By Scott Arnold, Product Manager, Cloud Computing, Evolve IP
Today’s offices are no longer exclusively physical spaces. The drive to create efficient and scalable remote work solutions is currently pushing advances in IT infrastructure options for businesses. While organizations still need to manage physical devices on a network, the current shift toward “work from home” is creating a demand for advanced virtual solutions.
Virtual desktop technology allows employees to securely connect, share, and collaborate using the devices they want, all on the cloud so they can work anywhere. While virtualized computer access is nothing new, advances in desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) offer next-gen solutions for managing remote and distant workforces, plus monitoring the DaaS end user experience for optimal adoption.
Let’s explore DaaS in cloud computing, discover some need-to-know information, and learn how this technology can help your team plug in.
What is DaaS in Cloud Computing?
DaaS solutions commonly offer a virtualized desktop running a Windows operating system experience for workers. Everything happens remotely using cloud computing technology. Instead of IT teams leveraging complex networks of personal and work-only devices, DaaS provides employees with the mobility and flexibility they need to get work done, regardless of physical location.
All the cloud-based desktop services are deployed in data centers on servers separate from the physical devices used to access the desktop. With DaaS solutions, workers can easily access a virtual desktop using their smartphone, laptop, tablet, or other internet-capable mobile devices.
A few different solutions for virtual desktops are available. These range from fully managed DaaS solutions, where the totality of configuration and management happens through the vendor, to client-defined DaaS, to client managed configuration and maintenance. Regardless of configuration, the best DaaS options always leverage cloud computing to provide remote access to workers.
Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage (cloud storage) and computing power, without direct active management by the user. Large clouds often have functions distributed over multiple locations, each location being a data center. Cloud computing relies on the sharing of resources to achieve coherence and typically using a “pay-as-you-go” model, which can help in reducing capital expenses but may also lead to unexpected operating expenses for unaware users. That’s why working with a fully vetted, reputable managed DaaS provider is key to a seamless and stress-free design and implementation of this must-have hybrid workplace solution.
VDI vs. DaaS: Key Differences Explained
Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and DaaS look similar on the surface. However, a deeper investigation will reveal that VDI and DaaS are different — mainly in management, ownership, and maintenance needs.
With VDI, IT teams leverage hosted desktop server infrastructure systems on-premises, in the cloud, or a mixture of the two. At its core, VDI gives access to virtual desktops in a self-managed configuration, meaning the company’s IT department is responsible for hardware maintenance, upgrades, and general upkeep.
While DaaS is essentially VDI, what makes it unique is that DaaS solutions can manage and provide access to virtual desktops with cloud computing. Some DaaS solutions offer flexibility in hosting configuration, but most will be fully hosted. You’ll find a few more key differences when shopping the two virtual desktop options:
- Cost — VDI, with the need for data centers and IT department management, tends to be more expensive than DaaS. VDI will have higher upfront costs, but DaaS solutions usually use a pay-per-user subscription or other pricing models.
- Control Management — If you’re looking for maximum control, VDI offers the most options, giving IT teams complete control of onsite servers. While you don’t enjoy as much control with DaaS, the trade-off is less pressure on IT and better security because infrastructure maintenance and management are offsite and managed by a team of experts.
- Flexibility and Scalability — DaaS is the winner in terms of flexibility, as service providers handle the integrations for your company. With VDI, every change in technology or software needs means more resource spending and work for an IT department.
What to Look for in DaaS Providers
While DaaS may be a more attractive option than VDI for your company, you’ll still need to make some decisions about partnering with a qualified provider. Before you start your search, make sure you answer the following questions:
- What do your current computing needs look like? What are you hoping a DaaS solution will address?
- How do you intend to divide IT management responsibilities? What will the relationship between your company and the cloud service provider (CSP) look like in practice?
- Are security and compliance issues a primary concern? What kind of security and compliance features does your company require?
How to Utilize DaaS Solutions in Your Cloud Workspace
According to the IDG 2020 Cloud Computing Study, around 90% of organizations are currently using cloud computing in some capacity and 55% are using multiple cloud services. The shift to cloud-based IT infrastructure isn’t some far-off dream; it’s our reality now.
When it comes to utilizing DaaS in cloud computing in your organization, you’ll need to decide how you’ll segment your DaaS solutions. We’ve already touched on this idea earlier, and it comes down to how much control you give to your IT department:
- Client-defined — More internal control, less responsibility on the vendor-side. More work for internal IT teams but more control over management features.
- Vendor-defined — The vendor will manage most of the upfront configuration, but your IT department will still need to configure for virtual machines used by employees.
- Managed DaaS — With managed DaaS, the vendor handles most responsibilities for both configuration and management. This includes everything from patching to technical support for the end user.
Another aspect of DaaS utilization you’ll need to address is delivery. You’ll choose between personal or pooled. For personal, a one-to-one configuration means every user has their own assigned virtual machine. A pooled solution groups together a larger desktop system to deliver a many-to-one solution. While users can still see some level of personalization in their virtual desktop, it’s not the same as personal delivery.
DaaS Uses in Hybrid and Remote Workforce Models
If DaaS is starting to look like an attractive solution for your company, you may still wonder about real-world uses. Let’s explore some common uses for DaaS that can benefit any business trying to support work-from-home capabilities and fully remote workforces:
- Streamlined remote work — DaaS allows employees to log in and work from anywhere in the world. Moreover, with DaaS, teams can efficiently resolve mobility changes like security and data compliance issues.
- DaaS in high-growth environments — Instead of costly internal changes during growth, teams utilizing DaaS solutions can run thousands of up-to-date digital workspaces without needing to buy new hardware, update software, or use up the IT department’s precious time. Recently, lead times for new hardware has been significantly impacted by the current chip shortage, making planning for additional resources even that more challenging.
- Tackle challenges posed by laptops and desktops — Employee devices are a constant source of security concerns. With DaaS, employees securely store files and data in the cloud and not on the local device /endpoint.
- Enable BYOD — Bring your own device (BYOD) allows employees to use their personal devices on company networks. DaaS gives employees unparalleled access to virtual desktops, regardless of what device they want to use.
Get Involved with Evolve IP
DaaS in cloud computing can provide your organization with access to virtual desktops to better manage remote workforces with ease. Evolve IP is here to help your company seamlessly integrate unified communications into your everyday operations. This includes virtual desktop technology, call center tools, and much more, to fully manage your hybrid workforce. Contact our team today to get started with a free consultation.
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