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Liquidware Labs 2017 Prediction: The Year DaaS and Cloud-hosted Desktop Takes Flight

VMblog Predictions 2017

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2017.  Read them in this 9th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by Jason E. Smith, Vice President of Product Marketing, Liquidware Labs

2017: The Year DaaS and Cloud-hosted Desktop Takes Flight

Since about 2010, Desktops as a Service (DaaS) providers have been touting that it's easier, cheaper, and faster to roll out virtual desktops as a service rather than to build them and host them onsite (on premises).

My prediction for 2017 is that DaaS and Cloud Hosted desktops are finally set to take off in the year ahead. Some people confuse DaaS and Cloud Hosted desktops as being the same thing. They are not. While they do share one common trait, that of being hosted off-premises, they utilize radically different approaches to provisioning desktops which will dictate how much involvement will be required by IT staff.

Let's review three types of cloud-hosted and DaaS models so you'll be ready to choose a Cloud-hosted or full DaaS model when my prediction comes true in 2017 J.

Cloud-hosted Desktops A typical example of Cloud-hosted desktops could be either Citrix XenDesktop or VMware Horizon desktops hosted on 3rd party cloud-based servers but built and managed by your own desktop management team.

What you essentially accomplish with Cloud-hosted desktops is - that by moving your virtual desktop data center to the cloud - you are able to save on infrastructure and hardware refresh costs. Cloud vendors that are ideal to host your desktops on include Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. Savings typically occur in capital expenditure costs and include:

  • Server hardware for hosting VDI (i.e. hypervisors)
  • Server hardware for managing VDI (i.e. management consoles from Citrix/VMware)
  • Server hardware for required databases (i.e. SQL clusters needed for the environment)
  • Load balancing hardware
  • Storage hardware
  • Network hardware
  • Hardware maintenance
  • Power and cooling costs
  • Data center space
  • Hardware admin costs

DaaS via Third-party Service Provider The next level of cloud based desktops could be described as DaaS offered by a third-party. Options include DaaS solutions from Citrix and VMware DaaS partners who offer consulting and/or services on top of providing a DaaS offering. The solutions may be hosted on clouds such as Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure but the partner typically has standardized on a cloud platform, saving you from having to choose the actual hosting provider. Regardless of the one you choose, these providers charge per desktop per month but other billing options may be available. In addition to the Cloud-hosted cost savings above, your organization should see additional savings in the administrative area of VDI administration costs.

Workspot is a vendor that I'd put in this category as well. Workspot is an up and coming VDI solution that is worth mentioning because they are a VDI vendor that target the Cloud-hosted VDI market and they have an alliance with Microsoft Azure for DaaS. They have two plays for cloud; 1) their solution named VDI 2.0, a cloud based VDI solution that ties in with your existing infrastructure and 2) their DaaS 2.0 solution that includes VDI 2.0 hosted on Microsoft Azure to which also provides the underlying infrastructure/servers needed in the cloud.

Turnkey DaaS via DaaS provider Taking cloud-hosted DaaS a step further, let's look at a turnkey DaaS solution that provides an end-to-end cloud based desktop solution. Amazon Workspaces is the only true turnkey DaaS provider in the market, although Microsoft did dip their toe in the water a while back. Amazon WorkSpaces provides an end-to-end solution for DaaS, hosted on their very own Amazon Web Services (AWS). There is no software to buy (broker, hypervisors, VDI management). Everything, including hosting, is included in a monthly or monthly/hourly price. While players like Citrix and VMware would likely tout that they offer more management options and bells and whistles, Amazon Workspaces has some definite advantages for adoption because of their straightforward approach to virtual desktops that can be up and running for your users the same day you decide to move forward.

The AWS cloud-hosted data business is impressive. It's larger than Microsoft's and Google's cloud hosting combined, according to a recent report from Synergy Research Group. Businesses seem to trust AWS with their data. I predict that Amazon WorkSpaces will gain real traction in the DaaS market in 2017. Two factors that have been a drag on DaaS discussions have been security and reliability. Since many businesses already trust the security and reliability with Amazon AWS with their data, DaaS with WorkSpaces should be a no-brainer to pursue.

With Amazon WorkSpaces as the only turnkey DaaS player, your organization has the ability to gain additional savings in software and hardware costs. The savings are realized with:

  • No hypervisor licenses to buy
  • No load balancers or access servers
  • No VDI license cost
  • No annual maintenance on VDI software

However, with Amazon WorkSpaces you do swap your capital expenditures for the operating expenditure of the subscription to WorkSpaces. Depending on the tier of WorkSpaces selected this cost will vary, so be sure to factor that cost in into your calculations.

Summary The stars have aligned for DaaS and Cloud-hosted desktops to finally take off in 2017. The market has matured, cloud hosted data has become standard practice to pave the way, and there is healthy competition to drive further innovation. I liken the Cloud-hosted and DaaS market in 2017 like VDI was about six years ago - companies will adopt it for the easy to virtualize areas such as task workers in call centers and then it will continue to grow into more widespread enterprise use cases from there in the years to come.

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About the Author

Jason E. Smith is the Vice President of Product Marketing at Liquidware Labs has led speaking sessions on User Environment Management and Layering at Citrix Synergy and VMworld. He was previously an owner of Entrigue Systems which Liquidware Labs acquired in 2009. Prior to Liquidware Labs he led product management and marketing programs for Citrix, Red Hat and other well-known end user computing vendors.

Published Friday, December 23, 2016 9:03 AM by David Marshall
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