Desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) is a way of delivering complete virtual desktop environments to users including operating systems, applications, files and user preferences from the cloud. The desktops run in virtual machines hosted on compute, storage and network infrastructure managed by the cloud provider. Users can access their desktop environment from a wide variety of devices, including PCs, laptops, tablets and some smartphones.
Many organizations are looking for an alternative to the traditional desktop deployment model, in which IT administrators install an operating system and applications on every employee device. With that model, administrators often spend too much time and money installing software, managing upgrades and updates, and attempting to secure the devices.
The traditional desktop deployment model is also a poor fit for an increasingly mobile and remote workforce. Employees today frequently work remotely and while traveling — and they use a wide variety of devices, including desktops, laptops and mobile devices. To maximize remote and mobile productivity, organizations must provide a strong and consistent user experience across all of those devices, enabling workers to easily access the same applications and data no matter what device they are using.
As organizations choose new approaches for delivering applications and data, security must be a top priority. Organizations must ensure that data does not fall into the wrong hands, even if a device is lost or stolen.
A DaaS model could be the solution. With the right DaaS offering, your organization can give users convenient, consistent access to applications and data across devices, safeguard sensitive information, streamline administration and reduce expenditures.
Like DaaS offerings, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions deliver desktops to devices from a centralized data center. But the infrastructure underlying the VDI solution is often located on premises and typically managed by the organization’s IT group.
With the DaaS model, the compute, storage, and network infrastructure are managed by a cloud provider. The organization providing desktops to its employees can manage the desktop operating system, applications, anti-virus software, and any other desktop-related tasks — or work with a third-party managed desktop service provider.
DaaS provides all the benefits of a cloud-based managed service. For example, with DaaS, you eliminate the large up-front costs of building the VDI on-premises. DaaS offerings typically use a subscription model that requires no up-front investment. You also offload all the administrative work required to support, maintain, patch and upgrade the VDI.
For a closer look at VDI, see "What is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)?"
The DaaS model has proven successful in numerous situations:
Call-center, part-time, and shift work: Organizations can support large call centers or other shift-work environments where each workstation supports several employees over the course of a day. With a DaaS approach, each employee has a unique login to access his or her desktop.
Software developers: Instead of switching between multiple computers or maintaining multiple operating systems on a single computer, developers can easily access several distinct virtual desktops. You can help accelerate testing and improve quality assurance while purchasing fewer devices.
Healthcare providers: Doctors and nurses can access applications, notes and patient files no matter which exam room or hallway computer they use. Storing all data and applications on a HIPAA-certified cloud safeguards patient information. A stolen laptop could be a mild inconvenience instead of a catastrophic data breach.
University labs: Students and teachers can connect to their work from any computer in a computer lab, staff room, library or dorm room by linking to their virtual desktop. Universities can make expensive, limited-license applications available to many students by letting them share a single remote desktop.
Seasonal or contract work: When an employee leaves the company, there’s no need to wipe and reconfigure the computer. A new virtual desktop can be provisioned and the old one can be retired in minutes. You can onboard or off-board users quickly, which is vital for jobs with high turnover.
Remote and mobile workers: You can enhance remote and mobile productivity while bolstering data security. With DaaS, your employees aren’t tethered to a physical computer in a fixed location. Instead, they can securely access their files from any computer or mobile device, anywhere in the world.
Mergers and acquisitions: With a DaaS model, you can add many new employees to your organization’s network without having to deploy new local computers. The newly acquired staff can continue to use their existing equipment while connecting to the applications and files of their new employer.
Considering the DaaS model? Keep in mind that a DaaS approach still requires you to handle the licensing and management for your preferred operating system and applications. Be sure to factor in software costs and IT management costs before beginning DaaS implementation.
DaaS is often the best fit for organizations that have large numbers of employees using the same desktop environment. Managing multiple unique environments can be time- and labor-intensive.
Before you implement the DaaS model, you should evaluate your specific needs to avoid overspending or under-purchasing.
Begin by understanding your performance needs. Do you need high-powered vCPUs to render complex 3D animation? How about streamlined systems used mainly for productivity applications? Once you know your application needs, you can deploy the proper mix of high- and low-powered virtual desktops to minimize costs while providing the tools your workforce needs to succeed.
While you will offload infrastructure management to your cloud provider, your IT team might need to bolster your organization’s networking infrastructure. A good DaaS provider can minimize latency by establishing a dedicated host for each tenant, but the speed and responsiveness of your virtual desktops depend on your site’s bandwidth. Fast, reliable, powerful connections are necessary to ensure a smooth user experience, and powerful networks require skilled maintenance. Make sure you’re staffed to support this infrastructure.
DaaS is excellent for on-demand expansion, so there’s little benefit in over-purchasing licenses. If you have shift workers or a part-time staff that may not need simultaneous access, consider limiting costs by sharing licenses. The same license can access multiple virtual desktops, but only one at a time.
Dizzion Managed DaaS on IBM Cloud is a desktop-as-a-service solution based on VMware on the IBM Cloud.
Cloud hosting makes applications and websites accessible using cloud resources and a network of connected virtual and physical cloud servers.
Virtualization enables a single physical computer to be divided into multiple virtual computers, called virtual machines (VMs).
Dizzion Managed DaaS on IBM Cloud can help enterprises build an agile, long-term remote work environment, using cloud desktops to optimize end-user performance, security and compliance. The solution can support a variety of challenging use cases, including streaming voice and video, compliant personal devices, and media-intense workloads.