VDI vs VM: Differences and Similarities?

31West»Blog»Business»VDI vs VM: Differences and Similarities?
vdi vs vm differences and similarities

Our ears and hence our brains have been extremely exposed to the term “virtualization” these days. And it did not fail to infect IT industry.

The very thing gained traction in recent years because of the want and inevitable demand of the affordable, scalable, and secure IT infrastructures.

And as a business owner you might often want to get a grip on the brand new terms like VDI and VM that keep breeding (just like the super-fertile phishing attacks!).

To start with a hint, Virtual Machine (VM) is a file that behaves as a physical PC whereas Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is a robust technology used to create a virtualized environment.

By the end of this article you will know how to juxtapose and identify VM and VDI from one another, for your sake!

This article will take you through,

Difference Between VDI and VM

What is VDI?

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure or VDI is a whole canopy kind of technology the purpose of which is to create a virtualized environment.

It makes use of the hardware which is segmented into different virtual desktops.

And a special thing about these virtual desktops is that they are hosted on a central server.

This centralized system has proven to be more beneficial as it comes with the promise of quicker rollouts, simpler maintenance and reduced support needs.

So technically speaking, Virtual machines or VMs are a part of the grand canopy of technology that makes VDI.

On top of that, just like the centralized server you get the centralized security which evidently shields you from the higher threats like Phishing attacks!

What are VMs?

VMs or Virtual Machines are files (which can be considered as software machines) created when computing resources are segmented into multiple virtual desktops.

Here’s a catch, these virtual desktops are compartmentalized through a hypervisor.

And to be more elaborate from a different POV, VMs are a virtualized computing environment functioning (or behaving) as a traditional physical computer with its own CPU, memory, storage, and network interface.

The behaviour is all that matters, see.

P.S Remember, running a virtual desktop is just one of the many applications of Virtual Machines.

What are the Types of VDI?

1. Persistent VDI

There’s nothing to feel bored, the title defines the thing.

Persistent VDI allows the data and settings remain saved i.e. the data remain persistent even when the users log out of the virtual desktops.

Hence, it will benefit you if you don’t require to change the settings every day.

The slight hitch here is that it will require a considerably huge storage capacity which might demand you to break the bank!

2. Non - Persistent VDI

You can go with this type of VDI if you have a huge workforce and your employees use the systems in shifts.

Non – persistent VDI makes the data and settings restored to defaults. So, each time a user logs in they will see the default settings.

So logically, non – persistent VDI is less expensive as it doesn’t require much storage space. It will do great with what you already got.

What are the Types of VMs?

1. Process Virtual Machines

Also known as Application Virtual Machines, Process VMs allow a single process or application to run independently of the host computer.

To be more precise, developers need not disturb the host computer to test and compile their codes, instead they can look for simulators (like a Java Virtual Machine) for faster insights.

These can also be built immune to all sorts of risky phishing attacks.

2. System Virtual Machines

System Virtual Machine can be called as the technological spawn of the entire computer system.

To throw some light on how it works, by dividing the host computer’s hardware resources, you can create multiple guest computers.

By installing the hypervisor and creating multiple VMs, you can divide the hardware.

These VMs can run a completely different operating system known as guest OS.

These guest operating systems are completely isolated, and your work on the guest OS has no effect on the host OS.

How is VDI Created?

VDI is more like an umbrella term for its broader scope and it has almost become a cliché as it can be seen being used very often within the field of virtualization.

VDI can be built in an on premise environment or a cloud hosted environment, this makes the two types of VDI based on the environment.

As already mentioned these are built with a bulwark protection in mind and so you are spared from worrying about the perilous phishing attacks.

1. On-Premise VDI

In this VDI, virtual desktops are created from on premise data centers.

Hence, you may need bulky hardware and physical computers- capable of enormous storage capacities- to set this up in the office.

Here comes the real catch, you and your IT team will have to manage all the IT infra in the office.

2. Cloud VDI

In cloud VDI, virtual desktops are created by a third-party VDI provider on their cloud servers.

The perks of these type of VDI is that the provider manages the creation and deployment of the virtual desktops, so your workforce and IT team can save some time!

But it is comparatively expensive and you always can count on help desk providers to make things easy as well as cost effective for you.

How are VMs Created?

As we already mentioned, VMs are created by installing the hypervisor in the host computers. And hypervisors are of two types.

Namely, Type 1 and Type 2 hypervisors.

Type 1 Hypervisor

Here, the hypervisor software like VMware vSphere / ESXi or Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V is installed directly to the host computer’s hardware.

Also known as bare-metal, Type 1 hypervisor is created straight out of the host computer’s hardware.

You can install this hypervisor on computers having any CPU, RAM, or storage configurations to boot.

Type 2 Hypervisor

You can install Type-2 hypervisor on an OS like Windows or macOS, also called Host OS.

This Host OS allows you to create multiple guest OS in order to distribute the data.

And then the guest OS gets the authorization to use the system resources in a shared manner from the Host OS.

A bit paradoxical, eh?


  • VDI is a desktop virtualization solution that creates a virtual desktop on any endpoint.
  • Provides teleworking capabilities
  • There are two types of VDI environments: Persistent and Non-persistent VDIs
  • VDI is a desktop virtualization technique where you leverage VMs to provision and manage applications and virtual desktops.
  • VDI is hosted on a virtual machine and allows users to access it anywhere, even on a low-spec device.
  • BYOD strategy is possible
  • Centralized security to prevent Phishing attacks
  • VDI can be hosted either on premise or on cloud servers.
  • A Virtual machine is software that creates a virtual desktop environment for the user.
  • Preferable for on-site jobs
  • The two types of VM are: Process and system VMs.
  • A virtual machine is a file behaving as though it is a physical computer which has its own CPU, memory, storage, and network interface.
  • VM functions as a physical computer, runs operating systems, stores data, and does other computing functions.
  • BYOD is not preferable
  • No centralized security guaranteed
  • VM is created with the help of virtual resources from the physical computer

In a nutshell,

VDI is a technology that comprises or leverages virtual machines (VMs) that the end-users can access remotely.

Both VDI and VM have got their assets and liabilities.

You should know how to pick the right one with your company’s scale in mind.

In the end, everything boils down to you finding out which exactly makes the cut.

Prosit !

cyber security it security and data security a complete guide

Cyber Security, IT Security, And Data Security: A Complete Guide

biggest cyber attacks how much did it cost companies

5 Biggest Cyber-Attacks & How Much Did It Cost Companies?