As remote working has become more mainstream, desktop virtualization – and how to implement it – has become an increasingly important decision for IT teams.
One way to deploy virtual desktops is desktop as a service (DaaS), where desktop operating systems run inside virtual machines on servers in a cloud provider’s data center. third. Companies can also implement VDI, which involves building their own virtualization infrastructure and running desktop operating systems on on-premises servers, or sticking to traditional desktops.
DaaS outsources the work of hosting virtual desktops to a third-party provider. It doesn’t require a substantial upfront investment like VDI does, so DaaS stands out for being easy and inexpensive to set up. Still, IT admins should be aware of all the pros and cons of Desktop as a Service, not just the cost, to determine if it’s best for their organization.
Advantages of DaaS
Reduction of initial costs
One of the most important advantages of DaaS is that the initial costs are lower than those of VDI or regular desktop computers. VDI requires an expensive investment in infrastructure to get started, whereas DaaS is usually priced per user. Organizations that want to experiment with virtualization can turn to DaaS and avoid the cost and labor of building VDI when they want to change their approach to desktop virtualization in the years to come. The subscription model also makes the costs involved in DaaS more predictable over the long term.
DaaS can also reduce licensing costs because it makes it easier to provision and deprovision virtual desktops based on when users need them. For startups that want to onboard employees quickly, it can be helpful to be able to scale simply and inexpensively with DaaS. Likewise, the scalability of the office as a service can have cost advantages for organizations that employ seasonal workers. Once the season is over and the seasonal employees are gone, the virtual desktops they were using can be easily deprovisioned, eliminating licensing costs for those virtual desktops.
The scalability of DaaS is also logistically beneficial to organizations and their IT teams. If an organization wants to scale, IT can upgrade the DaaS subscription instead of having to adjust VDI capacity by increasing virtual resources with additional hardware. This is especially useful for organizations that don’t know what scale they want; DaaS can adapt to fluctuations in the number of virtual desktops without requiring redesign.
DaaS also offers flexibility in the variety of endpoints that cloud providers can easily support. No matter what type of device a user chooses to work on, the desktop environment is the same, as long as they have the necessary display resolution and remote desktop client software. DaaS generally offers the same UX as VDI, but the ability to choose from a wider range of endpoints and locations to work from and maintain an acceptable desktop environment can result in a better experience for users. final.
Desktop as a service is available from anywhere, on any device. Since virtual desktops are hosted in the cloud, they can be accessed anywhere, as long as power and internet connectivity are available. With VDI, on the other hand, users must connect to their organization’s corporate network directly or through a VPN to access their virtual desktops, requiring additional security considerations.
The rise of remote working has highlighted the usefulness of DaaS for organizations that want to ensure business continuity in circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic. DaaS’s ability to support a variety of endpoints is particularly useful for facilitating remote work. Whether or not users have PCs at home, they can access a virtual office with DaaS.
Some DaaS providers offer browser-based accessibility. This is an easy and secure way for users to access DaaS. Rather than installing the virtual desktop, a user can connect to a browser-accessible virtual desktop through any browser supported by the DaaS provider. Some examples of this option include Web Access functionality in Amazon WorkSpaces, Azure Virtual Desktop Web Client, and DesktopReady.
Simplified configuration and management
Setting up DaaS is easy for IT. The most critical step is choosing the best DaaS provider to meet the needs of the organization.
DaaS is also a simpler option for post-configuration computing. To successfully deploy and maintain VDI, IT departments need to have the skills and enough staff to stay on top of updates, data traffic, and troubleshooting. DaaS vendors have the resources and expertise to reliably handle many of these issues, allowing IT teams to focus on resolving issues more specific to their organizations.
It can also provide security benefits. IT has less control over security with desktop as a service, but a DaaS provider likely has more up-to-date tools and knowledge, which can help IT manage and prevent any issues.
Disadvantages of DaaS
Potentially higher long-term costs
While DaaS is cheaper than VDI in terms of upfront investments, over time the subscription costs that come with DaaS can add up to be higher than VDI’s upfront costs.
Additionally, depending on the licensing models offered by a vendor, DaaS may have higher licensing costs to account for the effort of hosting virtual desktops. Most DaaS vendors tie the operating system license to the cost of the virtual desktop, but companies should weigh their options and keep these factors in mind to ensure that the desktop as a service is the best approach financially. DaaS pricing is still more predictable and consistent than VDI, but it’s not necessarily cheaper in the long run.
Another disadvantage of DaaS is that the one-size-fits-all approach may also not be ideal for all organizations. Security and compliance regulations vary by organization, so finding a perfect DaaS package can be difficult. Since organizations build it in-house, VDI allows IT to make more customizations, such as disabling certain services for users, to meet compliance standards and keep VDI secure. If an organization with strict compliance regulations wants to use DaaS to implement virtual desktops, choosing a vendor that prioritizes those standards is essential.
For example, Evolve IP Workspaces is a DaaS provider that is third-party audited to meet compliance standards, such as HIPAA or GDPR. Vendors that do not specifically address certain compliance standards should allow IT to verify compliance measures or control hypervisor configurations and customize functionality.
Some DaaS packages will not have everything an organization might want. Different vendors offer different levels of customization, and some offer more advanced management capabilities than others.
Desktop as a service offers little control over updates and security in general, which can lead to issues that IT cannot address directly. Many of these issues stem from the hosting issues of using a public cloud. For example, if the public cloud that hosts virtual desktops goes down, an organization’s productivity comes to a complete halt.
Security is an important factor in the pros and cons of DaaS. Since having all the resources in one place, such as a DaaS provider’s public cloud, can help with security, DaaS might seem like the most secure desktop virtualization option. Additionally, some organizations may prefer the security that a vendor can guarantee rather than having to trust IT staff to maintain a perfect security posture. However, some IT teams may be better prepared to manage their organization’s unique security strategy than a third-party vendor, and administrators should consider cloud security issues with DaaS.
Not having full control over connectivity can also put organizations in situations where they can’t do anything. If there is a connectivity issue, IT has less visibility into the network and has to wait for the vendor to resolve the issue. And, while UX may be better and easier to maintain with DaaS, if there are UX issues, the IT team can’t directly address them.