Over the past two years, businesses have undergone a digital transformation shift that was always promised, but always seemingly just over the horizon. Now; however, more workers are working from home than ever before and this trend will continue into 2022 and beyond. If they haven’t already, organizations should start codifying processes and procedures around remote and hybrid work that might have started as ad hoc policies in the spring of 2020.
As companies review their current technology tools, they might consider Desktop-as-a-Service or DaaS. A type of desktop virtualization, DaaS is similar to virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), but differs in key ways that make it an interesting alternative to traditional virtual desktops.
To get a deeper understanding of Desktop-as-a-Service we spoke with Sachin Sharma, director of product marketing and Gabe Knuth, senior product line marketing manager at VMWare. We discussed the challenges of remote and hybrid work and how DaaS solutions can alleviate those challenges and help companies scale their remote workforce.
Simply put, DaaS is a desktop virtualization platform that is operated as a service. This service is delivered by a DaaS provider and includes delivery and maintenance of the underlying infrastructure and management tools required to support desktop virtualization. This gives customers the benefits of virtual applications and desktops without having to understand or deploy the nuts and bolts. With DaaS, customers simply manage the virtual desktops and applications themselves, ensuring employees have quick and secure access to what they need from any device anywhere.
Using DaaS to Scale Remote Capacity
With companies formalizing work-from-home policies and remote/hybrid work expected to continue throughout 2022 and beyond, businesses will need ways to scale their technology. IT teams need to be able to quickly adapt and get tools and applications into employees’ hands from afar. “If there’s one thing we learned over the last several years it’s that there are a variety of tools people use to give access to their employees — VPNs, VDI and other remote solutions that are fully customer managed,” says Sharma. “But this has led to challenges, especially around capacity. You may have set up your VDI for a certain number of users. But the recent shift to remote and hybrid work has changed the game. Suddenly, everyone needs access and you can’t scale up or down without possibly adding hardware.”
This is where DaaS shines. “DaaS technology is well suited for the future of work because it provides scalable access to any device working from anywhere. Thus, it doesn’t matter for us what the future of work looks like, because we can provide these resources securely,” says Sharma.
“Being able to react to fluctuating capacity demands is a key advantage that DaaS has over on-premises systems,” adds Knuth.
Addressing the Security Challenges of BYOD Policies
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies have been popular even before the recent rise in remote and hybrid work. The impracticability of users taking their work desktops home coupled with supply chain issues that make it difficult to get laptops into the hands of those who need them make BYOD almost a necessity. However, companies need to take steps that ensure the security of their networks. (Security is a top concern among both U.S. and European-based companies regarding remote work.)
Security is another area where DaaS shines. “Having a BYO policy means needing to support a multitude of different devices, from Chromebooks to thin and zero clients,” says Sharma. “"DaaS helps you provide security without sacrificing end user experience. For example, when you use VMware Horizon for your DaaS, you're also entitled to Workspace ONE Access, which gives you the ability to integrate with other identity providers to enable single sign-on (SSO) to all your apps without sacrificing security." This should encourage your workforce — lack of single sign on is identified as a top challenge by 25% of knowledge workers in the U.S. and Europe.
Scale Without Tech Weighing You Down
Scaling your technology shouldn’t come at the cost of straining your budget, and Sharma says that it doesn’t have to be with a solution like DaaS. “We live in a world where the models are shifting and everything is service based: Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Software-as-a-Service and Desktop-as-a-Service just to name a few. With service-based technology, you shift the model from CapEx to OpEx, which means your hardware investment can be smaller without sacrificing scale. In addition, having your infrastructure managed by a vendor means it’s always up to date, which saves time and money on upgrades.”
“The beauty of DaaS is it allows customers to scale their consumption costs up and down with demand,” Knuth adds. “For example, a customer in a typical on-premises environment would have to buy enough hardware to support the max number of users. If that number was, say, 2,000 users, but only half of them were using the system, that company still paid for 2,000 users’ worth of hardware — even though half of it is sitting unused. Whereas with the cloud (and with DaaS specifically) that customer only pays for the desktops that are being used at any given moment.”
The shift to remote-forward and hybrid workforces that has happened over the last two years has laid bare the necessity of well-crafted technology strategies that give employees access to their tools anywhere and from any device. VMWare believes that embracing the anywhere workspace will be the way of the future. “This will be the path forward,” says Sharma.
Learn more about how VMWare can help you deploy a DaaS solution at vmware.com.