Are you still unsure about the basics of virtual desktops? We’ve got you covered.
Our business.com expert community member Jason Bergeron, CEO of Stratify LLC, has 25 years of experience in IT and more than 15 years of experience running an IT consulting firm. We asked him some of the industry’s most common questions.
Q: What is DaaS, and how does it work?
DaaS is a solution where the virtual desktop is delivered, but you do not have to purchase or support the infrastructure and software to deliver the virtual desktop. DaaS has also been referred to as “hosted desktop services.” It is very similar to a VDI setup where you just must have hardware to load the VDI, but the VDI is delivered from the cloud.
Q: What’s the difference between DaaS and a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)?
With a VDI, you must purchase the servers, software and supporting hardware. You are then performing the install, configuration and support of the system. With DaaS, you are paying for a cloud-delivered and -supported virtual desktop solution. Your main concerns are the hardware for the user and connectivity. Also, VDI doesn’t have the performance of DaaS. A DaaS deployment can allow you to save a significant amount of budget (almost 50%). DaaS is an outsourced VDI solution.
Q: Which DaaS provider(s) are best for small and medium-sized businesses?
Amazon WorkSpaces, VMWare Horizon Cloud, Citrix XenDesktop and Microsoft Virtual Desktop are the best solutions. These companies have been involved in this business for as long as anyone.
Q: What are the key aspects of DaaS to look for when choosing a desktop solution?
The phrase “DaaS” refers to the solution being cloud-hosted. The major factors are reliability, uptime, backup and failover. If you are working in a DaaS environment, you want to minimize or eliminate downtime. Reliability is a functioning solution that is easily expandable, and resources fluctuate based on load. Uptime relates to having a solution that doesn’t lose connectivity and/or isn’t accessible.
Backups are important from a corruption standpoint. If your OS is corrupted, what do you lose, and how long does it take you to get back up and running? As it relates to failover, if a rack, a server and/or connectivity is lost, you can remain functional without skipping a beat.
Q: How has DaaS progressed and developed throughout the years?
DaaS started with companies providing a Citrix-type desktop across 56K connection. Microsoft then developed their Remote Desktop technology to compete with Citrix. It then evolved to companies that were providing virtual desktops to their own enterprise. As the cost of cloud came down, technology evolved, and high-speed internet connection became more available, the logical next step was to host the entire solution in the cloud.
The primary benefits include not having to have the staff to support on-premise servers, lower cost of support, and the ability to have better protection from cybersecurity attacks.
Q: Should a small business choose a big-name provider that offers DaaS? Or are big-name providers more suitable for enterprises?
Amazon WorkSpaces and Microsoft Azure are at the top of the list when it comes to hosting anything in the cloud. At the end of the day, the business needs to understand all the pros and cons. If they don’t have internal support, they should look for a technical consulting provider they know and trust that has experience with the solutions. If they have internal support, it depends where you are in the cycle.
For example, if you are currently utilizing an on-premise version of VMware Horizon Cloud, it might be easier to migrate to their solution. Citrix has been in the space forever and is very experienced, but their minimum is 25 seats. If you have 10 to 15 seats, you might want to look at another solution. You should go with what you know and are familiar with. The major issues will happen in the migration. Once the solution is migrated, you shouldn’t have to deal with any further issues.
Q: How can DaaS help a business save money?
Implementing a DaaS solution can save your business money that would have otherwise been spent on the upfront expenses of the traditional, one-time purchase of on-premises equipment. DaaS eliminates bulk hardware purchases and allows businesses to replace hardware when necessary.
Q: How can DaaS help a business become more efficient and productive?
A DaaS solution can help your business become more efficient and productive by providing a global customer reach, rather than restricting itself to only local customers. DaaS can also change the way your employees work and interact with one another. Full-time, part-time and remote employees can access all the information needed to complete their work from anywhere.
How to Implement DaaS
To implement DaaS, it’s best to begin with a free trial or demo to test out the solution and see if it’s right for your company. Most DaaS solutions offer free trials that range from seven days to a few months. After testing the solution, it’s important to consider the number of users who will need access, the types of applications your company requires, the storage and memory capacity you need, and monthly pricing.
In addition to the number of users, recognizing the type of user helps determine your bandwidth requirements for DaaS. While bandwidth requirements vary by DaaS provider, you can perform this calculation to analyze your bandwidth utilization if you know your internet connection, file and application size:
Bandwidth in Kbps x 0.8 / User type high value
(factoring 80% utilization of total bandwidth)
For example, if you have a standard high-value user of about 150Kbps with a total bandwidth of 1500Kbps, you could host eight concurrent users on a T1 line.
Bandwidth = T1 = 1.5Mbps = 1500Kbps
1500 x 0.8 / 150 = 8 concurrent users on a T1