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Last updated: Apr 15, 2024

Differences between VDI and HVD

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) vs. Hosted Virtual Desktop (HVD), which is better and best for your deployment? Well, these are two similar approaches for fostering remote workspaces – both setups allow companies to empower their remote staff (employees) with the necessary resources they could leverage to achieve seamless remote workflows.

Today’s workspace offers much more flexibility than ever; workers now get to deliver their full services without being physically present in the workspace article. This remote access is powered through virtual desktop applications. In this article, we will analyze the actual differences between these two remote desktop deployment methods and how you can choose the best fit for your business or organization.

What is VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure)

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, VDI, is an on-premises technology that allows remote access to virtual machines hosted on an on-premises central server. VDI also supports cloud hosting integration but is mostly deployed on local servers. Through VDI technology, companies can empower their staff to work remotely from anywhere they are.

Use Cases:

  • Remote Access: The major use case of VDI is to provide remote access to applications on a central server.
  • Program Visualization: Engineers and product designers may use VDI technology to simulate or emulate applications to end-users or for testing purposes.
  • Education and Learning Institutes: VDI is very useful in the educational sector, fostering remote learning and instant access to learning materials.


  • Cost Effectiveness: VDI is more cost-effective to set up than HVD. The cost and resources required are minimal; there’s no need for more work desk computers as employees can work with their PCs and even mobile devices.
  • Security: VDI offers better levels of security than running physical computers – since all data is sent and managed on a central computer.
  • Accessibility: Through VDI deployments, end-users and employers can easily access business apps and communicate effectively.


  • Scalability: Scaling VDI VMs is a bit stressful compared to cloud-hosted VMs – and it could face performance issues in high-demand data environments.
  • Requires Highly Skilled IT Experts: Launching and managing VDI deployments requires high technical expertise.

Latency: Resource-intensive programs may cause high latency on the server, making the virtual desktops run slowly.

What is HVD (Hosted Virtual Desktop)?

Hosted Virtual Desktops (HVDs) are similar to VDI deployments, but unlike VDI, HVD VMs are hosted individually over the cloud. An HVD is deployed using virtualization platforms from companies such as VMware and Microsoft – they are relatively cheap affordable to set up and maintain, and easily scalable too.

However, with HVD, your business data and applications are hosted and stored on the server provided by your IT service provider instead of a central local system. HVDs fill in the same space as VDI at a seemingly lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). This is the best option for companies practicing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).

Use Cases:

  • BYOD: HVD is the ideal virtualization technology for companies and businesses that support the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) method of employment.
  • Beta Tests: HVD VMs are used for beta testing of applications and programs, before taking them live.
  • Remote Employment: Similar to VDI, HVD also fosters remote employment, so employees can work from anywhere in the world.


  • Low TCO: HVD is much more affordable than VDI; everything is configured to run in the cloud, and as such, only very few hardware is required.
  • Swift Scaling: Scaling cloud-hosted VMs is much easier than VDI-deployed virtual machines. You can clone and export a HVD, but will have to manually configure VDI deployments.
  • Higher Uptime: With HVD, you’re sure to achieve higher uptime, thanks to the multiple performance and redundancy features offered by HVD service providers.


  • Highly Dependent on Internet Connectivity: All users of the VM must be connected to the Internet before they can access the deployed app or program.
  • DaaS Traffic Concern: HVD does not prioritize Desktop as a Service (DaaS) traffic while using on public internet, and this may affect performance.

Data Privacy Concerns: Also, since all data and traffic are managed by the IT company, you can’t be 100% sure about data privacy.


VDI and HVD are similar in many ways, but at the same time, they share quite many differences.


VDI is deployed locally in a physical centralized system, which processes all the traffic and data. On the other hand, HVD is deployed on the cloud and all its traffic is managed by the service provider. However, due to the cloud deployment of HVD, it offers much easier scaling and other functionality.

Deployment Flexibility

From all angles, is it easier to deploy and manage multiple HVD virtual machines than VDIs. You can launch multiple HVD VMs by simply cloning a master VM and it as a template for launching many other similar VMs.

Performance and User Experience

Generally, virtual machines facilitate swift performance and improved user experiences. However, the performance of VDI is limited to the specifications of the local central system and hardware connections attached. While, for HVDs, there is room to scale and improve the users' experience easily.

Security Features

Talking of security, VDI is stored within busy premises, which means the security of the data stored on the VDI rests on the uptight security provisions of the organization. Also, keeping up with the security of on-premises VDI deployments requires employing data experts to monitor the system.

On the other hand, cloud-based HVD is equipped with formidable online security and encryption protocols to ensure 100% data safety. Also, patches are released by the service provider to ensure bug fixes and smooth performance of the deployed virtual machines. There could be other security features depending on your HVD service provider.

How to recover VDI or HVD files if they are lost?

If you lost your virtual machine files, whether VDI or HVD, there are software tools that can help you recover those files. DiskInternals VMFS Recovery is a professional software tool for recovering lost VM files and it runs on all Windows OS systems. The software comes with an intuitive interface that anyone could easily understand and also integrates a Recovery Wizard to help users through the steps.

DiskInternals VMFS Recovery can access and read RAID arrays, as well as mount virtual disks as local drives accessible on File Explorer. Using this software tool, you will recover your lost VDI and HVD files for free – you only pay when you confirm that your lost files were successfully recovered.

Tip: learn more about VMware recovery!


VDI and HVD have many similarities and they serve the same purpose – but HVD offers more flexibility and easiness for scaling. Small businesses may prefer VDI, but enterprise businesses would always want HVD since HVD offers enterprise features. However, choosing between these two remote-access deployment technologies depends on your business needs and size.


  • What are the 2 types of VDI?

    VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) comes in two forms: persistent and non-persistent. Persistent VDI allows users to connect to the same desktop consistently. This setup enables users to customize their desktop according to their preferences, as modifications are retained even after they disconnect.

  • What is the use of HVD?

    An HVD (Hosted Virtual Desktop) implementation allows employees to securely access their work desktops—including all applications, data, and settings—from any location and on any device, as long as they have an internet connection. This approach removes the necessity of using VPNs to access business applications and resources remotely.

  • What is HVD in technology?

    A hosted virtual desktop (HVD) is a comprehensive, thick-client user interface that operates as a virtual machine (VM) on a server and can be accessed remotely.

  • What is the difference between VDI and VM?

    VDI and VM represent two different virtualization technologies with both similarities and distinctions. VDI allows users to access a virtual desktop hosted on a server within a data center. VMs, in contrast, enable the running of multiple operating systems on a single physical server by emulating virtual hardware.

  • VDI vs. Citrix

    VDI vs. Citrix

    1. What are they?

      • VDI: This is a technology that hosts desktop environments on a central server using virtual machines. It can be implemented using various vendors' technologies, including VMware and Microsoft.
      • Citrix: Citrix is a company that offers products for VDI solutions, among other things. Their flagship product, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, provides a comprehensive solution for application and desktop virtualization.
    2. How do they work?

      • VDI: Generally provides a virtual desktop instance to each user, which can be accessed from various devices. This setup can be either persistent, where each user's customization and data are saved between sessions, or non-persistent, where these are reset after each session.
      • Citrix: While it can facilitate traditional VDI, Citrix primarily enhances VDI with its own protocols and services for better performance and flexibility. It uses ICA/HDX technology, which optimizes network traffic to provide a better user experience over less-than-ideal network conditions.
    3. What are the main benefits?

      • VDI: Centralizes desktop management and enhances security by hosting all data and applications in the data center. It also simplifies compliance and software updates.
      • Citrix: Offers all the benefits of VDI but adds superior application delivery, network efficiency, and flexibility in accessing virtual applications and desktops from any device. Citrix also provides strong solutions for WAN optimization and support for a mobile workforce.
    4. What are typical use cases?

      • VDI: Suitable for organizations that need to provide standardized, secure, and isolated desktop environments for their users, especially in sectors like finance, healthcare, and government.
      • Citrix: Ideal for scenarios that require highly optimized and flexible application access across different device types and network conditions, such as in businesses with remote or international offices.

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