As firms advance towards a more modern infrastructure, the Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) model is becoming an increasingly popular cloud-based system. Desktop-as-a-Service is a multi-tenant, cloud computing solution in which a service provider furnishes a virtual desktop to an end-user over the internet. A provider typically manages the infrastructure, including the security updates, available desktop applications, data storage, and backups. In specific instances, DaaS users manage these services individually. According to Gartner via Workspot:
DaaS has been successful for small organizations and is now being adopted by midsize and large enterprise organizations, primarily for disaster recovery, and elastic and temporary use cases. DaaS offerings can vary significantly in scope of service, ease of adoption and cost, and will become more viable as organizations move more workloads and applications to the cloud… By 2023, price reductions and product maturity will lead organizations to move 20% of VDI users into DaaS offerings in the cloud.Gartner, Inc. “Market Guide for Desktop-as-a-Service” by Nathan Hill, Michael Silver, Nov. 6, 2019
Typically, there are two models of DaaS desktops available, persistent and non-persistent:
- In a persistent desktop setting, users can customize and save a desktop configuration, so it carries over the previous settings the next time they log in.
- In a non-persistent desktop setup, desktop settings are not saved when the user logs out. It is merely a way to utilize a shared cloud service.
Perspective DaaS Growth
More recent trends indicate that this service will continue to grow and expand as many businesses recognize the opportunity and development of remote work as a viable option. In the latest trending expectations, Gartner again stated:
Organizations have long been interested in adopting virtual desktop infrastructure, but complexity and capital investment have made implementations difficult. COVID-19 highlighted the value and business continuity strength of DaaS in its ability to enable remote work where on-premises options have stalled rapidly. The pandemic is likely to accelerate adoption of DaaS, and it may even perpetuate as a delivery architecture when employees return to the office."6 Trends on the Gartner Hype Cycle for the Digital Workplace, 2020" by Meghan Rimol, August 24, 2020
The continuing forecasted prediction of incorporating DaaS into the modern work culture only suggests and contributes to the expected emergence of the expanding role this technology will experience. Furthermore, its acceptance as an alternative means of collaboration denotes this mechanism’s significance for expanding opportunities it affords to businesses.
Benefits of DaaS
- Cost Savings - There are no upfront costs associated with deploying a DaaS as a service provider builds those costs into the pricing structure. Price is based on actual usage. This, coupled with the decreased need for licensing fees, diminished hardware costs, and other related maintenance expenditures, can reduce a company's overall expense structure.
- Better Flexibility - Desktops can be deployed and accessed from anywhere, allowing remote workers more freedom.
- Scalability - As your workforce grows, additional desktops can be expanded or reduced as needed. This provides greater infrastructure versatility.
- Speed - Desktops can be delivered on-demand, reducing the time needed for employees to become productive. Included with this is the advantage of similar technologies being easily replicated across a large computing surface.
- Improved Standards - A default configuration can be implemented for different groups, allowing each group to enjoy applications and settings unique to their role.
- Enhanced Security - Improved security standards can be incorporated and enforced across all remote desktops. This increases the protection and security afforded to each user as well as the data. Should a workstation become compromised, a remote desktop instance can be immediately destroyed and a new instance created with improved protections in place. Lastly, managed providers can deploy security updates and patches across an entire swath of systems remotely.
A managed cloud service provides the essential infrastructure for DaaS. This includes cloud-based storage, maintenance, security updates, and network resources. Purchasers then utilize a subscription model to select the number of virtual desktops they need. The service then provides the connection information and login details to the user. The vendor later transmits a virtual desktop chosen by the buyer to the end user’s computer over the internet. This allows the user to access the stored data and configured applications, generally via a web browser. Should the load of a user’s virtual desktop exceed the amount of resources available, the instance is moved to a larger platform from which additional assets are available.
What is a VDI?
Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is generally characterized as hosting a desktop environment from an internal server. It’s a type of virtualization where the desktop runs within a virtual machine (VM). A hypervisor is used to divide virtual machine instances that run a virtual desktop. The host server processes the data when users connect to their desktop instance. A software-based gateway acts as the intermediary between the user and the server. The desktop is then delivered to an end-user over this connection.
DaaS vs VDI
DaaS provides many of the same features of a VDI with the added advantage that it supports remote work. The DaaS infrastructure is cloud-based which means that companies do not need to build and manage the service’s infrastructure. Most providers also supply backup options, so the users experience no downtime or data loss. Additionally, a well-configured system negates disaster recovery issues since data is stored remotely. A DaaS also reduces and equalizes the monthly total cost of ownership over local deployments.
A VDI provides similar services but requires a company to build, deploy, configure, and maintain an infrastructure that supports this model. A VDI is typically hosted on-premises by an organization that deploys virtual desktops from its servers or data centers. An onsite IT department is responsible for configuring and deploying the virtual desktops and purchasing, managing, securing, and upgrading the architecture.
As we have seen, the Desktop-as-a-Service model of virtualization offers substantial business transformation opportunities. The net gain in popularity and acceptance, including the enhancement of significant cost savings, will only galvanize and accelerate its receptiveness to companies looking to expand their relevance in today’s workforce.
Employees’ compelling drive to improve their overall work/life balance will continue to be a driving force for this methodology. Savvy corporate executives should hasten to heed this call, which benefits all participants involved. Those who fail to entertain and recognize its relevance may well find themselves losing worthwhile candidates who choose to contract with those firms that have a keen eye on the future of remote work.
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