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Two users can use the same computer at the same using multi-session technology like the Virtual Desktop Interface (VDI). It is a technology that allows your computers to access the information it needs from a virtual machine in a single server.
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The number of users per PC depends on the VDI package offer. You can find packages that start at a minimum of five users while some packages have a minimum of 25 users up to 1000 users. Here is the list of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) providers that offer the multi-session function.
Amazon Workspaces (AWS) currently has a promo that offers up to 54 users at no charge for new WorkSpaces customers. The great thing about this VDI is that users get their desktop. You can choose between Windows or Linux OS.
Amazon is known to offer highly flexible pricing plus hourly pricing, which allows you to pay what you use. However, it does not offer text and data transfer from local machine to VM.
Although it has limitations, it offers a 99.9% uptime service legal agreement. It is one of the features that other VDIs do not meet.
Citrix DaaS is a mobile-friendly VDI, perfect for the mobile workforce. It has BYOD support and the data is never stored on your device.
If you are nitpicky about a VDI with excellent centralized management, you won’t be disappointed with Citrix DaaS.
However, the two downsides of the VDI include no autoscaling and a requirement of a minimum of 25 users.
Windows Virtual Desktop is probably the most budget-friendly VDI in the market today. Even though its competitor Shells come with affordable pricing, you cannot beat it with Windows reputation.
Windows do not require minimum users or machines. You can customize the plan based on your needs and budget. The VDI supports Windows, Apple, and Android devices.
However, this VDI does not have an on-site option, you can only store on clouds and it has no Linux provisions.
Although it does not have an on-site option, it is top-rated when it comes to data security. It has snapshots, automatic failover to lessen the risk of data loss. It has had strong scheduled and encrypted backups.
VMware Horizon Cloud is a desktop virtualization service that you can buy in the Azure Marketplace and on IBM Cloud. But you can buy this as a standalone service.
VMware Horizon Cloud redefines the virtual and desktop experience by integrating VMware Cloud Foundation ideal for cloud and on-premises deployments.
It leverages SaaS services delivering an up-to-date infrastructure. It features modern management through Instant Clone Technology, VMware Dynamic Environment Manager, and VMware App Volumes.
It has other features such as SSO, MF authentication, virtualization for Skype Business, and Linux provisioning. The pricing depends on the payment plan you opt for, which includes contractual and pay as you go.
You can also pay based on Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise editions. It also has a pricing option that depends on user style.
However, the downside of this service is that users cannot upgrade or downgrade it and it brings your license (BYOL) only.
If you are looking for an affordable VDI, Shells is worth a try. It has four plans including Lite, Basic, Plus, and Pro. Every plan has free daily backups. It can cover up to 7-days.
The plan may include a quad-core virtual CPU with 160GB of storage and 8GB of RAM. It also comes with unlimited access and bandwidth. It is a multi-platform that you can use on almost any device including TV and gaming console.
Sharing one PC is not possible by default but using special technology. The great thing about technology is that it gives you different options to access a computer.
Some technology allows multiple people to stream a desktop where one PC user is in control while the other users are in the viewing mode.
But the technology that most companies use is the one that allows several users to access the same desktop at the same time but in a separate session.
Before I discuss the technology you need, let me explain the differences between multi-seat and multi-session to ensure we are on the same page.
Multi-seat allows you to connect your hardware to a single CPU using data cables. It allows the users to use the hardware independently. The popular software in the market in this niche is the ASTER by IBIK Company.
The software is perfect if you plan to open a small internet shop with many independent “seats.” Currently, it allows 12 monitors, 12 keyboards, and 12 mice to connect in one CPU.
On the other hand, a multi-session or multi-user session allows the users to connect in one application at the same time. You do not need data cables to connect the hardware to a single CPU. You can access the application remotely.
With the question above, what kind of technology should you use? It depends on your need. It can be a multi-seat or a multi-session. However, in this topic, I’ll dive into multi-session technology.
Single-user multi-session technology allows you to control a remote computer from another computer.
For instance, you left your laptop at home and you need to access your files, the technology allows you to access the files as if you are sitting in front of your laptop.
However, this type of technology gives control to one user while the remote computer is used for viewing.
Multi-user multi-session technology allows several users to access assigned sessions. Most companies use this type of technology especially for employees working from home. It gives ease to the collaboration for the team as they do not need to ask about the files they need. They have access to the files from the other PC using their PC.
Well, the server allows multiple users to access the data they need for their work. The server comes with a hypervisor that creates virtual servers. These virtual servers are installed with software that performs the multi-session function.
The software used in this type of setup is Desktop as a Service (DaaS).
Through DaaS, a virtual machine called golden image is created. The golden image stores the application and software you need for your computer.
When you create another virtual machine through DaaS, the golden image goes into another virtual machine.
The virtual machines communicate with the outside host. The outside host includes the computer or computers you use for your work. If several computers access one virtual machine, a session host environment is formed.
However, there are computers called power users. These computers use heavy data to perform the task. The common power user software includes AutoCAD, Photoshop, and video editing.
With this type of computer usage, it requires connecting with a dedicated hosted environment inside the server. The dedicated hosted environment is another virtual machine, but only power users can access it.
When a power user accesses the same virtual machine where a session host environment is connected, the power user’s system is going to lag or gets slower. However, the dedicated host is powerful but it is more expensive compared to other virtual machines.
If you want centralized access to all files you need in your company, using a multisession technology like VDI is a must. It may be expensive, but your IT team will be more organized when monitoring a centralized server.