This is a article that I originally wrote for my job. I am reposting it here with a few changes.
The pandemic has brought its share of challenges. One of the greatest challenges has been how to give workers the connectivity and access necessary to do their jobs when working from home. This has been especially true for organizations that previously had few to no remote workers. In a previous article, we talked about on-prem VDI and how it has matured over the years. Desktops-as-a-Service (DaaS) is the latest stage of VDI maturity.
What is DaaS?
Traditional VDI is best defined as a technology in which one desktop, running in its own virtual machine, can be provisioned to a user on a one-to-one basis. This uses the same technology used to virtualize a server virtual machine (ESXi, XenServer, AHV, etc.) to virtualize a desktop operating system for an end user. Then, users can interact with the desktop using either a thin client or an HTML5 browser. The difference is that DaaS is in a public cloud while traditional VDI is on-premises in a private cloud.
What are the advantages of DaaS?
Manageability is DaaS’ greatest strength versus physical desktops and even traditional VDI. With physical desktops, IT staff must manage on-premises hardware; this implies everything from firmware updates to component failure. Even with on-premises VDI, the physical host servers must be managed and maintained. With DaaS, there is no hardware on-prem. There are no support calls for a drive failure or to troubleshoot a misconfiguration on a top of the rack switch. This frees IT staff to work on other tasks.
With no hardware on-prem and everything in the public cloud, organizations can quickly and easily spin up hundreds or thousands of virtual desktops to users around the world. This contrasts with traditional on-prem VDI in which an organization can quickly use all available capacity, waiting weeks or even months until new hardware can be installed. Moreover, organizations with a seasonal workforce (or project-based teams) will only consume as many resources as they need at that time. There are no unused resources, which is in stark contrast to what happens in many organizations today.
When using a properly configured DaaS solution, an organization can ensure that data never leaves their environment. Moreover, there are settings that only allow connections from trusted IP addresses. Furthermore, DaaS allows for the automation of patching the desktop operating system (OS), which is often the greatest security vulnerability most organizations face.
What use cases are best suited for DaaS?
DaaS is suited for all the same use cases as traditional VDI. In three specific use cases, DaaS is far and away the superior choice:
- Disaster Recovery – This is a perfect application for DaaS. Desktop images can be stored in the public cloud and virtual desktops only need to be spun up during a DR event. This is both resource and cost effective.
- Remote and Contract Employees – Employees who have a short-term contract or who are remote and rarely, if ever, come into the office are great candidates for DaaS. This keeps the organization from procuring long-term resources unnecessarily.
- Test and Dev – Many organizations struggle to provision adequate test and development environments. DaaS allows them to do so without having to use old or out of date gear.
DaaS is the evolution of traditional on-prem VDI. This pandemic has proven that organizations need tools that allow them to nimbly navigate the current landscape. DaaS’ manageability, scalability, and security features make it an excellent choice to assist organizations in navigating this evolving landscape.