Virtual Desktops or Virtual Apps? A Case Study

If there’s one thing that’s clear, it’s that there isn’t much clarity on the definition of “Digital Workspaces.” To some, that means providing a full virtual desktop to every user. Here at Cameyo, our focus when it comes to providing a Digital Workspace is to make sure everyone has access to all of the apps they need to be productive from anywhere, on any device. Virtual Desktops Virtual Apps Blog

But to clarify – that doesn’t mean that other approaches to Digital Workspaces are “bad”, or any less valid. If there are people in your organization that truly need a full virtual desktop, then utilizing a VDI product like Citrix or a Desktop as a Service (DaaS) service like VMware makes sense. 

Often, though, it turns out that what your people really need is the ability to simply and securely access all of their business-critical applications. If that’s the case in your organization, then a virtual application delivery approach to Digital Workspaces (like Cameyo) could be the right fit for you. (It’s also worth noting that it doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition – you could use virtual desktops for the small percentage of power users who need them, then utilize Cameyo to provide virtual access to apps for the rest of your users, helping to reduce complexity and cost.) 

As an example, today we posted a new case study highlighting the experience of Baldwinsville Central School District and how they came to deploy Cameyo Digital Workspace for enabling distance learning. 

Baldwinsville has a 1:1 program, so every student has a Chromebook. But there were still a handful of applications that every student needed to utilize for their coursework – from Adobe’s Creative Suite to Microsoft Office and more – that they were not able to access on Chromebooks.

“We had hoped that [our current] DaaS solution would solve that for us, but to be honest, it just never worked the way we needed it to,” said Jim Froio, LAN Support Technician at Baldwinsville Central School District. “For our students, the application performance was poor, which creates a frustrating user experience. And from an IT perspective, the complexity is just through the roof. So it wasn’t a good experience for anyone involved.”

“Ultimately, we realized that a virtual desktop approach simply wasn’t a good fit for us. We knew there had to be a simpler, more cost-effective alternative – so it was time to make a switch,” said Cerio.

Cerio and Froio realized they had an opportunity to right-size their approach to desktop virtualization and instead focus on providing a seamless digital workspace that gave their students access to all of the apps they needed, on any device. Which is when they turned to Cameyo.

“Cameyo’s digital workspace solution enables us to give students access to the full desktop version of all the applications they need, on their Chromebooks, securely through the browser,” said Froio. “And Cameyo’s cloud-native approach dramatically simplified our environment both from a deployment and an ongoing management perspective.”

Right from the beginning, Baldwinsville began recognizing the benefits of Cameyo’s simple, secure, and cost-effective approach to delivering digital workspaces. Key benefits they’ve experienced thus far include:

  • Reduced Cost – “In just the first year, and talking about licensing fees alone, Cameyo is saving us $50,000 compared to [our previous DaaS provider],” said Cerio.
  • User Experience – “Our students get to use the full desktop version of the software that they’re already used to, without having to learn anything new. It simply opens up in a browser tab instead of being locally installed on the device. And the application performance with Cameyo is nearly the same as if it were installed locally – it’s a fantastic user experience for our students,” said Cerio.
  • Reduced Complexity & Management Time – “Cameyo has been a game-changer for me. It was incredibly easy to deploy and get up and running – a matter of days instead of the weeks it took to deploy our previous DaaS solution. And the ongoing management is so simple. With [our previous DaaS solution], there were just so many pieces to manage. You had load balancers, gateways, license servers, and more – and that was all before you could even bring the first virtual machine online. With Cameyo, all of that complexity is gone,” said Froio.
  • Security – “I can’t tell you how refreshing it is that Cameyo has multiple layers of security truly baked in at the foundation, as opposed to it being something extra we have to pay for. And the Cameyo Port Shield technology is amazing. It gives me peace of mind to know that all of our RDP ports are constantly protected in the background,” said Cerio.

Baldwinsville notes that saving $50,000 in the first year alone is just the beginning of the ROI they’ll see from Cameyo. 

“Another piece of the ROI equation is how Cameyo enables us to invest solely in Chromebooks moving forward, instead of also needing to purchase PCs so that students could also access the needed Windows apps,” said Cerio. “We added 1,400 Chromebooks this year as a result.”

“There’s also the time savings aspect to consider. Cameyo has reduced the amount of time required for ongoing management by at least 50% already compared to VMware,” said Froio. 

“And the amount of time spent managing infrastructure wasn’t just reduced, it was nearly eliminated,” said Cerio. “I spent at least 80 hours a year managing infrastructure with VMware. With Cameyo that has been reduced to almost nothing.”   

“Cameyo not only saved us a ton of money compared to [our DaaS provider], but it is incredibly easy to manage, and is more secure. This works better than anything we’ve ever had, and Cameyo is now going to play a key role in our long-term plans for moving everything to the cloud,” said Cerio.

In the case of Baldwinsville, they decided to make a full switch from virtual desktops to virtual application delivery. That may or may not be the right approach for your organization, and perhaps some of your people do still need full virtual desktop access. But even in that situation, taking stock of the number of people in your organization who simply need secure access to applications on any device and utilizing a virtual app-focused Digital Workspace like Cameyo will help reduce the cost and complexity of serving those users. 

You can get started with a free trial of Cameyo today and be up and running in minutes with your first published app. And if you’d like to discuss which approach is best for you – virtual desktops, virtual apps, or a hybrid approach – our team is always ready to discuss and help suggest the right mix of solutions for your needs.