Desktop as a Service, or DaaS, is not a new concept. However, new trends are emerging as the DaaS market grows and more vendors begin offering the service. Here is a look at key trends within the DaaS ecosystem that CIOs should know about when considering whether to migrate from physical PCs to DaaS, as well as when evaluating different DaaS platforms.
Simplified access to cloud desktop environments
In the past, users may have needed an RDP client or other special software to log into their cloud desktops. Today, however, most modern DaaS platforms make it possible to access cloud desktops using a browser. The remote desktop environment itself is displayed inside the browser, eliminating the need to run external applications to interact with it.
In addition to simplifying access, DaaS platforms that provide browser-based login options can also improve security. There is no need to worry about securing standalone login applications or the risk that DaaS users could be tricked into installing malware posing as a DaaS app.
Flexible OS licensing
One of the conventional barriers that prevented many organizations from moving to DaaS was the need to purchase new operating system licenses to migrate. Not only was this a waste of money (because it meant that the capital already invested in on-premises software licenses was wasted), but it was also logistically challenging to acquire new licenses and apply them to individual cloud desktops.
Today, leading DaaS vendors have simplified this process. They allow organizations to reuse their existing Windows licenses for their cloud desktops if they wish. At the same time, the vendors offer built-in licensing options that make it possible to acquire licenses as part of the DaaS service, which simplifies license purchasing and deployment logistics.
Flexible cloud desktop hardware configuration
DaaS vendors are also working to simplify the process of choosing which type of virtual machine instance to use when setting up a cloud desktop. Instead of requiring users to navigate long menus of VM instance types themselves, the vendors offer pre-configured options that are tailored to different types of use cases — such as general-purpose office productivity, graphics and design work and high-performance desktop computing.
With this approach, there is no need to become an expert in cloud VM instance offerings to take advantage of cloud desktops. As a result, the barrier to entry is lower for the typical organization.
“Zero IT”: Built-in support services
In years past, DaaS platforms usually provided just a cloud desktop environment. It was up to users to manage it.
Today, the DaaS ecosystem is trending toward an all-inclusive model that packages ongoing support and management services alongside cloud desktops. This approach, which is sometimes called Zero IT, eliminates the need for companies to assign their own IT teams to manage their cloud desktops. Nor do they need special experts on hand who know the ins and outs of cloud desktops; instead, the vendors provide that expertise as part of the DaaS service.
Multiple users per desktop
One key advantage of cloud desktops is the potential for multiple users to share a single desktop instance. This can be especially useful for companies with employees in different time zones, who can use the same cloud desktop at different times of day. Today, some DaaS vendors allow for flexible, multi-user access to a single desktop, without charging additional fees. This trend means that DaaS users can get more value out of their investment.
Like many other types of cloud services, cloud desktops in the past sometimes came with complicated pricing models. Vendors charged based on metered usage, and there were add-on fees, which made budgeting difficult. This type of pricing complexity is no longer a major hindrance for DaaS users in most cases today. Instead, organizations can choose DaaS platforms that provide simple, flat fees based on the number of desktops they use, without paying extra for things like data usage or additional users.
Viewed as a whole, the trends mentioned above make DaaS a simpler, more user-friendly solution than it was in years past. The barriers to entry have been lowered, along with the costs. Whereas DaaS was once seen as a niche solution that made sense only for certain companies or employees, it is now flexible and affordable enough to replace physical desktops wholesale.
- Sivakumar Ramamurthy, Deputy Managing Director and COO, Anunta Tech