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What is Desktop as a Service (DaaS)? | Anunta Tech

What is Desktop as a Service (DaaS)?

Desktop as a Service (DaaS) is a virtual desktop deployment model in which the virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) technology is hosted on cloud. It allows organizations to deliver cloud-hosted desktops to their employees and provides them access to their enterprise applications and data from any device, any location and at any time. Gartner defines Desktop as a service (DaaS) as an offering that provides users with an on-demand, virtualized desktop experience delivered from a remotely hosted location. It includes provisioning, patching and maintenance of the management plane and resources to host workloads.

In DaaS, the storage, network resources, and other support infrastructure are hosted in the cloud. A DaaS service provider streams the applications and data over a network to the end-users’ devices through thin/zero clients, where the employees can access their desktop through a client software or a web browser with the necessary authentication.

In the past few months, mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, DaaS adoption has accelerated at a never-before-seen rate as enterprises need to support their remote workers and provide a secure work environment increased significantly. According to Gartner, Desktop as a service (DaaS) market revenue grew by 98% in 2020 compared to 2019, and it is forecast to grow by 68% in 2021. DaaS offers a reliable and cost effective remote working option for enterprises to provide their employees a long-term and sustainable remote working technology that is highly secure and allows employees to access enterprise applications from multiple devices and locations.

What are the benefits of Desktop as a Service (DaaS)?

DaaS can help organizations achieve anytime access to their applications and workloads and change the dynamics of how the employee work. Using DaaS can also help improve the performance and productivity of employees as they are able to securely access the data on any device.

Some of the key benefits of DaaS are as follows:

  • Accessibility and Flexibility :

    Employees can access their applications, desktops, and data over the internet via PC, laptop, tablet, and smartphones from anywhere, keeping them productive, no matter where they work.

  • Agility and Scalability :

    Rapidly scale up and down (bringing hosted desktops online or pushing new applications across a hosted desktop estate) depending on your business needs, whether it is, M&A, staffing temporary workers during peak seasons, managing contractors, or opening branch offices.

  • Business continuity :

    The continuous availability of desktop coupled with the centralized storage and backup of data enables businesses to stay up and running in the event of a natural disaster or any other unforeseen event.

  • Cost control :

    Pay for only what you use through monthly or yearly subscription models. This helps reduce capital expenses by doing away with investment in desktop hardware, servers and licensing and thereby using those funds for more value-added initiatives. Adopting DaaS can also help businesses enjoy more predictable operational expenses.

  • Security :

    Data is held and regularly backed up in a secure hosted environment and so it is secure. DaaS provides users with a secure access point and simplifies desktop and app management processes and procedures.

Frequently Asked Questions related to Desktop as a Service (DaaS) are:

How does desktop as a service work?

How does desktop as a service work? | Anunta Tech
Figure 1: DaaS architecture

Desktop as a Service (DaaS) provides organizations access to enterprise applications and workloads hosted on public or private cloud. The workforce can access their desktops using an internet or via a web-based browser securely on the device of their choice.

DaaS is mostly available as a pay as you go subscription model where organizations pay only for what they consume. The VDI infrastructure is hosted on cloud and is rendered on the device using a thin or zero client.

Standard DaaS providers deliver the virtualization technology while a managed desktop as a service (DaaS) provider takes care of end-to-end implementation and management of the virtual environment. Managed DaaS providers like Anunta provides a complete freedom to organizations from the pains of implementation (provisioning, configuration, and integration) and management (incident and problem management, change and patch updates) of virtual desktops.

What is the difference between VDI and DaaS?

What is the difference between VDI and DaaS? | Anunta Tech
Figure 2: VDI vs DaaS

In Desktop as a Service (DaaS), the desktops and applications are hosted on either a public or private cloud as compared by VDI, where the workloads are hosted on an organization’s own data center. DaaS is a cost-effective option to adopt virtual desktops as no upfront expenditure is required to procure servers, physical spaces, and resources, etc. It is flexible to deploy and supports geographically distributed end-users as compared to VDI where user proximity to data center is required. DaaS can be scaled up at any time without much hassle.

Anunta works with leading enterprises globally to enable workplace transformation by adoption of Desktop as a Service(DaaS) across cloud providers (Microsoft Azure, VMware’s Horizon cloud on Azure, VMC on AWS, Amazon Web Services, and private cloud).

What is the future of workplace using Desktop as a Service (DaaS)?

The future of work has changed as the workplace shifts to home. The need to expand remote work solutions has pushed businesses and their IT teams to re-consider End-User Computing (EUC) technologies like VDI & DaaS.

DaaS is helping organizations to overcome the remote work challenges such as data security, accessibility, and operational issues. With remote working becoming the new normal, DaaS adoption is one way to cater to the organization’s scalability and flexible pricing needs in the long term.

According to Gartner, DaaS adoption is expected to grow at 44% by 2023, contributing to more than 50% of annual spending on Remote Client Computing by 2023.

What are the top use cases for Desktop as a Service?

Desktop as a Service (DaaS) provides most organizations the flexibility to migrate their physical desktops to cloud securely. A few of the common use cases of DaaS which organizations can use include,

  • Security and Compliance

  • Bring your own devices (BYOD)

  • Contractors and Partners (Temporary workers)

  • Contact Centers

  • Desktop and PC Refresh

  • Remote and Branch office workers

  • Field workers (on the go workers)

 

Use cases of Desktop as a Service

Use cases of Desktop as a Service (DaaS)
Figure 3: Use cases of Desktop as a Service

Learn why Anunta’s Managed Desktop as a Service is the right and long-term solution for your business.

Anunta’s Managed Desktop as a Service provides you with fully managed virtual desktops on Cloud platforms of your choice (Azure, Horizon Cloud or AWS) depending on the needs of enterprises. Provide your workforce the power of cloud desktops as a secure, sustainable, and scalable solution for remote working.

Top Desktop as a Service Providers

Anunta is the only managed desktop as a service provider (DaaS) provider to feature as a representative vendor in Gartner Market Guide for DaaS among other DaaS providers mentioned in the list by Gartner. The Market Guide provides an overview about DaaS market and shares a list of representative vendors, including Anunta.

What differentiates Anunta from competitors?

Anunta is a recognized specialist and a leading managed desktop as a service provider focused on managed desktops and digital workspaces. Anunta offers an end-to-end design, implementation, and management of cloud hosted desktops for clients globally.

Anunta’s Managed DaaS services include:

  • Managed Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD):

    Provisioning and integrating Customer-specific Azure VMs (multi-session or single session or Server OS-RDS) and management of the newly virtualized environment to address teething issues.

  • Managed Horizon Desktop:

    End to end implementation and management of virtual desktops on the VMware’s Horizon platforms (Horizon 7, Horizon Cloud on Azure, Horizon Cloud on IBM SoftLayer) and VMware Cloud on AWS.

  • Managed Citrix Desktop:

    Implementation and management of secure managed desktop solution on Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops.

How Managed DaaS is different from DaaS?

Typical DaaS solution provides organizations with the hardware infrastructure and software with basic support but leaves the enterprise’s IT teams to deal with setting up and managing the virtual desktops. This includes provisioning, configuration, integration, migration, and management which require specialized expertise often not available in-house. Anunta’s Managed DaaS provides end to end delivery of the desktops on the cloud with comprehensive 24X7 support and takes away all the pain of managing the new environment.

Common FAQs on Desktop as a Service

Desktop as a Service for SMB

Anunta Managed DaaS is available for both enterprises and small-medium businesses (SMBs). Anunta’s DesktopReady is a fully managed virtual desktop solution built on the inherently secure and high-performing Azure® cloud. DesktopReady requires no upfront capital expenditure or separate setup costs. Request a demo for DesktopReady.

At first glance, the manufacturing industry may not appear as well positioned as other sectors to take full advantage of cloud services such as virtual desktops. Manufacturers tend to have highly complex and customized IT infrastructures that — to a greater degree than those in other industries — are tightly connected to physical factory equipment.

That means manufacturers cannot simply lift-and-shift IT resources into the cloud in the way that companies might in industries where IT infrastructure is not so tightly coupled with factories and other physical infrastructure.

Nonetheless, manufacturers stand to benefit from cloud services just as much as companies that operate in other industries. Indeed, many manufacturers have already made the jump to cloud-centric IT strategies, and those that have not will find it challenging to keep scaling and optimizing their IT estates.

Desktop infrastructure challenges for manufacturers

The typical manufacturing company faces several special challenges related to desktop infrastructure.

One is the need for ultra-reliable and responsive applications on the factory floor. When a PC hosting application that detects defective items within an assembly line goes down for even just a few minutes or takes longer than a second or two to scan items, the consequences can be far-reaching. Allowing defective items to move down the chain places the entire manufacturing operation at risk. To avoid issues like these, manufacturers must achieve levels of uptime and performance that exceed the standards of many other industries.

Integrating data from disparate systems to drive collaboration between stakeholders is another key challenge for manufacturing. To optimize operations, product designers and engineers must have continuous visibility into the state of the shop floor. But given the distributed nature of teams and the desktop infrastructure on which they rely, it can be difficult to design systems that avoid silos and make it easy for all stakeholders to collaborate over a shared platform.

A final major challenge is security. Manufacturers must guarantee the physical security of their IT infrastructure, which can be difficult when that infrastructure is spread across multiple manufacturing sites and cannot be neatly tucked inside a data centre, as it would be in most other industries. At the same time, the highly distributed and heterogeneous nature of manufacturing infrastructure makes it hard to apply across-the-board compliance and security rules to all desktop systems.

How manufacturers are leveraging the cloud

Manufacturers are already turning to the cloud to help meet these and other challenges associated with their IT infrastructure. Worldwide, around two-thirds of enterprises in this industry have adopted public or private cloud platforms of some kind, according to IDC.

The number is lower in India, where cloud adoption within manufacturing stands at around 22 percent. Nonetheless, that figure is expected to more than double over the coming decade.

It is easy to see why manufacturers are turning the cloud in increasing numbers. With SLA promises that routinely exceed 99 percent — and in many cases reach 99.999 percent or higher — public cloud services promise rates of availability that are difficult to match when working with on-premises infrastructure.

Why and How Manufacturers Are Embracing Cloud Desktops

At the same time, the unlimited scalability of the cloud ensures that workloads always have the resources they need to work at peak performance and process data quickly, even during periods of unexpectedly high demand.

The cloud also provides a central point of collaboration where all stakeholders can store, view, and share data with each other. Instead of devoting a different IT infrastructure to each team and awkwardly linking them together, manufacturers can leverage the cloud as a single platform that accommodates all IT needs for the business.

Security, too, becomes simpler when companies move away from on-prem infrastructure in favour of cloud services that do not require physical security management, and that also deliver a higher degree of uniformity — thereby making it easier to apply standardized security rules across them.

Use case example: Virtual desktop infrastructure for manufacturing

As an example of the cloud at work within manufacturing, consider a client that Anunta helped to transition away from conventional desktops into hosted virtual desktops. The company, which manufactures consumer products and has hundreds of locations spread across India, was struggling with its previous desktop infrastructure, which suffered downtime rates as high as 10 percent, poor security enforcement and frequent data loss, among other issues.

By moving the manufacturer to virtual desktop infrastructure, Anunta was able to achieve a dramatic improvement in availability, which now exceeds 99 percent. The rate of IT incidents has also dropped by nearly a factor of ten, and security and compliance have been standardized across the company’s desktop infrastructure.

The result is faster and more reliable manufacturing operations, with a much lower risk that problems with desktop infrastructure will disrupt the company’s ability to ensure that all stakeholders in the manufacturing process have access to the applications and data they need, when they need it. Read the complete success story here.

Conclusion: Cloud and the future of manufacturing

It may be unrealistic to expect most manufacturers to move all their infrastructure to the cloud. They will always need some IT resources located at manufacturing sites (which is one reason why hybrid cloud architectures, which allow businesses to combine on-premises resources with cloud services, have grown popular in this sector).

Overall, however, the cloud offers enormous promise to help manufacturers overcome the reliability, performance, security, and other challenges they face from their existing IT systems. Going forward, the cloud is poised to play an ever-greater role in enabling agility and scalability for manufacturing, just as it has across other industries.

Key Takeaways

  • Cloud has become an indispensable part of the DNA of education due to Covid-19.
  • Cloud desktops enable students to access courses and materials, as well as collaborate with teachers and peers with minimal bandwidth and data transfer requirements.
  • Virtual desktop provides an effective boundary for the device, better administrative control and maintenance of anti-virus, thereby enhancing the security.

How have the cloud and virtual desktops impacted student learning?

Education systems, ranging from primary schools to universities, struggle with how to best address student learning in a secure, consistent manner, with an eye for budgetary considerations. Cloud has played an increasingly important role addressing educational needs in response to Covid-19 and will likely continue to expand in the future.

Forced Learnings from Covid-19

Covid-19 radically forced major changes in student learning. Almost overnight, educators were required to transition all traditional classroom instruction to distance learning. Operational challenges that initially plagued education administrators ranged from lack of student computing devices, poor internet access, budgets, and cloud expertise. As those items were quickly addressed, the benefits of cloud-based virtual desktops and remote learning systems ultimately overcame those challenges and fostered success.

Covid-19 radically forced major changes in student learning. Almost overnight, educators were required to transition all traditional classroom instruction to distance learning.

Once students became accustomed to attending virtual classroom instruction, communicating virtually, and uploading homework assignments to cloud-based repositories, cloud become an indispensable part of the DNA of education. The education community realized some expected as well as some unexpected benefits that continue to drive cloud adoption in the education sector.

Cloud Benefits

Cloud provides immediate access to infrastructure, including resource bursts. Rather than invest heavily in hardware and infrastructure, cloud computing enables education entities to rent virtual desktop services. When Covid-19 struck, technical staff didn’t have the time or energy to create or expand physical on-premises data centers to address the new normal associated with highly demanding compute services. Having cloud infrastructure readily available expedited the transition to remote learning and virtual desktops while minimizing technical administration requirements.

While in-person learning will likely always be the gold standard, cloud computing enables students to access courses and materials, as well as collaborate with teachers and peers. The virtual desktop that is assigned to the student presents these resources centrally with minimal bandwidth and data transfer requirements. Of course, internet service is required, but students living in households with internet data caps or less than stellar service speeds can still access learning materials.

Education has become more dynamic due to the cloud. New or updated courseware can easily be made available to address student needs by adding these materials to the virtual desktop golden image and propagating it for access. The next time that the student logs in, the updates are automatically presented as part of the virtual desktop.

Cloud Adoption for Education
Cloud Adoption for Education

Resolving student computing issues is often as simple as logging off and logging in fresh, resulting in very minimal technical interruption to student learning. Educators have their hands full with teaching students, and assisting with technical support issues should not be part of their daily work. When issues arise, it is often unnecessary to delve into what the student may have done within the virtual desktop or why or asking the student to contact technical support. Instead, a quick logoff/login addresses the majority of issues because a fresh virtual desktop is presented to the student within the new session.

Virtual desktops are instrumental in creating a standard computing platform and thus levelling the playing field for students because the physical device is largely irrelevant. Students with basic devices, such as a Google Chromebook, access the same virtual desktop as students with more robust Windows or Mac devices. Once the student accesses the virtual desktop, the resources allocated to that virtual desktop uniformly manage the user experience.

Securing Student Resources

The virtual desktop should be easy for the student to use, and it must be a secure resource. Virtual desktops provide students with access to educational resources without the need to install applications on the student computer; the student only needs to access the virtual desktop by means of a browser or inherent Remote Desktop functionality. Further, an SSL/TLS connection is initiated prior to login and for the duration of the session, and thus the virtual desktop is securely presented to the student.

The virtual desktop itself is administratively controlled and protected. Many students don’t understand system security and haphazardly access malicious web sites and/or download unsafe content to their personal devices. Consequently, viruses, trojans, or malware may infiltrate the physical device, but this does not impact the virtual desktop. This is because in addition to administrative control and maintenance of anti-virus, the virtual desktop provides an effective boundary from the student device and thus greatly enhances security.

The Future of Cloud Adoption for Education

As in-person classroom instruction resumes, usage of the cloud within the education sector will have a significant presence. Education entities will further appreciate that they can offer students better learning services by means of virtual desktops, and a blend of traditional learning with cloud-based services will become the new normal. Especially as the library of education material increases, desktops–whether due to necessity or preference–will continue to be a valid solution for many students.

If you hadn’t heard of cloud desktops before the pandemic, you probably have by now. Cloud desktop services are among the fastest-growing niches within cloud computing, and analysts believe that more and more workers will rely on cloud desktops to do their jobs going forward.

But what will the actual adoption process look like as more organizations embrace cloud desktops? Will it take months or years for most businesses to get cloud desktops fully up and rolling, as it does with many other types of cloud services?

The answer may surprise you. In many ways, the cloud desktop adoption lifecycle is simpler and more flexible than the adoption lifecycle for conventional cloud services. Businesses can move their employees to cloud desktops in days or weeks, not months or years. Just as important, they can scale cloud desktop infrastructure back down almost instantaneously if their needs change.

If your business wants to take advantage of cloud desktops, but you are worried about a slow and complicated adoption process, read on. As this article explains, cloud desktop adoption is much simpler than you may think.

What is the cloud adoption lifecycle?

The cloud adoption lifecycle is a concept that describes the phases organizations go through as they migrate to most types of cloud-based technologies. Those phases include:

  • Evaluation of cloud services.
  • Implementation of a small-scale proof-of-concept.
  • The planning of a broader cloud strategy.
  • Implementation of the broader strategy.
  • Ongoing expansion of cloud environments, including possibly the extension to include other cloud platforms.
  • Cloud maturity, which happens when the organization has fully achieved the benefits it sought from the cloud.


Fig. 1: A representation of the phases in a cloud adoption lifecycle.

Every organization’s cloud adoption path is different, of course, so you should think of the cloud adoption lifecycle as a basic outline of the steps that companies typically take rather than a strict script. Still, it’s a useful concept for thinking through the ways that companies actually go about taking advantage of the cloud once they have set their minds to it.

The adoption lifecycle for cloud desktops

Traditionally, the cloud adoption lifecycle centered around simple cloud computing services, like storage and virtual machines. Companies moving to those technologies generally follow a cloud adoption lifecycle similar to the one described above.

When it comes to cloud desktops, however, the adoption lifecycle can look very different, in two keyways:

  • Speed: Because companies can launch fully managed and professionally supported cloud desktops in a matter of hours, they can complete the adoption lifecycle in days, not months.
  • Flexibility: One of the powerful advantages of cloud desktops is that businesses only need to use them (and, by extension, pay for them) when they need them. They can scale up or down, vertically, or horizontally, with ease. This is not so much the case with other types of cloud services, where it’s hard to move VMs back on-prem, for instance.

Both of these features mean that companies can quickly adopt cloud desktops when they need to scale their desktop infrastructure quickly — as many did during the Covid-19 crisis, for example — without the long planning and proof-of-concept phases that form part of the conventional cloud adoption lifecycle.

Crisis and cloud desktop adoption

Indeed, part of the reason cloud desktops are currently experiencing explosive growth is that their easy adoption cycle makes them an ideal solution for companies struggling to maintain continuity in difficult times.

The Covid pandemic is one obvious example of a situation in which rapid cloud desktop adoption enabled companies to cope with the situation by extending their desktop infrastructure very quickly to support a remote workforce. Not only did cloud desktops allow businesses to keep their employees productive when they could no longer work on-site, but cloud desktop services also ensured the security of business data and applications. Rather than asking employees to work from personal devices that are difficult to secure, businesses were able to turn to cloud desktop platforms that are centrally monitored and managed to ensure security.

Beyond Covid, cloud desktops are also a safeguard against more mundane disruptions, such as data center failure that could be caused by monsoons or other extreme weather events. When desktops run in a public cloud like Azure, they can be hosted in data centers located anywhere in the world. If one region — like northwest India, for example — is impacted by severe weather, cloud desktops can be moved almost instantaneously to a different data center that exists in a separate cloud region to protect business continuity.

Businesses may choose to gain even greater levels of continuity by taking a multi cloud approach to cloud desktops. A company could choose to leverage cloud desktops from both Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Azure or any public cloud platform, for instance, in order to maintain desktop availability in the event that one of those providers experiences a disruption.

Rapid adoption with minimal investment

Adding to the agility of cloud desktop adoption is the fact that cloud desktop services like Anunta’s Cloud Desktops are priced using a pay-as-you-go model. This means companies pay only for the desktops they need, when they need them. There is no fixed term or upfront investment required.

Thus, for businesses that want the option of scaling their desktop infrastructure up rapidly, when necessary, but don’t want to tie up enormous capital to guarantee that scalability, cloud desktops offer a compelling solution.

Conclusion: Why cloud desktops are here to stay

It’s easy to see how the easy and flexible adoption process described above makes cloud desktops an obvious choice for businesses seeking to navigate the ongoing uncertainty that they face at present.

By making it possible to scale desktop infrastructure up with the flip of a virtual switch, while at the same time avoiding major capital investments or long-term contracts, cloud desktop solutions such as Anunta’s Cloud Desktops offer a fresh take on the meaning of cloud adoption.

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