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What are the open source remote display protocol options?

Fluctuating VDI costs can catch any organization by surprise. Consider open source remote display protocols to keep the price tag low and user experience high.

Poor user experience and cost are two factors that can derail any VDI project. An open source remote display protocol...

can lower expenses and keep users happy.

In fact, there are several open source remote display protocol options out there, including Spice and Chrome Remote Desktop. Each open source remote display protocol works a little differently and is compatible with particular OSes and endpoints. So, it's important to understand the differences.

Who are the open source players?

IT pros are likely familiar with Microsoft RemoteFX, Teradici PCoIP and Citrix HDX, but open source technologies such as RealVNC are a bit more obscure.

Spice is an open source remote display protocol developed by Qumranet, which Red Hat acquired in 2007. Spice is available in oVirt and QEMU distributions and gives IT the ability to use HTML5, making Spice endpoint-agnostic. Spice is limited to Linux-based desktops, however.


Step-by-step procedure for installing RemoteFX

Apache Guacamole is another open source HTML5 client that supports the virtual network computing protocol, remote desktop protocol and Secure Socket Shell. If IT installs Guacamole on a Linux server, it can access both Windows and Linux machines.

NoMachine is a free remote display protocol IT can install on devices running Windows, Apple macOS and Linux to provide access to virtual desktops from almost any device. The implementation is as simple as installing the client on the endpoint and the server. A rudimentary client interface caches recent connections.

With the rise of HTML5, access couldn't be easier.

RealVNC comes in three editions. Open Edition is the free basic option. Personal Edition, which is for home use, adds features such as encryption and remote printing. Finally, Enterprise Edition is the business version and has a Windows deployment tool. All editions are available for devices running Windows, Linux and macOS.

Myrtille is similar to Apache Guacamole, but it is limited to devices running Windows only.

Chrome Remote Desktop is a client that integrates directly into the Google Chrome browser. It provides access to Linux, Mac and Windows from any device that supports the Chrome browser with minimal effort.

Is it time to call the bullpen?

There are plenty of open source remote display protocol offerings, and with the rise of HTML5, access couldn't be easier. That being said, all these products use point-to-point direct access -- where there is no interaction with brokering software -- which is technically not true VDI. Open source remote display protocols definitely have a business niche, but not as a replacement for enterprise-level VDI just yet.

Next Steps

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This was last published in October 2017

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Would you move to an open source protocol option? Why or why not?
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