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Virtual Desktop Infrastructure vs Desktop-as-a-Service
There is nothing new about desktop virtualisation, but there are now two popular forms; Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS). However, there are distinct differences between the two of them and knowing what the differences are is important when you are looking to invest for your businesses.
Those of you who have spent some time in a computing enterprise environment have more than likely played with a virtual machine at some point. Although only up until recently local VDIs have been the standard, however with today’s available bandwidth and the cloud options this will make desktop-as-a-service so much more practical still with some limitations.
What is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)?
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) has been available for a while and has traditionally been the only way to run a virtual desktop. Place a server into your datacentre, on that server load up virtualisation software, turn on a few PCs and some other machines, then you are all good to go.
Since VDIs are located centrally, your businesses IT team is responsible for managing them. This means everything is handled in-house which includes hardware, software, deployment and licensing. It also means that latency is minimal, as you IT department has complete control and if the access to the internet does go out then work can still go ahead.
However, this doesn’t mean that virtual desktop infrastructure has no drawbacks. Even though it is seen as convenient to manage all of your hardware and software internally, VDI systems will need a dedicated IT staff who can handle all the possible incidents. Although hardware failure, software issues and anything else that might go wrong has to be handled in-house, which can get very expensive for your business.
What is Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS)?
Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) is a VDI which is hosted in the cloud by a company for example Google. When you give use DaaS all of your hardware is managed by the provider, so as a business you will not have to worry about hardware breakdown, rackspace or even maintenance.
The DaaS systems are subscription based which you are generally charged by seat. You might find it tempting to move straight over into a DaaS system, so you can clear the clutter of a datacentre as well as the calendars of IT staff, however there are quite a few reasons why that might not be the best move.
There are two types of DaaS providers; the ones who are business ready and those who will only provide a basic system. DaaS providers who offer the basic systems will also come with a standard version of windows software. If there is anything else that your users need to complete their work will have to still be supplied and configured by your IT department.
Is there a DaaS revolution upon us?
Software, computing platforms and infrastructure are all starting to be increasingly hosted in the cloud, then desktop computers are surely only a step away? Not necessarily, as long term pricing is seen to be a major implementation. You may find the pricing for DaaS can be very often misleading, as often the entry point price will cover light resources profile for example not much more than OS or workspace hosting.
However, the DaaS is great for rapid computing needs, but if you were thinking about using it as a replacement for the average employee’s desktop then it isn’t always going to fit the plan.
Who can make Desktop-as-a-Service work?
A business-ready DaaS system can help benefit certain kinds of organisations. Schools are able to use DaaS for student computing in Labs and also as a follow-along training tools, temp workers can also be given a workstation that has no hardware setup, and for anyone who needs to test hardware and software profiles will also benefit from using a completely cloud-based system.
There are partners who offer vertical integration have had success, which is seen to be an eventual path of DaaS offer. Alongside this there are other partner companies who all offer industry-specialised DaaS platforms and they will continue to grow rapidly. The specialised providers can also offer industry-specific software bundled correctly into the DaaS machines, which takes all the licensing and implementation out of your hands as a company.
Why should you wait?
As a business when you add all the service components for the full managed service, DaaS can often climb to about £81 per users per month or even more. The cost is one of the biggest reasons which is why VDI isn’t going to disappear overnight.
Although the original investment in DaaS might seem cheap, but this is for the most basic system. In this situation, the IT department are going to still need to manage software installations and the VM deployment. If you add this to the cost in possible hundreds per seat, you may not save any money for your business. Even though a large chunk of cash spent on VDI servers may seem like a lot, but if you divide out the cost over the year makes it more affordable.
You may find that many businesses will spend a lot of time chasing prices for no more than advantage over a locally installed VDI. However, to get the maximum benefits for DaaS then as a business you need to invest a lot of money into it monthly, and even then, you might find there is still problems with latency, data hosting and regulations.
There are fields like financial services, government and healthcare who are unable to always adopt to DaaS only simply because vendors are not compliant with industry standards. While this is changing, it will take time. It is also suggested that as a business, your IT department monitors the changes in the DaaS market and when you are considering to move think about the benefits to specific employees and not the whole organisation.
To conclude there is not just that one good answer. DaaS is still a fairly new technology and is still currently growing. Although in the future it could be possible that the work desktop will be thin clients which are connected to the cloud, but we haven’t got there just yet.
Remember to keep an eye on the industry, however do not get ready to quickly to dive into the deep end just yet!