Top 10 benefits of desktop as a service (DaaS)

Nutanix

Wednesday, 01 April, 2020



Companies of all sizes are turning to desktop as a service (DaaS) solutions to satisfy their digital workspace needs. Traditional desktops and laptops are costly and difficult to manage, and they pose significant security challenges.

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) replaces traditional systems with virtual ones powered from your data centre. Many enterprises have successful VDI deployments, but are looking for options that extend their organisation into cloud and reduce management overhead.

DaaS overcomes the challenges of traditional desktop and laptop systems and can serve as a platform to deliver VDI from clouds.

For companies undergoing digital transformation, DaaS is a great way to empower both your end users and your IT teams. End users benefit because they have greater flexibility to work from anywhere, on any device, and collaborate more easily with co-workers, partners, and suppliers.

IT teams benefit because DaaS can simplify VDI integration and delivery while making it easy to add new services to an Enterprise’s digital workspace whenever and wherever you need them at the speed of the business.

This guide explains the top reasons why companies are adopting DaaS to help them succeed on their digital journey.

Reason 1: Eliminate desktop and laptop challenges

Managing and supporting a large number of desktop and laptop workstations with locally installed software is a challenge for companies of all sizes. Employees come and go regularly, and appropriate devices have to be supplied and retrieved.

Keeping close tabs on desktops and laptops, often across numerous physical locations, is difficult, time consuming, and expensive. Each computer needs regular software updates, security fixes, and other additions.

Troubleshooting and repairing failures, backing up data, and providing user support take up even more time. Because hardware evolves quickly, these systems may have a painfully short useful life.

An even bigger concern for most companies is security risks created by physical computing devices with data stored locally. Data security is easily the biggest challenge associated with physical systems. Laptops, in particular, pose a persistent risk.

DaaS addresses these challenges by moving all the heavy lifting into an enterprise or cloud data centre:

  • User applications no longer need to be installed or run locally on each device.
  • Company data remains in your data centre or the cloud where it is more secure.
  • If a physical device fails, the user can simply switch to a different device and pick up where they left off.
     

With DaaS, existing desktops and laptops don’t just go on the garbage heap. Most companies redeploy them as access points where the software required on each system is simpler and easier to standardise, data is no longer stored on internal drives, and user productivity is not dependent on the capabilities or reliability of a particular device.

As a result, the useful lifetime of desktops and laptops is often substantially extended.

Reason 2: Remove the expertise barrier

For many companies, running VDI in-house is subject to operational, performance, and scaling constraints due to a lack of expertise and experience. Smart companies increasingly view DaaS as an elastic complement to existing VDI deployments or an opportunity for continued growth in VDI in hybrid cloud.

Operational challenges. Many IT teams cope daily with a lack of data centre space, budget limitations, and staffing shortages. Your team may already be oversubscribed; hiring experienced administrators and architects — even when your budget allows — can be difficult. VDI adds to these challenges.

Performance. You may have hundreds or thousands of users, each with unique quality-of-service expectations for application performance and user experience. Ensuring consistent, high VDI performance can be difficult: demands can swing wildly depending upon usage patterns, the time of day, and the applications in use. Boot storms, antivirus scans, and patch updates put sudden loads on the infrastructure. With DaaS, you can simply leverage the elasticity of cloud to meet your requirements.

Scaling. With VDI, it can be difficult to predict when to add resources to support user growth, particularly when using a three tier architecture with separate servers and storage. If your business has seasonal fluctuations, provisioning for peak needs means you are left with a lot of hardware sitting idle much of the year.

DaaS reduces or eliminates VDI management challenges, enabling your team to focus on delivering services to your business and end-users — and satisfying digital transformation goals.

Reason 3: Focus on strategy, not tactics

IT services are critical to innovation for companies undergoing their digital transformation journey. IT teams are looking for ways to simplify day-to-day operations and automate tactical services wherever possible so they can focus on strategic initiatives and the delivery of new applications and services.

DaaS is an important part of your digital transformation strategy, significantly reducing the IT effort required to support end users and freeing your team to focus on business outcomes rather than IT outcomes.

DaaS makes it possible to continuously integrate and continuously deliver emerging technologies. For example, you may need to add support for applications that require GPU-accelerated graphics or you may need to support highly mobile employees.

DaaS also enables you to quickly support projects that require a fast ramp up, without exposing your company’s network and intellectual property. Contract workers can be granted access to necessary applications and data in the cloud to do complete their term-limited projects.

In many industries, mergers and acquisitions are a fact of life. DaaS can help you accelerate onboarding of new employees during acquisitions and grant them immediate access to company applications, data, and services. The friction of onboarding becomes less and they become productive in a shorter amount of time.

Reason 4: Overcome geographic limitations

It is often advantageous to adopt a distributed business model. Having more business locations can make your business more accessible and more visible to customers, help you expand into new markets, and give you access to a wider pool of potential employees.

The more locations you have, the more likely you are to have significant numbers of highly mobile employees who are never in the same location — or even the same country — from one week to the next.

DaaS offers a great solution to address digital workspace needs across disparate geographies. With the right DaaS solution, employees can work from almost anywhere that has an internet connection and receive good performance. If users in different locations need to collaborate electronically, DaaS solutions can facilitate collaboration.

Reason 5: Enable bring-your-own-device

Users increasingly want to use their own devices for work, and allowing them to do so can save your company significant money — US$1,000 per user per year. Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) makes it easier for an employee to do work from anywhere at any time.

But adopting a BYOD policy, as many companies are doing, makes device management even more intractable.

With DaaS, your company’s important applications run in your provider’s infrastructure services, safely isolated from other activity on user devices. Users gain access to applications and data only after proper authentication. And because no data is stored locally on the device, there’s no risk of compromise if the device is lost.

Reason 6: Soar into the cloud

Companies can leverage DaaS as the bridge to cloud. DaaS provides a platform for Enterprises to understand and consume cloud services without having to learn new technology terminologies.

DaaS allows IT to get their feet wet in cloud without having to refactor their applications. DaaS also accelerates the cloud learning maturity in an organisation because they can focus on application service integration and delivery without worrying about tech debt and tech inertia.

Reason 7: Pay only what you use

The ability to pay as you go — and pay only for what you use — is a hallmark of IT success in the digital age. DaaS simplifies your operations, reduces your per user costs, and makes perfect sense for organisations in the midst of digital transformation.

DaaS reinforces a subscription based consumption model that meters on actual usage. You have the ability to add workspaces for new users elastically based on the infrastructure services. Note that not all DaaS subscriptions are the same. Some services may require a minimum subscription term or user count. Be sure to choose a service that addresses your company’s needs and fits your budget.

Reason 8: Simplify scaling

The worst thing that can happen to new employees is to have them sit idle waiting for the computing resources they need to do their jobs. But planning for resource needs and scaling infrastructure — whether physical systems or VDI — to keep up with the needs of a dynamic enterprise is hard. You have to forecast carefully to ensure that you can meet user needs and avoid over or under-investing. Seasonal fluctuations, special projects, and mergers and acquisitions create new requirements that are often impossible to plan for.

Even for organisations that already run VDI on-premises, DaaS provides immediate scalability to simplify the planning process and address unforeseen needs. You can provision new desktops as needed and release them just as quickly.

When choosing a DaaS provider, make sure they can provide the scalability and flexibility to meet your business demands. You may need to onboard large numbers of users on short notice. How quickly can that happen? Is it fully automated? Is it easy to manage and provision the virtual apps and desktops?

Reason 9: Maintain full control

A common concern that many enterprises have when it comes to DaaS is loss of control, but DaaS and BYOD don’t necessarily mean that you lose control over your environment. In fact, you may even increase control. DaaS gives you both greater visibility and increased cost control.

Depending on your DaaS provider, you can quickly and easily grant (or remove) access to applications and data at a granular level. You can control access to data and prevent employees from making local data copies or writing data to insecure devices. Employees can also access specialised resources like GPUs on an as-needed basis.

For situations where you absolutely must ensure isolation, some DaaS providers offer managed desktop and application services from infrastructure that you own and control.

Reason 10: Step up security

In 2018 alone, there were multiple reports of data breaches from laptops that were stolen or lost. According to Forbes, “Nearly 41% of all data breach events from 2005 through 2015 were caused by lost devices.”

DaaS eliminates the risks that result from sensitive data stored on user devices. Data remains secure in a data centre, subject to your full control and established governance. DaaS providers take security seriously and offer a variety of advanced authentication and other security capabilities.

Make sure that your chosen provider satisfies your company’s security requirements, especially if you’re in a regulated industry. User authentication and authorisation are a critical part of security across your organisation. Choose a provider that integrates with your existing identity authentication provider (IdP) and single sign-on (SSO) to streamline user access.

Choosing the right DaaS provider

By now it should be clear that DaaS is a smart choice to meet your digital workspace needs. However, it should also be clear that not all DaaS offerings are the same, so it pays to consider your needs.

Geography. Where is the solution hosted? If you have users in Australia and North America but the solution is only hosted in the US, that’s a problem.

Performance. Users can be extremely sensitive to desktop performance. Can the solution meet the performance expectations of all types of users? What about power users that need accelerated graphics?

Scalability. You may need to onboard large numbers of users on short notice. How quickly can that happen? Is it fully automated?

Elasticity. The number of users on the service will likely vary widely based on the day and time. Do you pay for resources even when they aren’t in use?

Security and compliance. All enterprises are concerned about security and some must comply with strict regulatory requirements. Does the solution address your security needs?

Where’s your data? Do users need to access cloud data services such as Dropbox or Google Drive? If users need data and services from your datacenter, how easy is it to integrate? If your data is in a public cloud, you may need a desktop solution that runs “near” your data.

Ease-of-use. Is the solution easy and intuitive for users?

Ease-of-Management. Even the simplest environment requires configuration and customisation. How easy is the solution to manage?

Availability. Your users’ productivity will depend on this service. What’s the SLA for availability?

Software and services. Will the solution work with the authentication, SSO, and other standards-based tools you use?

Support. What (if any) support comes with the service? What hours (in what time zone) is support available?

Client software. What client software does the solution require on each user’s device? How will users obtain that software and how will you make sure it’s up to date?

Cloud lock-in. Does the solution lock you in to a particular public cloud? What happens when cloud prices change?

Cost. Pricing models vary widely among providers. Is there a minimum term or minimum number of seats? Can you pay as you grow? Beware of hidden costs.

Xi Frame

Nutanix Xi Frame is a unique desktop-as-a-service platform built for the cloud age. Xi Frame is a cloud-hosted, desktop delivery service that has been built from scratch for the cloud, resulting in a cost-efficient, scalable, simple-to-use, multi-tenant application and desktop delivery platform. Xi Frame benefits include:

Cloud and on-premises options. You can run your virtual apps and desktops in public cloud or your private cloud powered by Nutanix Enterprise Cloud.

Anytime, anywhere access. Users only need a browser and a network connection to access desktops and applications.

Scalability. Whether you have ten users or ten thousand, Nutanix Xi Frame scales to meet the needs of your business.

Performance. Xi Frame is optimised to deliver great performance, even over low bandwidth, high-latency networks. A variety of performance options, including GPU and multi-GPU sessions, give users the performance they need. And Xi Frame is always getting better.

Security. With its built-in security, Xi Frame turns almost any endpoint into a client device with no need for local data. Xi Frame not only delivers stringent controls, it gives you complete visibility into the configuration and operation of your digital workspace environment. Client sessions are always returned to an approved state on termination.

Ecosystem. A broad and growing ecosystem of storage, network, and identity partners helps ensure that Xi Frame fits seamlessly with your operations. Xi Frame is always integrating and delivering new services.

Controlled costs. The elastic nature of the cloud allows you to deliver high performance digital workspaces on demand, with usage measured in minutes and hours rather than days, months, or years.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/momius

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