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How to choose the best hosted virtual desktop provider?

There are multiple virtual desktop providers – the major players being Microsoft, VMware, and Citrix. You can consider the following factors or parameters while choosing a hosted desktop provider:

  • Availability: The provider must offer a near to 100% uptime and reliability of the systems.
  • Security: The data accessed by the provider must be secured and protected.
  • Industry Compliance: The workload supported by the provider must be compliant to industry standards like HIPAA, PCI. The provider must have deep domain experience in regulated environments.
  • Performance Requirements: Based on the usage, you must ensure that the provider is capable to meet your specific performance requirements. High end usage like graphics-intensive applications, such as computer-aided design, editing, will require a graphics processing unit (GPU) as part of their hosted desktop configuration to achieve the desired level of performance.

Organizations are increasingly adopting cloud infrastructure for remote work. The IT teams or the MSP need to monitor the cloud infrastructure environment, which includes the health status, availability, and the performance of the devices in addition to detecting and rectifying the issues. There are different desktop and application monitoring tools to monitor cloud-based infrastructure.

Anunta’s EuVantage® is a patented SaaS-based AIOps platform for End User Computing infrastructures that simplifies the management and delivery of virtualized desktops and applications, whether hosted on private or public cloud. Its unique differentiator is its analytics, the cross-domain visibility and correlation it generates and the overall end-user-centric approach, which results in up to 70% reduction in Mean-Time-To-Resolution (MTTR). EuVantage provides on-demand, end-user-centric view of the application delivery infrastructure, adaptive analytics and smart dashboards for actionable insights, and actionable reports enabling proactive management.

What is the difference between DaaS and a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)?

The following table describes the difference between DaaS and VDI:

VDI DaaS
Hosting Desktops and applications are hosted on the organization’s own servers and data centers. Desktops and applications are hosted on a cloud service (public or private).
Investment Invest huge amount on infrastructure (such as data centres, servers, physical spaces) and resources to manage the infrastructure. Avoid the huge upfront investment of infrastructure and resources and need to pay only for services consumed.
Deployment Deployment is complex and time-consuming. Flexible and faster deployment.
Geography Proximity to data centre is highly important to prevent end-user performance issues arising from high latency and low bandwidth. Supporting geographically distributed end-users is easier as data and applications are stored in cloud.
Upgrade & Maintenance 3-4 Years of Refresh Cycles Easily re-configurable
Scalability Adding new desktops is a tedious process. Scaling up can be done within minutes.

Remote working is no longer optional as the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has pushed global organizations to quickly adopt the new ways of working. As the focus shifts from office cubicle to the comforts of home for work, employee productivity, seamless communication and collaboration, accessibility to enterprise applications, and data security emerge as the primary concerns for most organizations. Organizations will have to choose the right technology that is sustainable, secure, and scalable to adapt to the changing needs of businesses in the long-term. Here’s an infographic that shows the major trends in workplace technologies.

Cloud Adoption & DaaS Adoption | Workplace Transformation Trends

Digital Workplace trends have put IT and HR leaders under pressure to introduce greater End-User Computing (EUC) choices including Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to attract and retain the brightest and best talent into their organizations. Employees increasingly prefer to use their own devices at work and as a result managing devices and ensuring secure application availability has become complicated and challenging for IT managers. This is making the traditional office infrastructure unsuitable to match the expectations of both businesses and end-users and demands a move to a digital workplace that is flexible to address worker and business demands.

A Cloud-hosted desktop delivered “As a Service,” or DaaS (Desktop as a Service) has emerged as a viable and comprehensive solution for enterprises. While DaaS offers hardware and software components for managing devices, it leaves IT teams to struggle with day to day operational management. However, Managed DaaS enables enterprises to unburden internal operations management of IT infrastructure, thereby enabling IT managers to focus on strategic issues related to business growth and profitability. Managed DaaS provides enterprises with end-to-end implementation and management of digital workplace while ensuring secure and high application availability and superior end-user experiences.

Managed DaaS, the Digital Workplace Enabler

DaaS deployment and management, typically, is a specialized task requiring a complex set of skills and resources. It comes with its own set of complexities in implementation and management such as,

  • Provisioning of underlying network architecture & existing resources
  • Workload configuration, applications & Peripheral integration
  • OS migration & UAT testing
  • Adapting group-based policies, governance, compliance & licensing
  • Managing TCO and Stringent SLAs
  • Virtualized environment monitoring & Round-the-clock support

To address the complexities, it is important for enterprises to Choose a Managed DaaS Provider (MDP). An effective Managed DaaS Provider can address the struggles in achieving quick scalability, managing application compatibility, simplifying varied use cases, improving the application performance, and striking the right balance between flexibility vs. stability.

Choosing the Managed DaaS Provider

It is important to choose the right implementation and management partner in order to avoid frequent business disruptions, increase in talent attrition, decrease in user productivity leading to poor business outcomes. Choosing the right MDP can provide a seamless workload transition and enhance end-user experiences multifold. The following section outlines key factors necessary to evaluate the right MDP:

  • Technical Competency
  • Focus on Compliance & Security
  • Keeping you in business – Backup & Disaster recovery
  • End-to-End support
  • Price versus Absolute Value

Technical Competency

The right MDP should demonstrate competence in rightsizing and resource allocation as per the business needs of an enterprise. The ability to establish a well-structured workload migration process and cloud adoption roadmap are essential factors for evaluation.

The provider should address typical technical issues like Bandwidth, network connection speed, failover facility, latency-related concerns, remote access for far-off areas, and BYOD-compliance.

A provider with strong cross-domain expertise and experience across leading virtualization technology platforms, network technologies, Cloud platforms, Active Directory, and Server Management capabilities can enable faster rollouts of applications. This can maximize application availability and ensure minimal business disruption.

Post-implementation 24x7x365 monitoring and management are equally critical for the success of any DaaS implementation. Resolving critical end-user issues on priority in conjunction with the enterprise IT will ensure a satisfying end-user experience. The MDP that provides an outcome-oriented SLA will be accountable to address user issues promptly.

As a recognized specialist in implementing end-user computing solutions, Anunta has implemented some of the most varied use cases across industry verticals. Anunta offers a structured adoption plan with complete ownership of the EUC transformation from discovery and migration to complete stabilization of the environment.

Delivered through its state of the art, highly secure network operations center, Anunta successfully manages 80,000+ end-points for 120,000+ end-users globally while ensuring an application availability of 99.98%.

Focus on Compliance & Security

Due to the dramatic increase in the risk of identity theft and security breaches, enterprises need to adhere to strict regulations, local laws, and protocols.

Managed DaaS providers should ensure compliance with the organization’s security guidelines, local device directives, cloud-related industry mandates, government ordinances, licensing, and group policies. A structured process to proactively implement security measures to prevent malware intrusions, ransomware attacks, data cross-contamination, and hacking will help to avoid any data leaks from the organization.

The MDP should have organized processes to implement security access, define user roles and group memberships for security and compliance during designing of the DaaS architecture.

Anunta implements established protocols and procedures, periodic risk assessments and external audits, KPI measurement, recertification audits and regular surveillance in line with ISMS and ISTM certifications and HIPAA-compliance.

End-to-End Support

In a newly virtualized environment, factors like patch upgrades, security updates, change management, troubleshooting, and monitoring of cloud desktop environments are critical. The Managed DaaS provider should ensure that these factors are consistently and promptly addressed to ensure consistency in operation and enhanced end-user experience.

The availability of 24×7 monitoring and support by the MDP can ensure the infrastructure is up and running at all times without business disruption. Proactively identifying performance, capacity, and configuration issues with the availability of helpdesk, is necessary to ensure quick resolution of issues.

The MDP should have the ability to manage all incidents and perform Root Cause Analysis (RCA) to prevent recurrence of issues. The MDP should work towards continually to improve performance and minimize the impact of change-related incidents on service quality.

As an end to end implementation and managed services provider, Anunta enables its customers through a metric-driven approach to deliver an unmatched end-user experience. Anunta’s Managed Services offerings include, smart monitoring through its patented AIOps platform – EuVantage, a 24×7 service desk, and a team of experts to deal with incident-, problem-, change-, and patch-management.

Backup & Disaster Recovery

Outages, natural calamities, or data center failures are unexpected issues that adversely impact business continuity. The Managed DaaS provider should implement failover mechanisms, to enable users to work with minimum downtime. The ability to provide Back-up and Disaster recovery facilities will maintain business continuity.

Since end-users use their own devices while working from home or remote areas, the Managed DaaS Provider should empower end-users to work from anywhere and on any device. The MDP should also specify if Backup and Disaster recovery facility is an integral part of their offering. Any additional fee for backup and disaster recovery should be disclosed at the proposal stage.

Anunta’s systems are configured for automatic backup to ensure business continuity avoiding disruption to operations. Anunta incorporates latest BYOD trends, thereby facilitating remote usage using different devices.

Commercial vs. Absolute Value

The MDP should present different pricing models based on number of users and resources utilized such as per user per month pricing or pay as you go model, and fixed cost. When evaluating commercial proposals, enterprises should focus on the potential impact of outcomes like higher application availability, improved service levels, consistency of performance, ease-of-management, and immersive end-user experience rather than the stated service cost.

The MDP should demonstrate complete transparency in presenting pricing vs. absolute value. They should ensure a reduced Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) by eliminating associated and hidden costs. The focus should be on converting CAPEX expenditure to OPEX model with an outcome-oriented SLA.

Anunta delivers its customers more than 99.98% application availability and resolves most incidents before they impact the users. Anunta offers productivity-oriented SLAs along with flexible commercial model – Per-user/month or Per Endpoint/Month or Pay as you go.

Taking the final decision

The process of choosing a Managed DaaS Provider should include immense planning and foresight from a long-term perspective. Onboarding the right provider means enterprises can expect a superior user experience with zero business disruption while gaining significant savings on the cost. Enterprise should prepare their own custom checklist based on the criteria discussed earlier in the paper to evaluate a provider that will ensure uninterrupted operations and deliver a superior end-user experience.

Anunta Technologies is a recognized specialist in end-to-end DaaS implementation and management, and always focused on delivering a great end-user experience. With deep domain expertise, our team of experts designs sustainable EUC roadmaps that solve the unique challenges of your business, opening up a world of possibilities.

Learn more about our solutions and services at https://www.anuntatech.com.

FAQs

What is DAAS networking?

Desktop as a Service or DaaS is a virtual desktop deployment model in which a service provider offers virtual desktops on-demand over the Internet. The virtual desktop infrastructure is hosted on the cloud and delivered to end-users with a per-user subscription.

Some businesses may find it too heavy on their budget and resources to create their own virtual desktop infrastructure. A DaaS service provider can help them by taking care of the backend management, including the maintenance, updates, storage, and backup. They can also handle the security aspects and the desktop applications if needed, or else the end-users can manage them individually.

As all the resources, storage, and support infrastructure are hosted in the cloud, end-users can just stream the applications and data over a network on their devices through a web browser or other software with the necessary authentication.

What is the purpose of DaaS?

A DaaS provider can support organizations with the following purposes.

  • Offer greater flexibility and agility to support new business initiatives
  • Enable applications necessary for work to be run from a browser
  • Expedite the delivery of virtual desktops and applications to end-users by leveraging public cloud infrastructure
  • Enable the management of all virtual applications either running on-premises or clouds from a single control panel
  • Reduce the capital costs as organizations switch to a pay-as-you-go model
  • Eliminates the need for management and deployment of VDI

What companies use DaaS?

Some of the companies that readily shift to the DaaS model are –

Startups: Fast-growing startups usually invest heavily in R&D and customer acquisition efforts leaving them with low capital reserves for administrative overheads. DaaS enables such businesses to invest in cheaper cloud-based solutions, thereby reducing the need for extra staff to manage their VDI, servers, and software or services running them.

Software firms: Software firms may have projects that require employees to run multiple operating systems on a single computer. It is exhausting to juggle between different projects, not to mention the stressful deadlines that come with them. With DaaS, all the processes can be streamlined, helping developers switch back and forth between desktops. This is cost-efficient and speeds up the development as well.

Companies with a remote workforce: Although working remotely improved productivity and employee satisfaction for many companies, security issues remain the biggest challenge. DaaS can help companies support their employees with remote work on their own devices while mitigating security issues.

Project-based businesses: Some businesses work on the seasonal or project-based model. They will usually prefer on-demand staffing for handling those projects. With DaaS, such businesses can add or remove virtual desktops for their staff, depending on the project demands.

How is SaaS different from DaaS?

The SaaS or Software as a Service model delivers a cloud version of a software to the end-user through the Internet. The end-user doesn’t own the software; they can use it on a subscription model by paying for the software license, typically on a per-user basis.

On the other hand, the DaaS is a subscription service delivering virtual desktops that allow authorized users to access their applications and data anywhere and anytime. Thus, DaaS is not limited to a single software like SaaS but offers an entire desktop experience with many applications and associated data to the subscriber. In DaaS, users don’t have to worry about their data storage or backup, but in the SaaS model, users themselves have to store and retrieve the data generated by applications.

Another significant difference between the two is that DaaS users can use a thin client to access the service, while SaaS users have to rely on a fat client with most resources installed locally.

Employees no longer prefer to be glued to their desktops on a 9 to 5 routine but are more adaptive to an environment that offers them the flexibility to work from anywhere. Research confirms that seven out of ten employees globally, work remotely once a week, while more than five out of ten employees work half the week remotely.

While employee work preferences have evolved significantly, it is becoming difficult for enterprises to manage this rise in demand for anytime, anywhere, any device workplace. The most challenging part is to securely provide access to data and business applications to employees at the workplace of their convenience.

To manage the expectation of their employees, organizations will have to embark on their digital workplace transformation journey that adopts an employee centric approach while ensuring zero security threats, flexible work schedule, and high application availability for a superior employee experience and higher business outcomes.

In this post, we have outlined the factors that are accelerating workplace evolution.

  • Increase in number of Smart Devices – The new generation of workforce are avid users of smart devices. With present day smartphones and tablets offering robust computing power, employee prefers access to business applications on their personal devices.
  • End-point Security – End points are vulnerable to unauthorize access and data breach. It needs to be secured to ensure data security and any modern EUC solution must ensure a fully secure endpoint.
  • Centralization of IT – The consolidation of the infrastructure resources offers multiple advantages including simplification of administrative tasks, enhanced security, and improved data management. This permits employees to access all centralized IT resources as per appropriate user privileges without any complexities.
  • Increased Mobility – With employees being always connected, Mobility has enhanced efficiency, productivity, and flexibility for customer facing roles. Enterprises now leverage the benefits and flexibility of device diversity, unified consoles and swift deployment—all in one go.
  • Windows 10 – Windows is mostly commonly used operating system in all enterprises due to its ease of use. The launch of Windows 10 has added versatility and enhanced user experience. With its simplified deployment and evolved user involvement, Windows 10 has quickly found more acceptability within organizations.
  • SaaS Model of Consumption – There is an increasing preference from enterprise users to consume IT (whether software or hardware) in a “pay as you consume” mode and a reluctance to commit heavy upfront capital expenditure as in the past. This relieves IT teams from the burden of software installations, maintenance, and their upgrades.

Anunta, an expertise in virtualization technologies and a track record of transforming and managing 80,000+ endpoints across 100,000+ users for over a decade, can help you reconstruct your workplace for the evolving workforce.

So, how are things changing in your workplace. How do you want to see your workplace evolve?

Tell us, we would love to discuss your workplace transformation goals!!

The journey towards digital workplace is about empowering users with data and applications while ensuring zero business interruption across locations and devices. Organizations need to provide a highly flexible and agile environment to users, wherein they can rapidly access data and applications specific to their work, while the IT teams seamlessly manage the backend including frequent updates and patches without any disruption to end-users. Desktop Virtualization takes a user-centric approach to securely make available data and applications on all types of devices to stakeholders both inside and outside of the organization while at the same time simplifying the backend management process for IT managers.

Desktop Virtualization is a technology that empowers end-users with a virtual computing environment across devices (desktops, laptops, tablets, mobile phone, etc.) and locations thereby delivering a consistent user experience. It ensures a secure, highly available, cost effective desktop infrastructure wherein, end-user desktops are hosted on a centralized server, while ensuring maximum control and security over access and usage of desktops by end-users.

For enterprises, Desktop virtualization offers the following benefits that support their workplace transformation strategy:

  • Device and Location Independence – When we talk about future workplace, organizations must strive to provide absolute work flexibility to their workforce. This means work must be independent of location or device. Virtualization ensures availability of user desktops across several devices and geographically spread locations enabling seamless access to data and applications. This not only helps in improving employee productivity but makes it easier to implement BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) type policies.
  • Cost Optimization – Most transformation projects start with cost as a key metric to success. Desktop virtualization brings down the Capex investments associated with hardware refreshes. Virtualization solutions are not only cost effective on a TCO basis but can also provide opportunities to convert Capex into OpEx if required.
  • Robust Security – Most business or industry verticals are governed or regulated by stringent compliance and security protocols. Complying with all such regulations is essential for business viability, specifically for sectors like Banking & Financial Services and Healthcare. Virtualization provides a computing environment that is highly secure as all data and applications are hosted on the central server and can be monitored and managed centrally.
  • Low Energy Consumption – Since organizations are becoming more responsible and sensitive towards environment sustainability, the CXOs are also looking for alternative options for lowering power consumption. Virtualization brings down energy consumption by use of Thin Clients /Zero Clients which require a little processing power and has lower electric power and cooling requirements.

Every organization is different, and their Desktop virtualization journey is unique to their workplace environment. Desktop virtualization is not one standard size that will fit any organization. It requires a tailored approach to identify use cases, do capacity planning and consider scalability requirements in each situation. Organizations need to understand their workforce requirements and the extent of the workplace transformation they wish to achieve. Desktop virtualization implementation can be complex and challenging process for internal IT teams, and requires specialized skills to design, implement and manage. Collaborating with a full-service partner for Desktop virtualization can help ensure the benefits are delivered and workplace transformation goals achieved.

Anunta, with its deep expertise in design, implementation, and management can enable you to achieve your future workplace vision. Our expertise with virtualization technologies and a track record of transforming and managing 80,000+ endpoints across 100,000+ users for over a decade, make us the partner of choice for leading OEMs, for large, complex transformations.

Organizations today choose End User Computing (EUC) solutions on cloud due to reliability, security, ease of use, scalability and customization offered by the platforms. However, most organizations fail to go beyond the proof of concept (POC) stage in their EUC transformation journey. Here’s an interesting infographic on how organizations can failproof their EUC transformation with Anunta’s Cloud Adoption package.

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