Organizations that implement on-premises virtual desktop infrastructure often turn to major vendors such as VMware, Citrix or Microsoft, but the market offers a number of alternatives.
Let's look at three VDI alternatives: flexVDI, Parallels Remote Application Server and Systancia AppliDis Fusion. However, there are other platforms available as well, such as Ericom Connect or NComputing VERDE VDI. Although these platforms might not be as feature-rich, they are affordable options to consider compared to market leaders.
FlexVDI is a full-stack VDI platform built on open source technologies such as Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor, Quick Emulator (QEMU) and Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environments. FlexVDI virtualizes Linux, Windows desktop, and Windows Server operating systems, as well as Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. The platform also provides clients for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS and Android devices.
The KVM and QEMU components are optimized for VDI workloads. FlexVDI's WebPortal supports desktop access through a client browser, and Guest Tools optimizes performance and implements features such as print and clipboard sharing. Because flexVDI is built on open source, the code is available on GitHub.
FlexVDI is available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 or CentOS 7, either on premises or in a cloud-hosted environment. The platform offers a centralized dashboard to manage the infrastructure, making it fairly straightforward to set up. FlexVDI also integrates with Active Directory and other directory services based on the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol.
FlexVDI doesn't provide features commonly available in other VDI alternatives, such as support for snapshots, virtual applications or session-based virtual desktops, like Microsoft's Remote Desktop Services (RDS). On the other hand, flexVDI provides a more affordable VDI option for organizations that need basic VDI functionality.
Parallels Remote Application Server
Parallels Remote Application Server (RAS) rose through the ranks in recent years to become a serious contender in the VDI market. One standout feature compared to other VDI alternatives is its ability to support any hypervisor including KVM, Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware ESXi, Nutanix Acropolis and Citrix Hypervisor. The platform can even run multiple hypervisors within the same deployment. Additionally, Parallels RAS offers both desktop and application virtualization and RDS session-based desktops.
Parallels RAS supports a wide range of client devices, including Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Chrome OS and Raspberry Pi. Some customers report that remote connections can freeze up after a period of inactivity or if a device goes to sleep. Parallels RAS is noted for providing end users with a seamless experience. For example, users can interact with virtualized apps much like locally installed apps. Users can open local files, save files locally and drag-and-drop files in and out of the virtual app.
Parallels RAS is deployable on premises, in the cloud or in a hybrid environment. The platform integrates with Active Directory or local Windows security. The platform also includes pretested templates and configuration wizards that simplify management and load balancing capabilities to support larger deployments. Parallels RAS provides Turbo.net integration to implement containerized applications and their dependencies in isolated virtual environments.
Parallel RAS's licensing plan is straightforward and less expensive than lead vendors. The platform comes with a flexible and scalable architecture with 24/7 support.
Systancia AppliDis Fusion
Like Parallels RAS, Systancia's AppliDis Fusion supports both desktop and application virtualization. AppliDis Fusion runs on Windows Server 2003 through 2016 and works on Windows, Linux, UNIX, macOS, iOS or Android devices. The platform supports up to 40,000 users per server farm and offers intelligent load balancing based on factors such as usage and the number of open sessions. AppliDis Fusion also includes session roaming to help free up mobile end users from their workstations.
The platform includes AppliDis Booster, which incorporates machine learning and predictive analytics to ensure that users have immediate application access and administrators can monitor those applications. The platform also offers BoxOnAir, a unique system for enabling users to access workspace applications through HTML5 browsers on their mobile devices.
Systancia provides an HTML5 web console to centrally manage the infrastructure and the AppliDis Toolbox, which helps simplify management and solves deployment issues. AppliDis Fusion also includes the AppliDis Provisioning Server to easily deploy and maintain application servers.
AppliDis Fusion is currently at version five, with version six coming sometime this year. Organizations that want to check out AppliDis Fusion can request a live demo or 30-day free trial.