The advances of technology such as cloud computing and virtualization is enabling organizations to capture value. In the current competitive environment IT faces many challenges that include reduced budgets, increased security, availability of data and applications on multiple operating platforms, mobility for employees and remote access computing. To reduce expenses on end-user computing infrastructure, many organizations considered the solution of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to enhance desktop management. However implementing VDI in-house required high upfront costs and people with specialized skills which were difficult. To overcome some of these issues, desktop virtualization provides the potential solution.
Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) is a computing approach under desktop virtualization which enables the movement for organizations from physical to virtual desktops where the applications and infrastructure is managed from the cloud. The significance of DaaS was highlighted by industry experts, such as the report, ‘The Year of DaaS’ in 2014 by VMware and Citrix. In simple terms, DaaS can be understood as a service where users are able to gain access on anything using any device running any operating system from anywhere.
Compared to client-server computing, DaaS can significantly reduce costs and enhances productivity because employees are able to work from anywhere and anytime. This in turn helps organizations to provide an employee friendly workplace by supporting BYOD. DaaS is made available from the cloud infrastructure and hence it is easily scalable and elastic – maximum performance for any number of devices. Gartner indicated that with the advent of DaaS, PC shipments have reduced significantly worldwide to almost 7% in 2014.
In addition to these advantages, DaaS offers some top benefits for organizations that include,
- Financial benefit: Organizations migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 or 8 would need to upgrade their client hardware. Using DaaS clients can access data using any device running any OS. This eliminates the need for upgrades, thus resulting in substantial savings from capital expenditure spent on client hardware. In addition to reduced capital costs, savings in operating cost is possible because data, applications, storage and maintenance are done from a centralized location. This eliminates the running cost in maintaining client systems.
- Efficient Management of IT: Organizations need not have to wait for weeks or months to upgrade and configure client desktops. Instead, IT resources and appropriate desktop rights are made available for the entire organization within few hours. In DaaS, work-related systems and applications are centralized thus allowing IT assets to be managed efficiently. DaaS is considered an ideal solution for organizations that have recently undergone a merger or acquisition, because the service helps in overcoming the biggest challenge of managing disparate infrastructure. With DaaS new employees can be integrated quickly without any major overhaul of IT infrastructure.
- Mobility and Employee Productivity: The recent trends of mobility such as bring your own device (BYOD) is supported by DaaS. More and more users are clamoring for mobile access to applications, data and services. DaaS offers to provide consistent performance no matter the type of device format or brand. Employees using their own devices can login to their company systems and immediately access information from applications such as ERP, CRM, etc. This benefit is found highly useful in global industries such as financial services, travel and retail to mention a few.
- Increased Security: DaaS helps companies overcome many risks by maintaining all sensitive data and applications in a central location. Data and applications when stored in client systems are easy targets for hacking attacks, loss, theft and corruption. Since DaaS maintains data in the cloud, helps IT to overcome the nightmare of security gaps. For instance the security challenge of BYOD can be mitigated by implementing consistent set of security protocols across user devices irrespective of any hardware or OS.
- Support for new business capabilities: Organizations seek to acquire best talent from around the world. The recent trends in workforce demand environments such as flexible work timings, ability to mix personal lives, collaborate with partners and social business initiatives are easily enabled by desktop virtualization. DaaS enables mobility where employees are able to address customer needs immediately, collaborate with others while gaining access to company data. This in turn provides new strategic directions for improving value for the organization without any additional cost.
The move by organizations from physical PCs and laptops to DaaS is mainly influenced by the benefits mentioned above. DaaS significantly lowers upfront costs and support expenses which are high in the case of traditional client-server computing. Most of the security concerns faced by IT are easily alleviated. Companies looking to reduce costs and flexibility should consider using DaaS in today’s fast moving business scenarios.