App Streaming vs. Virtual Desktops: Which One To Choose

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a lot of complications for the corporate world. Where work-from-home was considered a convenience in the past, it has now become a necessity to keep businesses afloat. However, migrating the entire workforce to remote working is easier said than done.

App Streaming vs. Virtual Desktops: Which One To Choose

The main objective for CIOs is to find the right remote working solution that can ensure business continuity with optimum productivity levels. Although there are various solutions available in the market, it depends on how much you can spend and what you want? For instance, some small business operations require only stand-alone apps to accomplish daily tasks, while others require a complete desktop setup to function.

Depending on your requirements, there are two major solutions that you can choose from – app streaming and virtual desktops. Desktop virtualization and app virtualization are both booming sectors with an upward growth forecast.

These solutions are available as services by third-party providers. You can opt for these services to eliminate capital expenses and reduce on-premise IT hassles.

Let’s see the basics of app streaming and virtual desktops to help you choose the best solution for your business.


App Streaming – App Streaming is the process of delivering virtualized apps on end-point devices from a remote server setup. The desired apps are virtualized on a server located on-premise or a remote data center.

Virtual Desktops – Virtual Desktops are VDI-based desktops with a unique set of configuration and Operating Systems. These desktops are virtual machines with dedicated resources, applications, and user settings.


App Streaming – In the conventional office scenario, if multiple employees work on the same applications, the applications need to be installed on each desktop/laptop. The applications are bound by the OS. However, with app virtualization, virtual images of the applications can be published on a server. It separates the application from the underlying OS to enable efficient application delivery.

App Streaming facilitates the deliverance of these applications on end-point devices. All applications comprise multiple blocks of code. A small part of the code is installed on the end-point devices, with the rest of the code streamed through Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP).

The user needs to install client software on his or her personal device to work on the virtual apps. The OS of the end-point device does not matter as the apps are streamed to the device not installed.

Virtual Desktops – Virtual desktops are desktops created on a server or the cloud environment with VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) technology. These desktops can be provisioned and managed easily with a management portal. You can also change the configuration of desktops as required.


App Streaming – Applications streaming is a more cost-effective option for businesses that require only a limited number of applications. Every employee needs to be provided with dedicated desktops, even for one application in the conventional scenario.

In application streaming, since only apps are streamed on your devices, you can ask for a single app from the provider and get charged accordingly.

Virtual Desktops – As a virtual desktop offers you a complete workspace solution, its costs are a bit on the higher side when compared to app streaming. However, virtual desktops eliminate the capital costs of deploying an on-premise IT setup by replacing the office desktops.

Moreover, the providers offer you pay-as-you-use pricing plans, where you get charged only for the resources you use.

Personalized Experience

App Streaming – App streaming offers you only the applications that you require to carry out your daily activities. It does not offer users a personalized experience as the users are working on the same application.

Virtual Desktops Virtual desktops offer users a personalized experience. The virtual desktops can be persistent or non-persistent. Where the non-persistent ones refresh every time you log off, the persistent desktop saves the user settings just like your office desktops.

The users can personalize the persistent desktops with their own preferences and applications.

Industry Types

App Streaming – App streaming can be used by businesses that require only one or two applications for employees. For instance, a contact center that requires only a standalone app to call clients or a healthcare facility that uses a customer management application. A call center QA (quality assurance) system can ensure that customer interactions through the standalone app meet service standards and compliance requirements.

Virtual Desktops – Virtual desktop is a complete desktop solution that enables you to install any application without any performance issues. It is suitable for businesses with diverse app requirements, such as CRM, HRMS, Office suite, and more.

Which One to Choose?

App streaming and virtual desktops are amongst the most popular remote working solutions. Where one offers you stand-alone applications, the other offers a dedicated desktop environment. It is recommended that you analyze the current business requirements carefully before choosing them. You can also go for a hybrid model, where you choose app streaming for departments that need only a couple of apps and virtual desktops for others.

Want to try our virtualization solutions for free? Call our Solutions Consultant at +1-855-223-4887 now. 

About Julie Watson

Julie is a dynamic professional with over 16 years of rich experience as a VDI and Application Hosting expert. At Ace Cloud Hosting, she humanizes disruptive and emerging remote working trends to help leaders discover new and better possibilities for digital transformation and innovation by using cloud solutions with an enterprise-class security approach. Beyond work, Julie is a passionate surfer.
On the weekend, you will find her hanging out with her family or surfing around the North Shore of Oahu.

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