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Will Desktop as a Service disappear in 10 years?

Will Desktop as a Service disappear in 10 years?

virtual-desktopService providers today offer a variety of cloud services, from Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) to Hosted VoIP (or UCaaS). However, the area that has been getting a lot of interest in the past few years is Desktop as a Service (DaaS). And I personally believe over time this will change.

What is Desktop as a Service?

In a traditional desktop environment, your data and applications reside on a specific physical device, like your laptop. If you happen to forget it at home, your productivity is limited. Even if you might be able to access email, Dropbox and Salesforce, anything else would be hard to get to. And the reason you would still be able to use these apps is because they are not tied to your physical laptop, but rather hosted in a secure data center and accessed over the web. Basically, these apps are cloud based, and easy to access.

DaaS applies the same concept to your entire desktop environment: the applications, the data, and the user settings. A virtualized desktop is stored in the provider’s data center, on their high-end servers and storage, so nothing resides on your end device. This gives you the freedom to access your corporate desktop and client server applications over the internet, from any device of your choosing.

Why DaaS will disappear over time

Of course, the ability to truly work from anywhere supplies enormous business value. Employees can be just as efficient outside the office as they are in it, taking their work with them everywhere they go. However, today’s desktops leave a lot to be desired when it comes to collaboration and providing an engaging work experience for a team.

Think about how much time you spend logging in, searching for information, downloading and uploading, sharing documents, managing email, writing status reports etc. Even when you get into a repeatable routine, when you move to a mobile device, everything changes. Also consider how many times you have discovered that someone else has been working on a project related to yours, and you wish you had known sooner so you could’ve collaborated? All these questions show that there is room for improvement.

Another important argument I think is important to consider is the evolution of web applications. DaaS is used for non web browser applications to be used over the web. So basically, if you only use a web application, you would not need Desktop as a Service, right?

As client server and desktop applications are refactored into cloud applications DaaS will whittle away.  If you are using DaaS today, don’t panic, it will take many years for these applications to be rewritten as web apps until that time, DaaS will fill the gap allowing desktop and client server applications requiring heavy bandwidth that have been always restricted to local networks access through mobile devices and browsers.

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  • Tim Wessels

    July 4, 2014

    Well, DaaS seems like a solution in search of a problem that seems similar to enterprise VDI solutions that have been flogged by certain vendors for years with very little general interest beyond certain vertical markets. Recently, AWS announced that was also going to provide DaaS and I was puzzled as to why AWS would do it. Yes, AWS knows how to do compute as a service at Web-scale and it sets the market price for providing this service. However, with a surging SaaS market for browser-based why would DaaS be interesting to AWS even if they offered it at half the going price of competing services? Perhaps AWS believes DaaS can capture some of the enterprise interest in VDI minus the sticker-shock of the capital investment required to do it. For the general computing public DaaS makes no sense at all. In general, Remote Desktop or Terminal Services is still a viable solution for SMB to enterprise customers dragging their legacy apps into the future until they get around to re-writing them for the cloud or until their line-of-business software vendor moves their app to a SaaS platform. DaaS may have a tactical purpose in some vertical markets, but that may be as far as it will go and then it may not even last all that long.

  • Marlon Davids

    July 4, 2014

    Some great points but we’re big into VMware and Citrix DaaS so we very much disagree – ultimately, is anything related to technology ever future-proof? In many scenarios DaaS is the by far the best solution for many businesses and is likely to be so for a long time to come. We actually just released a mini-guide on the benefits of desktops-as-a-service which you can view for free here:

    Would be really interested to hear your feedback on it actually Rick and Tim as you clearly have a different view on it.

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