VDI and Cloud Storage Services: Differences and Similarities

February 15, 2019

If you want enterprise-level online file storage and sharing, VDI is your best bet. It comes with the added advantage of giving your workers a complete desktop with all the tools they need to do their work. The choice between self-hosting or cloud-hosting for your VDI platform depends on many variables

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is undoubtedly part of the next wave in business technology. It has the potential to transform how we work and boost productivity tremendously. While many companies have already adopted VDI, it is still new to some people. If you just started exploring VDI for your business, one question that may come to mind is 'what is the difference between VDI and cloud storage platforms?' This is an important question as knowing the similarities and differences between VDI and cloud storage platforms would allow you to appreciate the perks of desktop virtualization.

Before we go any further, it is crucial that we have a working definition of VDI. As you can probably guess from the words "virtual desktop infrastructure," VDI involves making a desktop (with all the associated computing power) available virtually to a select group of users who can access it from anywhere. On the other hand, cloud storage involves hosting files on a virtual hard drive, which you can also access from anywhere.With this basic understanding of how VDI platforms work, let's look at some basic differences between a file collaboration platform for VDI like FileCloud and a typical cloud storage platform like Dropbox.

Similarities between VDI and Cloud Storage Platforms

Storage and Synchronization: One fundamental similarity between VDI and cloud storage platforms is that they both allow you to store files virtually. Also, when these files are changed for any reason, the new version is synched to everyone that is connected.

Accessibility: Whether you are using a VDI or a cloud storage platform, you can access your files from anywhere and with just about any device provided you have an internet connection.

These are the most significant similarities between VDI and cloud storage. However, there are some others such as the ability to share files easily, back up your data and even retrieve accidentally deleted files.

Difference between VDI and Cloud Storage Platforms

Availability of Desktop Tools: The main difference between VDI and cloud storage platforms is the availability of your desktop tools. If a cloud storage platform is essentially a virtual hard drive, then VDI can be described as a virtual computer. With VDI, you have access to the same desktop that you have at your work computer - including the apps and processing power. This means you can work anywhere with the same security and access that you get when working at the office. You can run the same apps as well as liaise with your colleagues and clients easily.

Security: VDI is far more secure than cloud storage. While cloud storage platforms have security measures in place, the recent spate of hacking incidents proves that they are not 100 percent secure. However, with file collaboration platforms for VDI like FileCloud, protecting your data is the number one priority. FileCloud encrypts your data while in storage and in-transit. We also have other security measures in place including ransomware protection and two-factor authentication (2FA).

Control: The fact is that with VDI, you have considerably more control over your data than with cloud storage - especially if you choose to self-host. With self-hosting, your data never leaves your premises. Also, your staff would control the operation of your data center, and everything associated with it - the VDI software creates a virtual desktop that your workers can access from anywhere. This should not downplay the advantages of using cloud storage or cloud-hosting. However, the fact is large companies who do not want to cede even the slightest control over their data would feel more comfortable using a self-hosted VDI platform.

The Difference between a Self-Hosted and Cloud-Hosted VDI Platform

While VDI and cloud storage are very much different, they can sometimes overlap - to a certain extent. To understand this, we must differentiate between the two main ways of setting up a VDI platform.

Self-Hosted Server VDI: The first method involves creating a data center with a physical computer (which acts as a server) where you install the VDI software (hypervisor). With this method, your data is hosted on the computer in your data center which all remain on your premises. Self-hosting gives you complete control over your data and infrastructure. However, it may be a bit expensive for some small businesses. With self-hosting, you'll need to purchase a powerful computer to act as your server. Also, you'll need a good IT team to maintain the server, and upgrade it whenever it is necessary. While running a data center may seem like an easy task, it can be capital intensive. For example, if there is a power interruption at your data center, your server would go down. This means all your workers won't be able to access their virtual desktop until power is restored - this is the reason why most servers have backup power systems.

Cloud-Hosted Server VDI: Another way to get your VDI platform up and running is to integrate it with cloud storage and computing infrastructure. This is usually called Desktop as a service (DaaS). The only difference between a self-hosted and cloud-hosted VDI platform is that with the latter, your storage and computing infrastructure are all cloud-based. This is more suited to some companies as it takes away the burden of running your own data center. Cloud-hosted VDI platforms are a blend of cloud computing and VDI.

Now, you know the difference between cloud storage and VDI. You also know what a cloud-hosted VDI platform is. If you want enterprise-level online file storage and sharing, VDI is your best bet. It comes with the added advantage of giving your workers a complete desktop with all the tools they need to do their work. The choice between self-hosting or cloud-hosting for your VDI platform depends on many variables. Generally, small companies may want to go for a cloud-hosted file sharing VDI platform as it takes away the cost of having an in-house data center and an IT team. On the other hand, some medium and large companies may want to go for a self-hosted VDI platform as it keeps everything in-house. FileCloud allows you to either self-host or run your VDI on our server. We also give you the option of running our VDI software on a third-party cloud infrastructure.

By Team FileCloud