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Hosted VDI or virtual desktops for individuals: Any suggestions?

I’m still hunting for a virtual desktop solution for me, personally.

I really would like an instance of Windows sitting in the cloud that I can access whenever I want. I’d ideally like it to include Microsoft Office and I plan on sticking DropBox, Box, Evernote and a whole load of other systems on it. Oh, probably LogMeIn as well, so I can easily access it from anywhere without having to have an RDP (“remote desktop”) client installed.

I’ve been looking at this area for sometime. Back in December I posted about Desktop as a Service (“DaaS”) and then followed up in January asking for more suggestions. I’ve tested out Desktone and CyberLink ASP. Both are excellent. Both aren’t really geared to sell to an individual or a small SME (say 3-4 users).

Do you think there will come a time when we’ll see desktop as a service delivered for individuals?

Or will it be quicker to simply buy a dedicated server and configure it myself?

That’s what I’ve done so far. Yesterday, I ‘spun’ up a cloud server on my Rackspace account running Windows Server 2008. It was live in about 10 minutes. I logged in via RDP and installed everything I needed. It’s brilliant. Only it’s £0.16 per hour, plus bandwidth. That’s £3.84 per day or £115.20 per month. Not too bad but you need to allow a few pounds for bandwidth as well. That compares to a configuration I searched from Serverbeach (1x Xeon 2.66 Ghz Quad-Core server, 250gb hard disk, Windows 2008 Server, 2TB bandwidth, physically located in Portsmouth UK, only £136/month).

Is the sad reality that I’m better of doing it all myself with the likes of ServerBeach (or Rackspace Cloud as I am at the moment)? 1and1 will give me a Windows 2008 Business server with 2GB of RAM, 250GB hard disk and Dual Core AMD for £48.99/month. That’s cheap!

There are some promising movements in the market. Nivio is looking smart. I’ve had an initial play with that. CloudOn is absolutely brilliant when you want to edit an Office document on your iPad using Excel/Word/PowerPoint.

As a geek, I want just a little bit more though.

I think at the moment I should probably just buy a dedicated server!

What do you reckon?


  1. I’m looking for the same – the only thing I didn’t like about cloudon was that it seemed to always save my docs back to dropbox – even though I hadn’t changed anything… so messing with the timestamps for no reason.

  2. Ewan,

    I have to recommend Leostream Cloud Desktops. The offer fully-functional Windows 2008 virtual desktops for $20 a month, which is by far the most competitive price point I have found. The desktops come very “bare bones” but allow the option to upload any applications you need, and access them from any device (iOS, Andriod, RIM, there are apps for all of them).

    They offer a 7 day free trial at if you’d like to try them out.

  3. Limy Dedicated Servers are the ultimate hosting solution that the ever-changing online industry can offer at the moment. With total authority over your own server and its excellent response time, your site will grow together with your business and you will keep your customers highly satisfied. You do not have to worry about sharing your resources – you get an entire server with all the space and bandwidth at your disposal.

  4. If you have an old PC or windows laptop, you should look at
    I originally loaded their streamer on my parents windows PC so that i could help them with troubleshooting without having to go to their home. I do have a work issued windows laptop that i run the Splashtop streaming app on in my home office through my wireless network. I can access that laptop from my MAC or iPad through an app in the app store and i believe the cost is $16.00 (US) annually. Video works pretty good, but i mainly use it for some proprietary windows apps that are not supported on a MAC…also excel…MAC for Excel has a lot of room for improvement over the windows version…of course that could also be end user (me) limitations.

  5. The cost savings for virtual desktops come back primarily from saving time for end-users and directors. And time is cash. Using a virtual desktop hosting supplier such a CloudDesktopOnline


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