Avoiding Vendor Lock-in When Deciding Between Virtual Desktops and Virtual App Delivery

We recently looked at why virtual desktops are overkill for most use cases. We’ve also explained how virtual desktops might be holding back your digital transformation. But one thing we haven’t talked about in detail is the subtle practice known as vendor lock-in.

The reason it’s subtle is because vendor lock-in is often disguised by a lot of attractive integration. Take a popular example like Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD). With WVD, organizations might be enticed by the prospect of Office 365 productivity, Azure Active Directory (Azure AD)control and OneDrive storage. However, what these services all have in common is their reliance on Azure (Microsoft’s cloud). And it’s no secret that Azure is the revenue stream that Microsoft is banking on long term.

Of course, Windows Virtual Desktop is far from the only solution that risks the potential for vendor lock-in. Upselling and value-adds are common across the entire software industry, and when they quietly work in tandem to drive sales of a proprietary platform, they can be great for those companies’ bottom lines. But what about their customers’ bottom lines?

Windows Virtual Desktop: A primer

Before we dig into the cost structures and how this impacts your bottom line, let’s provide a quick primer of the cloud service for context. Windows Virtual Desktop is a cloud-based virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)/desktop as a service (DaaS) solution from Microsoft which aims to make the traditional management and technical overhead of on-premises VDI a bit simpler for customers.  The complicated infrastructure still exists, but Microsoft manages the underlying components such as gateways, brokers, diagnostics, load balancing, Azure active directory, and others, so you don’t have to deploy, manage, and troubleshoot those. Instead, you’re able to utilize the cloud-based infrastructure as a service.

Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) aims to abstract the complexities of VDI from the end-user and offload management from an organization’s IT teams, and utilizes your Azure subscription to deploy virtual desktops to the end-user. In this model, you’re charged based on usage/Azure resource consumption.  

Windows Virtual Desktops’ desktop virtualization technology includes enterprise-grade features like auto-scaling, reserved instances, multi-session support, integrated authentication, endpoint management, multi-user provisioning, multi-session Windows, RDS and Windows server management, and more. In addition, with WVD, admins can customize the desktop experience like the OS disk storage size and types, including automated scalability of storage.   

Windows Virtual Desktops also make use of FSLogix profile container technology.  This allows multiple users to have their profile data dynamically attached to the WVD virtual machine to access their data easily.  

Ultimately – like other VDI and DaaS solutions from VMware, Citrix, and others – Windows Virtual desktop enables organizations to give their people access to a full virtual desktop environment regardless of what device or operating system they are using. Whether you’re using a Windows PC, Mac, Chromebook, Android, iOS, or any other device – you can access your desktop, apps, and data from anywhere.    

The high cost of vendor lock-in

While some customers might decide that the perks that come with, say, their Windows 10 Enterprise virtual desktop are worth the current sticker price, one of the biggest dangers of lock-in is the likelihood of future price hikes once they’re fully invested in the ecosystem.

survey conducted by Capiche.com found that the cost of software rose by 62% between 2009 and 2019. That’s more than three times the average real-world inflation rate. Out of the 100 business apps the survey examined, 67 came close to doubling their prices during that same timeframe. Should providers choose to raise the fees of their virtual desktops—or more specifically, their essential cloud backend—at similarly steep rates, lock-in puts customers in a vulnerable position. It severely limits their ability to negotiate within that solution or maneuver away from it.

As important as the balance sheet is, it’s only one way to measure the risks of vendor lock-in. Any cost–benefit analysis needs to reckon with two other important factors: 

  • Quality of service: When a virtual desktop solution also (or primarily) functions as a sales driver for a specific cloud platform, it’s worth asking which of those two is going to be the vendor’s top priority. Will service suffer as a result? And what impact could that have on user experience? 
  • Functionality: Vendors giveth and vendors taketh away. We’ve all seen tech giants discontinue popular services and remove valuable features on debatable grounds. Will the current integrations that are such a selling point for a virtual desktop environment change or disappear over time?

Drawbacks like these have led organizations of all sizes to be wary of vendor lock-in and avoid it where possible. Fortunately, solutions like Windows Virtual Desktop are just one of many virtualization options when it comes to enabling remote work and hybrid work with a digital workspace.

Avoid Azure Virtual Desktop lock-in with Cameyo’s Virtual App Delivery

Virtual App Delivery (VAD) offers organizations a way to realize many of the benefits of virtual desktops without the cost & complexity, and without the need to commit to a single proprietary ecosystem.

By design, the very concept of Virtual App Delivery revolves around flexibility and choice. Instead of providing each and every user with a full-blown virtual desktop, IT departments can selectively target individual users on a per-app basis. 

If John in accounting only needs access to the bookkeeping software while he’s working from home, there’s no need to go through all the trouble and expense to roll out an entire Windows 10 virtual desktop to him. All he really needs is convenient, secure access to the apps that are critical to his job.

Cameyo takes that flexibility and choice one step further. We recognize that everyone’s environments and priorities are going to be different, even if their virtualization goals are the same. That’s why our Virtual App Delivery platform can be fully hosted on either Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure, or it can be completely self-hosted in any cloud, your own data center, or any hybrid environment. The control is in your hands.

Either way, your organization retains the ability to choose and change the “building blocks” of your Cameyo setup while supporting an evolving workforce and modernizing your legacy Windows software at the same time. The avoidance of vendor lock-in coupled with its more strategic, cost-effective approach to productivity is a big reason why Virtual App Delivery is already on track to achieve adoption parity with virtual desktops in the near future.

We let you try out our software on your own terms too. Give Cameyo a test drive by providing us with some basic info and we’ll send you an email with instructions on how to get started. The trial is totally free of charge – no credit card required – and can typically be configured in a matter of minutes.