"Fastest remote desktop I have ever used.” – G2.com g2 vdi evolve ip_2022

Comparison Guide for Desktop as a Service Alternatives

DaaS vs In-house VDI vs. On-Premises VDI vs. PC

Defining DaaS

Desktop as a Service (DaaS) is a cloud-based virtual desktop provided by a public or private service network. It allows end-users/employees to access remote display desktops and applications, ensuring secure data connections. 

Like cloud computing, DaaS is rapidly evolving. Investment in DaaS solutions is on the rise as organizations prioritize security and flexibility in remote work environments. 

DaaS encompasses three market offerings which will be explored in this guide:

  • Self-assembled DaaS a.k.a On-Premises Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
  • Vendor-assembled DaaS a.k.a On-Premises and Cloud-based VDI
  • Vendor-managed DaaS a.k.a No-touch DaaS

Primary differences in these DaaS segments come down to infrastructure complexity, management, and client needs.

DaaS is a reliable, advanced solution for organizations that want to step away from PC-rooted data but lack the knowledge, resources, or infrastructure to host in-house or on-premises VDI.

About Evolve IP

Evolve IP is a DaaS provider and IT service that helps your organization streamline its technology infrastructure to empower a secure, flexible, and scalable workforce.

We’re the only DaaS solution that integrates communication tools (UCaaS and CCaaS) into a single, centralized cloud-based platform that simplifies IT management and enables employees to work securely anywhere, on any device.

Market Definitions

Before comparing DaaS options and alternatives, let’s define the following market terms.


Using physical PC desktops is the most common DaaS alternative. It’s easy and familiar but it comes with complications, inconveniences, and risks. PC storage might be ideal for personal laptops, but for larger organizations, this storage method is increasingly limiting.

Show-stoppers: Inefficient, inflexible, location-dependent, data-loss and security risks.


 Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) provide encrypted, remote internet access and storage. It’s sometimes used successfully for smaller organizations but can pose challenges, risks, and delays amidst large demand.

While VPNs are popular for securing data in transit, control access, and encryption are managed by VPN providers. This can loosen your data’s privacy/security. Additionally, if a VPN connection experiences outages, you cannot obtain or protect stored data.

With a VPN, you get encrypted cloud storage over a virtual network. However, you may lack access to file-sharing or collaboration controls while leaving your data vulnerable to exposure.

Show-stoppers: Latency, regulatory concerns, unpredictable performance, storage security risks.

On-Premises VDI

On-Premises Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (on-prem VDI), also known as self-assembled DaaS, is a traditional DaaS method. With on-prem VDI, the customer buys, assembles, hosts, and manages the vendor's cloud infrastructure. The vendor operates the selected infrastructure and provides updates.

With an on-prem VDI, you purchase the VDI infrastructure. Then, you’re responsible for hosting, maintaining, and often staffing management for everything on-site. Examples of on-prem VDI: Microsoft AVD, Amazon WorkSpaces

Show-stoppers: Overwhelming maintenance, consumes space, too much downtime, complexity, inflexibility, poor performance for remote users.

In-House VDI

In-House Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, sometimes referred to as a vendor-assembled DaaS, is a typical “DIY DaaS” solution. It gives customers control over their data and hardware, but there’s a caveat: Customers must have hard skills and in-depth VDI knowledge to manage it properly.

An in-house VDI can either be on-premises or cloud-based. In both scenarios, customers obtain the infrastructure from a vendor. The customer is then responsible for paying, integrating, maintaining, and troubleshooting the infrastructure.

With an in-house VDI, the vendor provides you with the VDI infrastructure. Then, you’re responsible for implementing and managing everything in-house. Example of in-house VDI: Nutanix Frame

Show-stoppers: Expensive hardware, frequent & costly updates, complex in-house management requirements, security risk exposure.

Managed DaaS

Managed Desktop as a Service, also called vendor-managed DaaS, is a cloud-based DaaS solution that works alongside IT teams to provide virtual desktops and management.

Example of a managed DaaS: Evolve IP

Show-stoppers: Fear of losing control, User resistance, Compatibility with select legacy apps

Status Quo

The term “status quo” implies that a customer doesn’t make a decision and instead stays with their current storage system due to fear of change, user resistance or lack of bandwidth.


Key Overview: DaaS vs VDI

While there are several similarities between DaaS and VDI, there are functionality and scalability differences.

  DaaS VDI
Solutions Cloud-based On-premises or cloud-based
Scalability Highly scalable Scalable with ample in-house management
Pricing Model Subscription (or use-based) for full-service management i.e. predictable cost model Upfront costs for hardware and infrastructure + ongoing management
Ideal client base Organizations that need simplicity, scalability and ability to do more with less Organizations that need more customization and control
Notable Benefits Centralized platform, better support, easy-to-implement, reduced vendor/administrative headaches, user experience, disaster recovery, cloud service integration etc. Better GPU support, More independence & custom configurations
Main Challenge User resistance, Fear of lack of control / customization Complex, costly & time consuming; challenging for digital employees, poor user experience


Pros & Cons | PC vs VDI vs Managed DaaS

While there are several similarities between DaaS and VDI, there are functionality and scalability differences.

Business Evaluative Measures PC On-Premises VDI In-House VDI
(On-Prem or Cloud-Based)
Managed DaaS
SLA/High Availability Low Medium Medium High
Easy to control, update, monitor to minimize threat exposure & protect data
Low Medium High High
Easy to audit, control and keep up with changing regulatory requirements
Low Low High Medium/High
Detailed Infrastructure
Knowledge Required Technical / platform expertise on VMware, Citrix etc.
No High High Low
(vendor manages)
Time Needed
Time needed to learn the platform
Low High Medium Low
(vendor manages)
Fear of Turnover
Demand to train team members in case of employee turnover
Low High Medium Low
(vendor manages)
Licensing Complications
Due to the complexity involved with Microsoft licensing
N/A Yes Yes
(requires knowledge about ever-changing licensing; depends on user type)
Data center costs, Device costs, Support Costs, Upfront infrastructure costs, Unexpected costs due to lack of familiarity with the platform, purchase cost, error costs, security costs
High High Medium Medium
Configuration Advantage N/A Do it Yourself Do it Yourself Do it Yourself
Configuration Flexibility High High Medium Low
Ease of Implementation Low Low Low High
Availability of Post-Installation Support
Get immediate support when/as needed due to DIY framework
No No No Yes
High-end GPU (Graphical Processing Units)
Sufficient bandwidth for network-intensive, GPU-accelerated virtual desktops.
Medium Medium High Medium
Predictable Cost Model
Ability to calculate the exact cost per user for mergers & acquisitions
Low Low High High
Remote / Hybrid Work Flexibility Low Low High High
Third-Party Contractors/Seasonal Worker/Burst Capacity Ability to scale up/down in minutes, Capacity planning, Ease of provisioning- deprovisioning Medium Low Low High
High-Turnover Positions Medium Medium High High
Bring Your Own (Device / Licensing) Low Low Medium High


Want to see how Managed DaaS works for your team?

Schedule a Free Evolve IP Demo with a solutions specialist.

Weighing the Options | PC vs. VDI vs. Managed DaaS

You want to future-proof your organization with technology that empowers you to do more with less. When exploring the options, there’s a lot to compare. Let’s simplify the most common considerations.

Which solution relieves security, administrative, and maintenance concerns?

Many companies still rely on traditional desktops (PCs) that IT must distribute and maintain, which poses security risks and potential value loss. 

DIY VDI (self-assembled and vendor-assembled) requires a stack of resources to keep up with security, maintenance, and reliability. It remains time-consuming, demanding a higher task load.

Managed DaaS strengthens data, device, and application security. Data never leaves the data center, remaining safe in the cloud. 

Centralized data and administration result in easier, stronger management solutions. It enables mobility, offering Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategies for more accessible remote/hybrid work.

Is a cloud-based DaaS public or private?

It depends on the provider.

With Evolve IP solutions, you can choose. 

Public cloud is shared between multiple organizations, meaning you maintain high scalability and disaster recovery but may experience less control, slightly less uptime, and more tedious compliance processes. 

Private cloud is provided exclusively to your organization, meaning you gain more uptime, greater customization options, easier compliance, and top security but scalability may be more complex.

How can my IT team be more productive while cutting costs?

Because a managed DaaS can be accessed from a centralized location, it enables IT teams to do more with less. Managed Daas cuts the costs of labor, maintenance, hardware, security risk, end-user training, and more.

What are the main challenges of DaaS?

According to a recent Gartner report, 55% of clients hope to adopt more DaaS solutions in 2024. However, some DaaS users prematurely revert back to physical PC options due to real-time audio/video challenges, self-assembled DaaS complexity, and cost.

Evolve IP offers vendor-managed solutions to address these challenges, meaning you offload the virtual desktop maintenance and complexity to our secured cloud backed by IT specialists.

Our real-time audio and video (RTAV) configurations optimize media and network speed, bringing you faster and more reliable team conferencing abilities compared to desktop or VDI.

As for cost, Evolve IP offers five Managed DaaS packages that you can tailor to your needs. Security doen’t require drastic budget changes and can be accomplished with just a few clicks.

icon_open_seating_hotelingIf infrastructure, cost, security, and/or maintenance are too demanding for your team, a Managed DaaS solution will significantly improve your workflow. At Evolve IP, we help you consolidate everything and scale up or down to meet the changing needs of your organization.

Still have questions? 
We have answers >

Who Manages What? | PC vs. VDI vs. Managed DaaS

Management  Requirement PC On-Premises VDI In-House VDI
(On-Prem or Cloud-Based)
Managed DaaS
    Self-Assembled DaaS Vendor-Assembled DaaS Vendor-Managed DaaS
User Support x Customer Customer and/or Vendor Customer and/or Vendor
Application Management Customer Customer Customer and/or Vendor Customer and/or Vendor
Image Management Customer Customer Customer and/or Vendor Vendor
Network and Security Operations Customer Customer and/or Vendor Customer and/or Vendor Vendor
Infrastructure Configurations Customer Customer and/or Vendor Vendor Vendor
Infrastructure and Operations (Server and Storage) Customer and/or Vendor Customer and/or Vendor Vendor Vendor
Hosting and Maintenance Customer and/or Vendor Vendor Vendor Vendor
Hosting Environment (Floor Space, Power, Cooling, etc.) Customer and/or Vendor Vendor Vendor Vendor

How Much Will DaaS Cost?

DaaS is often perceived as too costly. Since it’s an alternative to replacing extra hardware, shouldn’t it cost less than an organization’s ROI calculation?

In reality, DaaS is more than just a replacement for client hardware. It’s a full-service solution that your organization can leverage to increase security, ensure IT efficiency, improve mobility, and enable hybrid/remote work success.

Managed DaaS saves your organization:

  • Time Data center costs
  • Device costs
  • Support costs
  • Upfront infrastructure costs
  • Other unexpected costs (such as the cost of a security breach).

There is a cost reduction of up to 60% when supporting a user base using DaaS. 

With VDI, support specialists constantly need access to physical devices to correct critical issues. DaaS consolidates work and support in one centralized location, ensuring your people can work anytime, anywhere, on a reliable platform.

Device procurement, providing, and provisioning limits universal access and workflow. With DaaS, every end-user gains access to the support and data they need when they need it.

Regarding application and licensing, organizations must provide remote monitoring software, management applications, antivirus protection, threat protection, asset management, edge protection, and more. But if devices still get compromised, there’s a huge cost consideration. With a DaaS solution, organizations reduce these concerns.

Here is a side-by-side comparison of Do-it-Yourself / In-house VDI vs. Evolve IP’s DaaS:

  Do-it-Yourself / In-house VDI Evolve IP's DaaS
Procurement Model Sunk cost with a 3-5 year investment cycle On-premises or cloud-based
Lead Time Extended timeframe for delivery, configuration, deployment and testing Always have required infrastructure ready for on demand. We always procure in advance based on sales funnel and backlog.
Staffing New employees required – in an incredibly competitive market for technical talent Deep bench of top Daas talent in the market already on our roster
Security Compliance will require additional headcount, non-trivial and investment, time and efforts to implement and maintain HITRUST and SOC2 inherently included in the solution
Investment More expensive possibly stranding capital. Must consider soft costs (e.g. DaaS customer support team, capacity management, performance management, redundancy, R&D team tracking emerging technologies that will result in better economics, user experience and features) De-risking the capital investment by leveraging as a service vs. being "all in" to a new line of business for VDI.

There are three aspects of DaaS that organizations must monitor to manage cost: capacity, usage and performance. On-premises VDI operations historically focused on capacity and performance. DaaS removes some concerns about capacity limits, but their consumption and performance-based pricing models require continuous visibility and management of:

  • Capacity
    What is the right balance of on-premises versus cloud-based virtual desktops?
    Will virtual desktops be provisioned and ready for users?
  • Usage
    What type of virtual desktops are needed to meet user requirements?
    When can virtual desktop VMs be powered down?
  • Performance
    How to rightsize VM configuration based on user performance?
    What performance variability is acceptable for multisession configurations?

Optimizing these variables requires processes and procedures for:

  • Provisioning VMs
  • Deprovisioning VMs
  • VM scaling management (power off and power on)
  • Allocation of workers to VMs
  • Tuning allocations of VM type, specification and storage tier to demand

Since these monitoring processes will be ongoing, IT leaders must measure the time spent performing the operational tasks to support a business case to either purchase a tool for this purpose, or to justify moving to a vendor-assembled DaaS (a type of DaaS where the vendor offers the core virtual desktop delivery, typically at a fixed cost) or vendor-managed DaaS (where the vendor owns the virtual desktop delivery and OS management that may include application management and user customization) that offers this functionality. Evolve IP offers both, vendor-assembled and vendor-managed DaaS to help offload IT from administrative headaches and optimize costs. “

In fact, Evolve IP’s new Office in a Box solution delivers a comprehensive, no-touch, elegant virtual desktop solution that offloads management headache and simplifies costs w.r.t time, resources spent and threat exposure.

  • One Platform - consolidate Desktops, Servers, Security, Storage, Backup, Collaboration, Voice, and Microsoft 365 Licensing into a single management view
  • One invoice - Experience the benefits of consolidating all your productivity, security, and virtual office solutions into one invoice
  • One call for all your support needs, thereby eliminating finger pointing amongst different vendors 

Is Cloud IT Cost-Effective?

Required Cost Items Legacy PC/Server/UCaaS Environment Office in a Box
PC/Desktop $800 - $1,500 per PC $99 per user
PC Provisioning ~4 hrs @ $300 - $400 per PC Included
Anti-Virus $ Included
Web Filtering $ Included
RMM $ Included
Firewall $ Included
Security/Patching Updates ~1 - 10 hours per month Included
Desktop Maintenance ~1 - 10 hours per month Included
Server Maintenance ~1 - 10 hours per month Included
Server(s) AD/Domain Controller ~$1,500 - $3,500 per server Included
Storage Server ~$1,500 - $3,500 per server Included
Data Backup (BaaS) ~$1 - $3 per GB per month Included
Microsoft Licensing (O365/Phone System) $31 per User per month Included
UCaaS / Teams Video $7 - $15 per User per month Included
PC Refresh ~$800 - $1,500 (every 3-5 years) N/A
Server Refresh ~$3,000 (every 3-5 years) N/A

Considering DaaS for a Hardware Refresh Cycle

If your team is thinking about switching to DaaS, begin a thorough evaluation before your next hardware refresh. 

Although DaaS enhances workforce security, mobility, productivity, and device lifecycle, it requires a shift in both infrastructure and mindset. 

Instead of entering another hardware refresh every few years, start exploring DaaS now. It can improve how you and your team approach tech challenges, starting with minimizing the endless cycle of procuring, provisioning, and refreshing devices.

Pro Tip: Dynamic DaaS Adoption

To enable infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders with smooth DaaS adoption: 

  • Assess organizational needs concerning DaaS. Do existing end-user solutions support remote and hybrid work? Does it provide IT the tools they need to simplify and manage technology? Is quality, security, and cost meeting workforce and regulatory demands?
  • Shortlist pfotential DaaS vendors and services. What are their key features? How do their solutions support IT? What IT skills does your organization need to improve? 

Weigh DaaS costs with employee performance metrics. What virtual desktop specifications do different employees need?

If your team needs communication support and DaaS solutions, get a head start on both with our Office-in-a-Box. It’s the only Managed DaaS + UCaaS bundle on the market.

DaaS Use Cases by Industry

Where and when is DaaS used the most? Is it the best solution for your organization? Below are common use cases to consider.

Use Cases Industry Key Solutions Why it Works
Third-party Contractors/Warehouse workers/Seasonal Workers/ Burst Capacity Retail, Financial, Contractor, Education Temporary Workloads, Scalability Eases onboarding/offboarding. Optimizes budget usage.
High Security & Compliance Healthcare, Financial, Banking, Insurance, Government Consolidation, Organization, Compliance Secures integrity of data, minimizes threat exposure and compliance headaches.
Mergers & Acquisitions Private Equity Firm Cloud Capacity, Regional Redundancy Enables predictable cost model. Simplifies migration. Minimizes device-specific issues.
Multiple Legacy Windows Apps Healthcare, Financial, Government Compliance, Data Security, Legacy App Support Adds security control. Reduces end-point testing and end-of-life app hosting
Shared Devices Manufacturing, Financial, Healthcare Reliable Network Connectivity, Simplified Management Decreases spending without compromising UX/CX. Increases security. Eases deployment.
Remote / Hybrid Work BPO, Financial, Insurance Seamless User Experience, Access to company apps, Reliable Network Connectivity, Security Provides secure remote access to company apps from anywhere on any device. Minimizes threat exposure without compromising user experience.
Third-Party Managed Devices Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Call Center BYOD, RTAV, Centralized Data Eases the burden of hybrid/remote work. Improves employee desktop/app access and performance.


Evolve IP | Managed DaaS Solution

Offload your day-to-day virtual infrastructure headaches to Evolve IP so you can focus on strategic initiatives that make you an asset to your organization.f

What you get: 

  • Platform, Image & Patch Management
  • Performance & Availability Monitoring
  • UX monitoring
  • RTAV support & optimization
  • Managed Anti-virus / Anti-Malware
  • Critical Infrastructure Backup
  • Tailored Management Options
  • Access to vendor IT admin portal
  • 24x7x365 Service & Support
  • White glove onboarding & migration
  • Private/Public Cloud Options
  • VMware/Citrix Desktop Options
  • Free access to EIP’s VMware, Citrix, Microsoft certified technology experts
  • Office 365 / Microsoft 365 Licensing
  • Virtual Data Center (VDC)
  • Veeam Microsoft365 Unlimited Backup
  • Trend Micro Antivirus Protection
  • Email Management & Protection
  • Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) experts

Learn more here >


Ready to embrace simplified, secured IT management?

Get a free test drive of Evolve IP DaaS today.


Your essential IT ally for the enterprise hybrid workforce.

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