Desktop as a Service, what is it and why use it? | Parallels

What is Desktop as a Service?

Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) is a model of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) that is outsourced and managed by a third-party provider. Described also as hosted desktop services, DaaS is generally delivered as a cloud service along with the applications needed.

How does Desktop as a Service work?

DaaS is an approach where an organization operates its desktop computers entirely in the cloud. In this case, you pay a third-party cloud provider on an as-needed basis to host your organization’s VDI, including virtual machines (VMs) that run desktop operating systems. The most common DaaS providers include Amazon WorkSpaces, VMware Horizon Cloud, and Citrix Managed Desktops.

Your employees, in turn, access their desktops through an internet connection using a browser. Some providers can, however, allow users to access DaaS services through secured apps downloaded on any end-device such as a desktop, laptop, thin client, or smartphone. From an operational perspective, DaaS provides the same benefits users get with VDI or any remote access technology.

However, you don’t need to have a specialized team of IT admins to make DaaS work. The DaaS provider hosts and manages all the IT infrastructure, including the compute, storage, and network resources concerning deployment, maintenance, upgrades, security, and backups. While most DaaS services operate in the public cloud, you can also deploy Desktop as a Service in the private cloud.

In the private cloud arrangement, virtual desktops get housed in your data center where they are consumed. As with public cloud hosting, you’ll still pay a subscription fee for the DaaS management to the private cloud vendor, even though virtual desktops and VMs are housed in your data center. Similarly, your employees will access their desktops from anywhere on any device via a web browser or any secured apps.

Which types of organizations could use Desktop as a Service?

DaaS architecture is created for multi-tenancy—and organizations purchase the service through a subscription model—usually based on the number of virtual desktop instances required per month.

DaaS is typically suitable for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). It makes sense for companies that require IT services but lack the funds for a full-time systems administrator.

Other types of organizations that can benefit from this technology include start-ups, businesses with seasonal employees, or companies with a large number of remote users. From the scalability prospect, as the number of users increases, so does the complexity of IT needs. Suddenly, you need newer hardware, more memory, more processors, various applications for various departments, and so on. DaaS enables these businesses to scale up or down on demand.

Another sector is companies running legacy operating systems like Windows XP. To avoid the direct upgrade capital expenditure of their PCs to run a current OS, they can serve Windows 7, 8, or 10 from the cloud on their XP machines and use them as thin clients.

Limitations of Desktop as a Service (DaaS)

It is worth noting that most DaaS offerings do have certain limitations. One of the most common is that the applications offered are usually just standard Windows fare, e.g. Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc. Only very few third-party applications are supported and customized Line-of-Business (LOB) are usually not supported at all.

As a result, companies who require those other applications (mostly everyone) will need to have a competent IT team who can set up the required infrastructure (usually involving a sophisticated virtual desktop infrastructure or VDI solution) for that. This defeats the purpose because DaaS is supposed to reduce administrative overhead. The need for a separate infrastructure, with its own complexities, negates that benefit.

Another challenge is licensing. DaaS is still relatively new. Most software vendors are still in the process of coming up with a licensing scheme that’s suitable for these Desktop as a Service offerings. Most of these licensing schemes are still not available and those that are, are usually quite expensive.

Benefits of Desktop as a Service (DaaS)

Aside from the fact that data, applications and other digital assets are managed by the DaaS provider, which already reduces administrative overhead, Desktop as a Service has several other business benefits. One of them is enabling anytime/anywhere access to those digital assets. Because this benefit enables remote workers to accomplish tasks wherever they may be, it also increases productivity.

Another major benefit of DaaS is improved security. DaaS providers can leverage economies of scale to establish a more comprehensive cyber security program than most businesses. That’s not all. Since digital assets are hosted by the DaaS provider, i.e. in a central location and not stored on end users’ devices, those assets remain secure even if a device lands in the wrong hands.

Desktop as a Service also reduces CAPEX considerably. DaaS desktops and applications have low system requirements that allow them to run on inexpensive thin clients or even old PCs/laptops. DaaS customers can even implement a BYOD (bring your own device) program, enable employees to use their own devices and, in turn, realize even greater savings on hardware.

Lastly, because DaaS applications and desktops can be accessed anywhere, businesses can adopt remote work practices and, consequently, eliminate costs for office space, electricity, air conditioning, and several other operational expenses.

Parallels RAS and DaaS

Parallels RAS fully supports on-premises and hybrid cloud, and organizations can leverage the several deployment models according to their needs and budget. Enable seamless access for users from any device and HTML5 browser, while keeping the security to a high standard, by choosing a DaaS provider.

For example, if an organization is on a medium scale, let’s say, 100 ‒ 500 employees, then the budget to use a DaaS provider will be much less than buying or upgrading the workstations. In addition, DaaS will allow the users to work remotely which could benefit both the organization and the users.

On the other hand, if a service provider was to provide DaaS to its customers then Parallels RAS can be integrated to provide a seamless pay-as-you-go experience by automating the process through the REST API implemented in V17.

Download Parallels RAS today to provide or improve your DaaS experience for your users!


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