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Desktop as a Service (DaaS) and its Business Advantages

The concept of DaaS is a cloud service that provisions virtual desktops using a server to host many personal computer desktops at the same time. DaaS offers virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) hosted by a cloud service provider. From the technical perspective IT administrators can easily automate changes to individual systems instead of logging into individual computers for upgrades. According to one IDC survey on Virtual Desktops in April 2015, companies with virtual desktops had 83% reduction of time savings in IT software deployments/patching and 63% man-power hour savings on desktop setup and configuration.

DaaS relieves IT responsibilities by maintaining virtual desktops and applications and is an ideal, cost effective solution for organization with low IT budgets. Earlier, IT staff used to login from individual computers to perform a task such as upgrades or system changes for each user. The concept of DaaS in a cloud hosted infrastructure works by allowing client hardware to connect with a remote server for secure access. User desktops, whether they are in-house or remote will connect to a remote server on the cloud for changes to be effected. IT staff can securely access client systems even in remote locations and perform application changes.

DaaS Adoption Trends

By adopting DaaS a company can provide applications, information and data anywhere, anytime and on any device. Evolve IP a cloud services company did a survey titled 2015 State of the Desktop, to understand the challenges of desktop management. Their survey involved 1031 IT professionals and organizations worldwide.
Evolve IP survey results indicate that over 37% of the organizations had desktop services or VDI already implemented in their business and another 33% have plans to implement desktop virtualization in the next one to three years. 65% of executives cited mobility, BYOD as an excellent benefit of virtual desktops.
Citrix in their report titled ‘2015 Desktop-as-a-service global market trends’ explain that over 49% organizations prefer DaaS model to grow their business and another 22% prefer cloud VDI.
Citrix report also provided insights on virtual desktop adoption among different industry verticals globally that comprises of 11% adoption in financial institutions and manufacturing industries, 10% in healthcare, 9% in legal, construction, retail, education, government and public sector and 6% other industries.
According to Research & Markets, global VDI market is poised for growth at CAGR of around 27.35% in 2016-2020.

Business advantages of DaaS

The trends provided above from industry sources indicate that DaaS helps companies to overcome the problems of acquiring, developing and managing an internal infrastructure through desktop virtualization. DaaS offers numerous benefits, a few key benefits include,

  • For users or employees DaaS provides high-quality experience on any device.
  • For IT, the service is simple to deploy and highly secure, also DaaS is scalable
  • For business, it improves agility and productivity and reduces costs for organizations

In virtual desktops, data is not stored locally because they access data and applications through the cloud. With DaaS, the integration of major upgrades or patch applications is performed quickly by allowing the client computers (internal and remote) to connect to the cloud server on VPN. It is a good option for organizations that are low on budgets that face deployment challenges and when there is a need to replace client systems.

Compared to physical desktops, DaaS offers many compelling business benefits,

  • Cost Effectiveness: According to IDC, desktop as a service can reduce capital expenditure by over 56% and also offers to reduce annual operating expenditure. The cost of virtual desktop is two times less compared to a traditional PC because of its low power consumption and the absence of no local hard disk. For example, if a company decides to upgrade software, virtual desktop service enables the reuse of existing hardware and ensures the life of individual PC investments are extended. This reduces significant capital expenses for the company.
  • Easy to deploy: DaaS is fast and easy to deploy different use cases. Time is considerably reduced as organizations no longer have to wait for weeks or months to get their physical desktops ready for implementing new software or systems. Desktop virtualization offers organizational agility and flexibility by providing all necessary desktops with resources within hours. Also, if an organization has undergone a recent merger or acquisition, DaaS deployments can overcome challenges in integrating disparate infrastructure and integrates new employees into the corporate systems quickly without a major IT overhaul.
  • Better Security: In business environments, a personal computer or a laptop can be hacked, stolen or lost. In this case all data and important information is lost. VDI addresses this issue by storing all sensitive information on the remote server and nothing is stored locally. Further, individual computers are vulnerable to viruses, malware, etc. which can infect corporate LAN. With desktop as a service, it is difficult for viruses, worms or malware to penetrate cloud systems. This results in low risk in terms of security. With DaaS, centralized updates, continuous back up and synchronization of data ensures easy compliance.
  • Prevention against data Loss: Traditional business desktops are likely to be damaged in the event of natural disaster. Virtual desktops store data in remote locations thus ensuring data is protected and available at all times. Business continuity is also ensured because employees can access their data and applications without interruptions using any device even after a disaster event has occurred.
  • Mobility: Access to applications and data is possible from anywhere using any type of device (smart phones, tablets, etc.) in virtual desktop environment. DaaS allows remote and mobile workers to be connected at all times. This results in more employee productivity and
  • Promotes green IT: Power consumption in virtual desktops is significantly low. For instance, a desktop computer may consume over 150 Watts electric power compared to virtual desktop with electricity consumption less than 20 Watts. Reduced electricity consumption reduces energy costs – overhead savings for the company. This benefit also results in low carbon foot print and emissions, thus advancing the idea of Green IT.

Virtual desktops can be implemented and scaled quickly and the issues of application compatibility with different operating environments are easily overcome. Organizations adopting DaaS are sure to benefit in terms of reduced costs in managing IT and extending their reach by making employees more mobile and responsive.

Top 5 benefits of Desktop as a Service (DaaS) Adoption

Organizations constantly face the need to upgrade or replace many of their client systems due to changes in technology and to use new applications. These physical systems are replaced by virtual machines by deploying desktop as a service (DaaS) solutions which offers many new exciting end-user computing solutions for organizations. DaaS offers the potential for organizations to accomplish multiple objectives: minimize costs, simplify IT management, improve security and employee productivity and make the organization more competitive and many more.

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.