virtualisation has become an inevitable option for businesses to optimize resources, provide mobility solutions, and deliver a higher level of performance. For desktop virtualisation, companies can choose either a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) or a remote desktop service (RDS).   While both these technologies have their own strengths and weaknesses, they have a specific purpose to deliver and businesses need to choose the right solution for their desktop virtualisation requirements based on their present and future business needs.

An Overview of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is a process of running user desktops inside virtual machines that are hosted on data center servers. In a VDI environment, each user is allotted a dedicated virtual machine that runs a separate operating system. This flexibility provides an isolated environment for the user. As each user enjoys a dedicated Virtual Machine with an operating system, they can install or uninstall applications with full or partial administration rights within the VM. A connection broker is used to manage these VMs. VDI is particularly useful when businesses have to deal with critical and confidential data.

An Overview of Remote Desktop Service (RDS)

Remote Desktop Service (RDS), a proprietary protocol of Microsoft, allows users to connect remotely to a network with a graphic user interface. While the RDS client is installed on the user system, the RDS server software is installed on the server, and a remote connection is established with one or more terminal servers. While users in the RDS network connect to the server using a VM, this VM is shared with other users and operates on the same server operating system (OS) for all users.

The below is a very good short video produced by Adar IT.   Some of the comments regarding video performance differences between RDS and VDI were true of older systems but the differences between todays software is much closer and in some instances, virtually undetectable.   It is a great video which will give you a good understanding of the underlying differences between the 2 technologies.   Please note that the video states that RDS NEEDS a local PC to function, this may have been the case many years ago but not today, RDS and VDI have the same accessibility capabilities.

VDI versys RDS video


VDI combines some of the best aspects of the PC and terminal services. As users connect to their personalised desktop environments, a rich user experience is provided. While VDI provides a seamless delivery of desktop and applications, the fact that each user gets a separate VM creates complexity for the IT staff, wherein it has to manage multiple instances of the OS, updating and patching them. At the same time, virtualisation software needs to be managed as well. The cost and complexity of the VDI environment is a concern.

On the other hand, RDS sessions involve multiple users using the same VM and server OS. As there are not many windows instances involved, managing and updating the software is easy. Moreover, less CPU and memory resources are utilized, which facilitates having more users per system. By deploying a cluster of terminal farms, organisations can provide a high availability of services. Based on the number of remote users, VMs can be created and disposed of as well. However, RDS services do not provide complete administrative rights as resources have to be shared between multiple users.

VDI and RDS offer more or less the same virtualisation solutions but are designed to serve different business scenarios. In fact, VDI is a part of RDS networks. As both RDS and VDI uses Microsoft protocols, the performance levels can be almost the same. Any third-party software configuration (such as VMware Horizon View) would make a difference, though. However, when it comes to user-centralized environment, RDS networks are cheaper and less complex in nature. As it involves the same management and mechanism, RDS gains a slight edge over VDI. Again, you need to consider the business requirements before choosing the right solution.



When is RDS most appropriate?

When is VDI most appropriate?


We hope the above has given you a good understanding of the 2 main technologies and the differences between them and as always, there is no clear winner as to which one is better or more appropriate, this needs to be decided for each specific use case.


Can we mix-n-match between technologies in a single platform?

Yes, we can, and in some instances, it actually makes a lot of sense to mix-n-match both RDS and VDI into a single solution.   By mixing the solutions, your users will get the most appropriate and optimised deployment for their needs while the business enjoys an optimised price structure, effectively the best of both worlds in a single deployment.

If you have any questions or queries regarding how your requirements can best be met, please do not hesitate to contact us.


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