How desktop-as-a-service models enable the mobile enterprise

By Karin Kelley

With more and more people working on the go (particularly the incoming millennial workforce), companies are increasingly turning to the desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) model to enable such mobility. Also known as workspace-as-a-service, the once-fledgling market is booming, with Markets and Markets predicting it will reach $9.41 billion by 2019, up from $4.76 billion in 2014. The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) model is a primary driver of this rapid growth.

What is DaaS, anyway?

At a very basic level, DaaS can be defined as any combination of the following:

  • Session-based computing
  • Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)
  • A desktop connection broker
  • A protocol or client hypervisor
  • User and application virtualization
  • Network, security and storage optimization
  • A hosting partner

The end goal is to deliver virtualized workspaces and applications to any device, regardless of OS, anywhere on the network.

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Challenges of the desktop-as-a-service model

The DaaS market started to emerge 10 years ago, but the technology required to manage all of its moving parts — and actually make it worth the investment — took years to mature. Putting it another way, though centralizing the components of a workspace on a server to reduce management of the devices and users themselves is a pretty straightforward concept, there’s a lot that needs to be running underneath the hood to orchestrate and automate the actual delivery of complex workspaces. Many companies don’t have the expertise or budget to do this in-house.

For one, virtualized environments, which DaaS runs on, require massive amounts of expensive storage, which can negate the ROI DaaS was intended to create. Further, securing sensitive corporate data on unmanaged personal devices and managing user permission to that data is difficult, but absolutely necessary. Last, service reliability is a major issue, and companies looking to deploy DaaS must have network optimization, assessment and monitoring tools in place to guarantee employees and customers actually have access to critical business data, applications and workspaces to ensure business continuity.

Making DaaS work

DaaS orchestration and automation tools have been on the market for a while now, but there have been an increasing number of service providers developing proprietary tools, as well as software vendors that have developed platforms to make that promise of DaaS a reality. To date, SMBs have been the largest adopters of DaaS through managed and cloud service providers that either build their own orchestration and management technologies, but there has also been a rise of independent software vendors to enable them to add DaaS to their existing portfolios through comprehensive platforms. Larger enterprises, on the other hand, typically have the technical and financial resources to deploy DaaS on-premises and are using more expensive — and arguably more complex — platforms from incumbents.

In today’s cloudy, “everything-as-a-service” world, the desktop-as-a-service market has emerged as a major force. BYOD is one of the biggest drivers, and by enabling a mobile workforce, businesses can realize many benefits, including increased productivity, improved employee satisfaction and cost savings, but mostly, more centralized control over the bottom line as hypercompetitiveness and connectivity rise.

Written By

Karin Kelley

Independent Analyst & Writer

Karin is an independent industry analyst and writer, with over 10 years experience in information technology. She focuses on cloud infrastructure, hosted applications and services, end user computing and related systems management software and services. She spent nearly eight years…

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