Tuesday, December 20, 2011

VDI sets the stage for DaaS

As Virtual Desktop Infrastructure gains user acceptance, a new service will emerge called as DaaS - Desktop as a Service.

Today VDI technology has matured and is ready for prime time, but deploying VDI will require some heavy lifting that involves massive investments into infrastructure. So for medium sized enterprises, DaaS offers an easier option to roll out VDI, and then integrate those DaaS deployments back into the in-house VDI offerings.

DaaS: The Cloud-based virtual desktops

DaaS can be deployed in any location on devices connected to Internet. Having a virtual desktops hosted on a cloud, DaaS service providers can offer the best of VDI and cloud worlds.

Cloud based apps such as Google Apps, Office365 etc have one major disadvantage. All the user created data will reside with the service provider, so over a period of time the volume of data will essentially create a lock on the users, preventing customers from moving to a new service. Also there is a risk of data, stored with the app provider, can be hacked/stolen or lost. In order to overcome such cases or a disaster, it will be better to have a DaaS provider integrate a VDI deployment with cloud Apps and deliver the desktop to the users over Internet.

DaaS helps large organizations

For very large organizations such as government departments, and manufacturing firms are ideal customers for DaaS. Since in these organizations not every employee needs a desktop all the time, the organizations can buy virtual desktops for their employees and then have the data synchronized with their own data centers.

For government departments, having a DaaS will mean greater savings in terms of centralized IT services and eliminate the need for multiple IT departments. Getting a centralized IT for services such as Email, desktop, and data management can result in significant savings.

DaaS helps data management

Desktops can create huge volume of data. Each user will end up having about 100GB of data - which in a large organization can translate to several petabytes of data. Today in traditional desktops this data resides in the hard drives of the user desktops and is not managed. But with VDI this data will have to be managed.

Since most of the user data will be copies of emails or files, having a strong data de-duplication system will help reduce the volumes of user data to a small fraction of the original. Also having all the data in a central repository will mean that rouge programs or data can be deleted and prevented from entering the system.

Since all the user data is stored in a central repository, the loss of user data can be totally prevented.

Large organizations also have a large number of contractors and part time employees or partner employees - who will need some levels of IT access. For such 'floating' employees, DaaS offers an ideal solution to provide a Virtual Desktop - without giving an access to the main corporate IT infrastructure.

DaaS will also attract individual users

In a total cloud enabled world, where all the end user devices are thin clients - such as Chrome Books, Tablets etc, then users will need a traditional desktop to do some of their personal work - such as editing pictures/videos, Creating docs, spreadsheets etc, store contact details, music etc. These services can be done as Web services across multiple sites or have then consolidated into a central VDI.

Just like today, where people have their home PC and Work PC, there is a need for a home VDI and a work VDI. Getting a private VDI from a DaaS provider will perfectly meet that need.

DaaS will create Data-as-a-Service

The most valuable entity in any IT system is Data. Users will consume data to create valuable information, so with VDI, users will need certain types of data to be delivered as service. Today Data-as-a-Service is still in its infancy, but as the cloud system matures, the user created data in a VDI environment will create new opportunities to build new services that takes the user created data and offers it as service to others.

The best example of Data-as-a-Service is Bloomberg's stock information data. Bloomberg provides accurate stock quotes to user desktops for enable users to trade with stocks. With Data-as-a-Service, VDI users will consume data to create information or to make valuable decisions.

Closing thoughts

2012 will see a steady (but slow) roll out of Virtual Desktops. Large organizations will roll out VDI as a service to the business, and new DaaS providers such as Desktone will emerge - who will offer entire VDI as a service.

As the popularity of thin clients grow and employees are encouraged to bring their own PC to work, VDI becomes a very attractive value proposition. The amount of data centralization & simplicity of desktop management & control will drive VDI implementation in organizations. For many organizations trying out VDI, will also try out Desktop-as-a-Service as a stepping stone for a full fledged VDI.

The ideal VDI deployment will be a hybrid of completely private VDI deployment (for 80% of their needs) - along with public DaaS (for 20% of their needs). An hybrid VDI deployment will also work as a buffer space to deal with sudden/seasonal demands.

DaaS will eventually create additional value added services for Data-as-a-Service. Right now, Data-as-a-Service is still in its infancy, but as VDI and cloud services become popular, Data becomes a valuable service.

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