What Is DaaS in Cloud Computing?

Desktop as a service (DaaS)—also called hosted desktops—is a cloud-based virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) offering. Under this offering, applications and desktops run in virtual machines (VMs) hosted on a third-party’s infrastructure, consisting of compute, storage and networking. A third-party (cloud or DaaS provider) manages all the back-end IT resources, including the VMs that run desktop OSs.

The DaaS provider also streams all the virtual desktops to users’ endpoints, allowing anywhere, anytime access to applications and desktops. DaaS solutions leverage multi-tenancy architecture, and just like other cloud offerings, they are subscription-based.

How Is DaaS Different from VDI?

Both DaaS and VDI offerings have a similar result: delivering virtual applications and desktops to users’ endpoints from a centralized datacenter. However, these offerings are different in setup, architecture, control, cost implications and agility, as summarized below:

Feature DaaS VDI
Setup A cloud provider hosts all the organization’s IT infrastructure, including compute, networking and storage. The provider handles all the issues to do with hardware monitoring, availability, troubleshooting and upgrades. It also manages the VMs that run the OSs. Some providers even offer technical support. With VDI, you manage all the IT resources on-premises or at a colocation facility yourself. VDI requires in-house IT administrators to manage servers, networking, storage, licenses, endpoints and more. However, if you decide to host VDI on an off-site private cloud, the vendor may manage the infrastructure.
Architecture Most DaaS offerings leverage multi-tenancy architecture. Under this model, a single instance of an application—hosted by a server or datacenter—serves multiple “tenants” or customers. The DaaS provider isolates each customer’s services and makes them available dynamically. Other clients’ resource consumption or security can affect yours with a multi-tenant architecture if the services get compromised. Most VDI offerings are single-tenant solutions where clients operate in a solely dedicated environment. Leveraging single-tenant architecture in VDI allows IT administrators to gain complete control over the organization’s IT resource distribution and configuration. You also don’t have to bother about another organization overusing resources and causing service disruption.
Control The cloud vendor controls all the organization’s IT infrastructure, including monitoring, configuration and storage. You may not have complete visibility over these aspects. Accessing the DaaS’s control plane requires internet connectivity, making it more susceptible to breaches and cyberattacks. With VDI deployment, the organization has full control over its IT resources. Since most VDI solutions leverage single-tenant architecture, IT administrators can ensure that only permitted users access virtual desktops and applications.
Cost There are almost no upfront costs with DaaS offerings since it is subscription-based. The pay-as-you-go pricing structure allows companies to scale their operations dynamically and pay only for consumed resources. DaaS offerings may be cheaper for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that have fluctuating requirements. VDI requires a substantive capital expenditure (CapEx) to buy or upgrade servers. It’s appropriate for

enterprise-level organizations that have predictable growth and resource requirements.

Agility DaaS deployments provide excellent flexibility. For example, you can quickly provision virtual desktops and applications on the fly and accommodate temporary or seasonal workers. You can also scale down resources easily. You can support new technology trends such as the latest GPU or CPU or software innovations with DaaS solutions. VDIs require complex infrastructure setups and considerable efforts to build and maintain. For example, adding new features may take days or even weeks to complete. Budget can also limit the organization if it wants to buy new hardware to handle scalability.

5 Benefits of DaaS

Over the last few years, DaaS has made significant progress in becoming an alternative to VDI. Below are four reasons why DaaS is becoming increasingly popular:

1. Eliminates expertise barriers

Many organizations that run on-premises VDI encounter several challenges, including performance, operational and scalability constraints. This is due to a lack of specialized IT personnel with requisite experience in VDI. Many organizations already have overstretched IT budgets. And even in cases where the budget allows, hiring experienced administrators proves difficult because of the few skilled IT personnel even on the market. VDI compounds these challenges.

With DaaS, organizations can elastically complement their VDI deployments in the cloud and shift management challenges to a cloud vendor. The few IT administrators in the organization can then focus on delivering services to satisfy digital transformation goals.

2. Overcomes geographical limitations

Adopting a distributed workforce model is advantageous for companies because it makes the business more visible and accessible to customers. It also helps the company tap into new territories to access a wider pool of talent. DaaS is an excellent solution for addressing the needs of the distributed workforce across disparate locations.

Employees can work virtually from anywhere and at any time provided they have a solid internet connection. Even when these employees are in different regions, they can collaborate via DaaS with ease.

3. Greater budget predictability

Replacing or upgrading software after their end of life (EOL), like migrating Windows 7 to Windows 10, is the single-most challenge facing organizations today. This is because the newest versions of this software almost always require major upgrades in the client hardware. With DaaS, an organization can potentially save large CapEx.

DaaS’s pay-as-you-go pricing model also ensures that the organization pays only for IT services consumed. As such, organizations can add workspaces elastically for new users without overstretching their IT budgets.

4. Eliminates scalability challenges

Flexibility and agility are the hallmarks of success in organizations. They help drive trends such as hiring consultants for special projects and mergers and acquisitions. DaaS allows companies to provide all the necessary desktops and applications—together with their access rights—to users’ needs in a matter of minutes. You can also scale down resources when these workers no longer require desktops.

5. Enhances Security

The responsibility for security is shifted from the individual device to a data center infrastructure that is designed to provide the greatest levels of security. Data is no longer vulnerable on a local device; instead, it is stored in a secure hosted environment, where it is encrypted and accessible only through multi-factor authentication processes.

What Are Some Use Cases for DaaS?

Organizations can leverage DaaS to address different use cases and scenarios such as:

How to Choose a DaaS Provider

There are multiple kinds of DaaS providers to choose from, including major vendors such as Azure and managed service providers (MSPs). Because of the many options out there, selecting the appropriate provider can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help you pick the right vendor:

Deliver DaaS With Parallels RAS and Simplify Azure Windows Virtual Desktop

The enterprise computing world is changing fast, responding to mobility forces and bring your own device (BYOD), high costs, security concerns and platform updates. Desktop virtualization solutions have become the new mantra for organizations that want to satisfy their digital needs. Azure Virtual Desktop—Microsoft’s DaaS solution offered through its Azure platform—is a game-changer in the desktop virtualization arena.

Besides addressing some limitations associated with a server-based approach to desktop delivery, Azure Virtual Desktop also reduces costs through pooled and multi-session resources. Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS) is a complete desktop and application delivery solution that integrates and extends Azure Virtual Desktop capabilities seamlessly.

Parallels RAS integration with Azure Virtual Desktop enables organizations to simplify the deployment of virtual desktops via wizard-driven interfaces. Parallels RAS enables IT administrators to leverage advanced metrics and management capabilities when provisioning host pools, application groups, and workspaces in Azure Virtual Desktop.

Experience the benefits of DaaS in cloud computing by downloading a 30-day Parallels RAS trial today!