Desktop as a Service (DaaS) is the delivery of a virtual desktop (VDI) offered as a hosted service by a service provider. DaaS has the potential to radically change the way desktops are purchased and managed. However, as is typical with such emerging, disruptive technologies, there is a good deal of confusion about what is and isn’t possible with DaaS.
This blog exposes—and debunks—the top 11 DaaS myths, which range from supposed cost, user experience and security issues, to ease of use, licensing and integration limitations. It shows how, by consuming virtual desktops as a cloud-hosted service, businesses can deliver high performing desktops to users on any device in minutes, easing IT management burdens and reducing the total cost of desktop ownership.
Myth 1: You Can’t Do DaaS Under Microsoft Licensing
There has been a lot of noise recently about the difficulty or impossibility of offering DaaS to the market in a technically viable and cost-effective way given the challenges imposed by Microsoft licensing. Not only is it possible to offer DaaS successfully, but Evolve IP and other VMware Horizon™ DaaS® Powered service providers are also moving on this opportunity and organizations are consuming it.
For a full dedicated Windows 7 client desktop (VDI): Evolve IP runs dedicated servers for each customer and the end customer uses Microsoft VDA (virtual desktop access) licensing for the Windows desktops. If you already own Software Assurance on the end user device, it includes VDA and allows you to access the virtual desktop. The Evolved Office: Desktop multi-tenant DaaS platform can be leveraged for the management layer, reducing the costs of management, shared storage and networking.
For DaaS, the Windows Server OS is used as the desktop OS and can be licensed using SPLA (service provider license agreement). For most end users, the server OS operates exactly as Windows 7 does, and this use case is completely compliant with Microsoft licensing restrictions. The DaaS multi-tenant platform can provide the ability to partition a server and share it with multiple customers. This is done securely by providing separate datastores and VLANs per customer, allowing the service provider to achieve 100% fulfillment of compute resources.
Myth 2: Only Shared Session-Based Desktops Can Be Used for DaaS
Many believe that you can only use a shared desktop technology like terminal services to deliver DaaS. This is true when looking at traditional VDI technology. However, VDI technology with true multi-tenancy like Evolve IP’s DaaS, is capable of delivering full-featured desktops. A dedicated virtual desktop delivers a user experience that surpasses that of terminal services. This makes the DaaS user experience consistently strong regardless of how many people concurrently access their desktops. A dedicated desktop allows users to work with their desktop in the same manner they work with their traditional physical PC. They can customize it and install applications.
Even if shared desktop technologies could be rigged for DaaS, they wouldn’t necessarily be appropriate for all users for the simple reason that they do not allow local installations. Commonly used online services, such as WebEx, Skype and Dropbox, would be off-limits, rendering the solution ineffective.
Myth 3: DaaS is Too Expensive
While traditional virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) can be expensive, requiring a hefty upfront cash/CAPEX investment, DaaS offers an alternative approach. Traditional on-premise VDI requires purchasing and supporting new infrastructure, such as servers, networking and storage, whereas DaaS has no upfront capital expenditures and lower ongoing OpEx. That’s because rather than providing your own infrastructure, you’re utilizing the Evolve IP environment. And, since you only pay for the resources you need, not only are the costs associated with DaaS predictable, you benefit from the buying power of one of the nation’s largest service providers.
On an ongoing basis, DaaS is an affordable alternative for those daunted by the upfront investment required with on-premise VDI. Provisioning efforts and related expenses are dramatically lower because there are no physical machines to roll out; you simply click on Evolve IP’s DaaS portal to order and configure virtual desktops. Decommissioning is just as quick.
DaaS also minimizes time-consuming, expensive help-desk support. Repairing a desktop is as easy as refreshing it with a new virtual machine (VM). There is no downtime, no lost productivity because of users waiting for the desktop to be fixed, and no lost revenue.
Check out our TCO Calculator to find out the true total cost of going virtual.
Myth 4: DaaS Delivers Poor User Experience
Evolve IP’s DaaS user experience is as good, if not better than, a rich client experience, and significantly better than a shared terminal services based desktop.
DaaS enables rapid servicing of users who may be physically far away from the VDI datacenter. With DaaS, you can optimize performance by partnering with Evolve IP. That way you can take advantage of nationwide data centers where proximity to users and world-class infrastructure results in sub-20 millisecond latency. Evolve IP also allows you to choose best-fit protocols for task workers, graphics and video needs, and mix and match depending on the use case. DaaS is also delivered on world class Cisco UCS and EMC XtremIO infrastructure.
Myth 5: DaaS Security is Lacking
Some businesses are concerned that DaaS will put their data at risk. This is an unjustified fear. DaaS can be more secure than traditional PCs, where data resides locally and can easily be lost or stolen.
With DaaS, each employee’s data resides in Evolve IP’s cloud or in the corporate data center (see Myth #6) —not on the user’s device. Even if a user’s device is lost, the data is protected. A high level of security is ensured by maintaining your corporate security features and policies (i.e. with firewalls and Active-Directory controls). No longer do you have to worry about viruses from local desktops infecting the corporate network.
Myth 6: DaaS Won’t Work with Your Onsite IT Assets
Many believe that because their desktop is now in the cloud, they can’t access IT assets located onsite. The Evolve IP DaaS is designed to securely work with virtually any IT asset. This includes resources that are onsite at your organization or offsite at Evolve IP, such as shared storage, Active Directory and enterprise applications. Evolve IP can also integrate with other cloud services for an enhanced overall offering. Users will be able to use their cloud-hosted desktops exactly how they used their old physical PC.
Myth 7: DaaS Does Not Support Consumerization of IT
Not only is consumerization of IT supported, but DaaS also makes it much easier to implement and manage. DaaS is ideal for “bring your own device” (BYOD) approaches, since employees can get their Windows desktops on whatever hardware they choose, including iPads, Macbooks, Chromebooks, Android devices and more.
Evolve IP DaaS users can easily segregate work from personal life without having to carry two devices. IT wins with DaaS too. Inside the virtual desktop, you can ensure secure, policy-controlled access to the corporate network. Everything outside the corporate virtual desktop can be at the discretion of the users, who support their own personal device and software.
Myth 8: Migrating Users to DaaS is Hard
It’s actually a lot easier than you think, especially when you compare migrating DaaS users to replacing a PC or laptop. Users can customize their desktops to look and feel exactly as they’d like. They can also install their own applications and data. And, because Evolve IP DaaS desktops can connect to peripherals such as local and network printers and monitors, employees can use their desktops just as they have in the past. It’s simple, fast and requires little to no user training.
Myth 9: DaaS Requires Lots of Bandwidth
This is a misconception because people erroneously believe they will be downloading a ‘desktop’ every time they use DaaS. Average DSL is more than sufficient to accommodate DaaS.
When you connect to your Evolve IP DaaS desktop, the entire screen is initially painted. However, as you continue working, only the pixels that change are transmitted back to the endpoint. As a result, most of the bandwidth is downstream since changes to the screen are pushed from the virtual desktop to the endpoint. This matches up well with how bandwidth is provisioned, as download bandwidth is usually an order of magnitude greater than upload bandwidth.
Myth 10: The Disconnected Use Case is a Deal-Breaker
Cloud-hosted desktops, as well as traditional VDI, require the user’s device to be connected. However, this is not a big issue for businesses. In fact, Wi-Fi and 3G/4G has become so prevalent, we haven’t heard of any instances where this prevented an organization from adopting and reaping substantial benefits from cloud-hosted desktops.
The reality is that most users don’t need continual or even frequent disconnected access. Many people who need to be connected generally want it at ad-hoc times for email, and they can do that pretty easily with wireless and Wi-Fi, and devices like smartphones and iPads. The few users who do need continual connections can be provisioned with rich laptops.
Myth 11: Every user is not a perfect use case for VDI
In fact, many early adopters of VDI experienced issues with a small subset of their population – giving VDI a bad name. Highly graphic intensive users, strictly mobile workers, users of applications that require large amounts of local storage, or who are uploading large files – these users may not be ideal VDI use cases. But DaaS is not designed as an all-in proposition. DaaS is purpose-built to use and integrate with existing IT assets – allowing IT departments to pick the best desktop environment for each user – even if that environment is a full Windows PC. Evolve IP also delivers options for RMM (Remote Monitoring and Management) that enable IT departments to manage their physical AND virtual desktops from the same easy-to-use, point-and-click environment.
DaaS has rapidly gained momentum with businesses of all sizes because it delivers tremendous benefits without an extensive upfront investment. Although not intended to be the solution for every user in your organization, the fact that DaaS is so flexible, secure, manageable, inexpensive and high-performing, makes it ideal for the majority of workers.
We encourage you to explore cloud-hosted virtual desktops with DaaS. Evolve IP DaaS enables companies to deliver virtual workspaces to their end users—including full Windows Client desktops, shared desktops and applications—as a monthly subscription service. Evolve IP enables a risk-free, incremental evolution of the next generation workspace. It provides a complete virtual workspace from the cloud, delivering desktops and applications as an easily managed, integrated cloud service. Enterprises can rapidly provision desktops and applications to users on any device, anywhere. And virtual desktops are transformed from the CAPEX outlay inherent in enterprise onsite desktop virtualization and physical PC refreshes, into a predictable, easy to budget OPEX item.