You’ve analyzed your organization’s needs, surveyed the IT landscape, vetted the alternatives and ultimately decided that desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) is the right virtualization strategy for you. Now it’s time to choose a DaaS provider.
With the success of your virtualization strategy potentially resting on your choice of service provider, it’s not one to be made lightly. That’s why it helps to review your options and your goals, even if you’re a seasoned IT professional who’s already done some background research on DaaS.
In this post, we’ll start by talking about what exactly desktop-as-a-service (and by extension, a DaaS provider) is. Next, we’ll suggest a few questions that an IT team or CTO should ask themselves prior to evaluating a DaaS solution. We’ll then briefly touch on some leading DaaS solutions. Finally, we’ll close by looking at some emerging alternatives to DaaS that could provide you with better security, pricing, superior performance and easier provisioning.
What Is a Desktop-as-a-Service Provider?
DaaS itself is an evolution of traditional virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) for the cloud computing era. It allows for desktop virtualization through some form of cloud hosting—think Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud—instead of an in-house data center.
Like most cloud services, DaaS follows a subscription pricing model, which potentially makes it easier for organizations to budget and scale. DaaS also shares the advantages that are common to most cloud infrastructure—namely, lower upfront and CapEx costs because it sidesteps the need to procure and maintain on-premises IT infrastructure.
When thinking about DaaS as a desktop solution, it’s helpful to split it into two basic parts. There’s the managed desktop side of things, which is the desktop virtualization solution itself. Some examples include Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, Windows Virtual Desktop or VMware Horizon Cloud. And then there’s the hosting side of things, which is the cloud provider.
A DaaS provider is a company that offers either the first or both of these services. So, at a minimum, there will be a DaaS platform that allows your end users to access various cloud desktops, usually grouped according to different operating systems like Windows 10 or Ubuntu Linux. That same DaaS platform will typically be hosted by one of the many cloud providers mentioned above.
Sometimes the DaaS provider will bundle hosting with the DaaS service in the form of end-to-end hosted virtual desktops. Other times it’s left up to the customer to choose a service solution themselves depending on their business needs or existing cloud service agreements.
Questions to Ask Before Evaluating DaaS Providers
Although every organization should ideally have a long list of internal questions about the suitability, scalability and sustainability of any technology solution, there are three fundamental questions that can help guide decision-making when considering desktop-as-a-service.
1. Does my organization really need virtual desktops?
This might seem like an odd question if you’re already contemplating a cloud VDI solution. But think about it: In most cases, end users only need access to their business-critical apps, making full desktop services totally unnecessary. Solutions like virtual application delivery (VAD) could prove much more suitable, which is why more and more organizations are opting for VAD over traditional VDI and hosted virtual desktops.
2. Are virtual desktops secure enough for my organization?
Remote desktop solutions might serve an identifiable need, but they also pose real threats to data security. As we’ve pointed out in posts on the rise of ransomware attacks during the pandemic and the security risks of the hybrid workplace, malicious actors can exploit vulnerabilities in the remote desktop protocol (RDP) or virtual private networks (VPNs) to compromise devices and gain lateral remote access to all or part of the corporate network.
VAD has the ability to eliminate those loopholes and add further layers of security with a Zero Trust security model – all while providing a better user experience. As a result, VAD can enhance data security while better enabling remote work across a variety of endpoint devices.
3. Does the cost and complexity of DaaS make sense?
Like most software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings, desktop-as-a-service has been praised for its more predictable seat-based pricing models and leaner IT infrastructure requirements. But some of the savings that DaaS brings in one area can be offset by less visible expenses in another, such as the time that goes into provisioning and ongoing management. And a virtual desktop environment could still end up being more complex and costly than a more streamlined solution like VAD, which allows better optimization for most use cases. By and large, most employees only need remote access to their apps, not entire virtual machines.
Leading DaaS Service Providers
If you’ve asked yourself those questions and still decided in favor of DaaS, the next step is to pick a service provider.
Some of the leading DaaS service providers include Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop, Amazon WorkSpaces and VMware Horizon Cloud. Each offers different configurations for different workloads, scalability and use cases. Within their available service plans are also options for private cloud and public cloud deployments, Windows and Linux desktop environments and remote desktop services that are either fully or partially managed.
Choosing one DaaS provider over another will come down to your unique set of priorities as well as the current feature set and pricing, both of which change frequently in response to market demand and industry competition.
Scalable, Secure, Cost-effective Alternatives to DaaS
As we’ve seen, DaaS isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. After assessing your needs, weighing your options and seeing what DaaS providers are offering, you might decide that a mix of VDI and VAD would be much more useful to your end users. Or you might decide that your organization doesn’t need VDI at all.
Cameyo customers have faced that question themselves and chosen our VAD platform for its simplicity, tighter security and clear cost-effectiveness. The fact that their end users can securely access full desktop applications on any device—including Android/iOS smartphones, Macs or Chromebooks—through an HTML5-capable web browser like Safari, Chrome or Firefox has proven transformative to their operations. With Cameyo, they can maintain seamless business continuity, even when their end users are working from a variety of remote environments on bring-your-own-device (BYOD) endpoints.
“We were not willing to adopt any solution that added complexity, hindered our employees’ productivity or sacrificed security in any way,” said Mario Zúñiga, an IT director at Sanmina, a Fortune 500 integrated manufacturing services leader. “We decided that [Cameyo’s] Virtual Application Delivery approach to Digital Workspaces would provide the best experience for our employees, especially as we migrated to Chrome devices.”
At Moblize, a leading provider of cloud-based AI and Big Data solutions for the oil and gas industry, CM\EO Amitt Mehta “needed to take … legacy desktop apps and bring them into a cloud environment so that anyone, from anywhere, can access them on any device – even tablets and non-Windows laptops.” That anywhere, anytime flexibility ruled out many desktop-as-a-service solutions.
After reviewing several virtualization approaches, “Cameyo proved to be the best platform for enabling third-party apps to scale globally,” said Mehta. Moblize deployed Cameyo company-wide in just “a couple of days.”
The testimonials don’t stop there, as you can see from our portfolio of case studies across multiple industries. If you’d rather see Cameyo in action, sign up for a free trial or schedule a one-on-one demo today. Opting for VAD over desktop-as-a-service could be the most important choice you make.