DaaS – A market too hot to ignore

The concept of virtualized desktop served up over a network is nothing new. Microsoft and Citrix have been serving up virtualized Windows desktops for over 24 years. So why is DaaS suddenly so hot? Today’s DaaS is not your father’s virtualized Windows apps, which were provisioned via servers in SMB shops and corporate data centers everywhere.

True DaaS, as a cloud-based resource, is far more flexible for office, remote, and mobile device users.

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are hopping on the DaaS bus because the service is so cost-effective for customers, and MSPs offer the comfort of knowing the entire Windows desktop, apps, and OS are managed and secure together with the storage.

The Citrix/Microsoft “Connection”

When it comes to Windows-based virtual desktops, Citrix’s underlying software still rules the roost with its ICA and FMA protocols. Citrix, you could argue, popularized Windows virtualization back in 1994 when Windows NT was the hot new server OS and Citrix WinFrame, the company’s second product, first shipped. And Citrix has kept up with the times, providing compatibility with a user-friendly protocol for every recent version of Windows OS.

At CloudConnect, we base our DaaS service on Citrix, VMware, and Microsoft technologies, in conjunction with the safety and control of a virtual private data center. So yes, CloudConnect DaaS is cloud-based, leveraging the best delivery technologies as put to the test over many years. Couple this together with the benefits of best-of-breed cloud server technologies, and the optimal DaaS solution is born.

The DaaS Effect on BYOD

Bring your own Device (BYOD) is a boon to both companies and workers. Workers are able to use their preferred personal devices, and companies save money on computing tools. The big challenge is equipping these diverse devices with the set of Windows productivity apps employees are used to and employers require.

Subsequently, a large issue for BYOD is security. Since DaaS maintains data and apps in the cloud, not on an easily compromised business PC or take-home device, it can be made quite secure, preventing data leakage.

DaaS and the Wise MSP

MSPs are helping to drive the DaaS market. “The best way for MSPs to control their clients’ applications is with Desktop as a Service (DaaS). DaaS allows MSPs to offer their clients the back-end servers to run their business, access to their data, access to their applications with back-up and disaster recovery in a pay-as-you-go pricing model. Bundle in hosted Exchange and Microsoft Office and the MSP has a package most SMBs find compelling,” wrote Jim Lippie, chief advisor, Clarity Channel Advisors on MSPmentor.

Meanwhile, market researcher, Techaisle,.found in a survey that MSPs see DaaS as their number one planned virtualization offering. In fact, nearly half, or 45% of MSPs, offered DaaS, according to the 2014 survey, with another 27% planning to add DaaS within the next year.

DaaS – A Smart Customer Move

The cloud offers many advantages for the SMB, and perhaps there is no greater area for transformation than the Desktop. SMB IT staff have to manage PCs, install and maintain the software, and keep the complex, disbursed devices updated and patched in order to keep them secure. And they have to handle all the storage and backup.

With DaaS, the SMB’s infrastructure footprint is greatly reduced. Management and overhead are also greatly reduced. With the right solution, storage is taken care of as well.

SMBs have recognized that it is far easier to make this move together with their MSP, who is knowledgeable enough to understand the technology and orchestrate the move, support the data migration, and manage the environment afterwards.

The Evolving Virtual Desktop Market

The virtual desktop market has changed radically. Only a few years ago, VDI (where Windows desktops “lived” on virtual machines (VMs) on a customer’s on-premises server), was the top dog. That strategy has recently given way to a pure cloud play. Some refer to this as cloud VDI.

“The overall VDI penetration rate against commercial PCs was around 9% in 2015 and is likely to cross 40% by 2020. Most organizations are witnessing the benefits of VDIs such as reduced costs and easier management. These advantages, along with cloud-based VDI solutions, are driving the global VDI market,” said Technavio’s industry analyst for data center research, Rakesh Panda. “The market is also witnessing the emergence of cloud-based VDI solutions that are less expensive than traditional on premises VDI solutions.”

Gartner, meanwhile, prefers the term HVD, and the concept behind it. “HVD (Hosted Virtual Desktops) suit many SMBs as it requires fewer IT staff, servers, software administrators and dedicated network connections. The elimination of these factors significantly reduces business overhead and delivers dramatic elimination of many IT costs. As an additional bonus, new users can be enabled quickly — often within minutes,” a Gartner report said. The same report shows that over 40 percent of SMBs are already using HVDs in some fashion.

Meanwhile, Citrix is witnessing service providers making a huge move to offer DaaS, according to a recent survey.

In the next 12 months, what service(s) are you planning to add in order to grow your business?