At first glance, there may appear to be few differences between the various Desktop-as-a-Service, or DaaS, solutions on the market. All of them perform the same core function: Making cloud-based desktops available to users over the Internets so as to facilitate anywhere anytime access. That’s a pretty straightforward use case, and it may seem like all solutions are pretty much the same, other than price.
The reality is more complicated. Once you dive into the details of different DaaS offerings, you quickly realize that a variety of factors impact your business’s ability to use DaaS effectively. To illustrate the point, here’s a guide to seven key factors to look for in the DaaS solution you
What is DaaS, and why use it?
Before delving into what to look for in a DaaS platform, let’s first set the context by spelling out what DaaS does and why businesses turn to DaaS solutions.DaaS is a type of service that allows users to host their workstations in the cloud, using cloud-based virtual machines. It’s similar to any other type of Software-as-a-Service offering, with the distinction that DaaS gives users access to a complete desktop environment through the cloud,
rather than just a single app.
The chief benefits of DaaS include:
- Accessibility: When your workstation is hosted in the cloud, you can access it from any location, with any device. Your employees don’t need to be physically present in the office to access business-critical software or files.
- Cost-efficiency: DaaS saves businesses time and money by eliminating the need to purchase and maintain physical workstations for each of their employees.
- Centralization: With a DaaS platform, all of your business’s applications and data live in a central place — the cloud. This makes it easier to update and backup resources than it would be if they were spread across a large, on-premises environment.
- Security: By keeping all resources in the cloud, DaaS mitigates security risks, such as employees downloading sensitive data to their personal laptops or phones when working remotely.
To choose the right DaaS solution, you should focus on selecting a DaaS offering that supports each of these core goals.
Essential features in a DaaS solutions
Specifically, look for a DaaS solution that offers the following features and benefits.
Licensing flexibility :
To run licensed software, such as Microsoft Office, on a cloud desktop, you must ensure that software is properly licensed, just as you would on a traditional workstation. In some cases, your business might already have licenses for the software it needs. In others, you may wish to build licensing into the DaaS service so that you don’t have to acquire and configure license keys separately.
The best DaaS platforms offer licensing flexibility by allowing you to take both approaches. They let you bring your existing licenses if you have already purchased them, or seamlessly and automatically build licenses into your cloud workstation package if you haven’t.
Clear and simple pricing :
If you need a special calculator to figure out how much your DaaS platform will cost you, the pricing is more complicated than it should be. In order to make the most of the opportunities for cost-efficiency that DaaS presents, you should select a solution that offers clear, flat pricing based on the number of cloud desktops you want to deploy. You also shouldn’t have to pay extra for services like data storage or monitoring tools. If you do, it becomes more difficult to predict your DaaS costs in the long run and ensure that your DaaS solution is actually superior from a cost perspective to traditional workstations.
Multiple DaaS access options :
Some users may find it most convenient to access their cloud desktops through a Web browser. Others may want a downloadable, standalone client that integrates directly into their operating system. The latter tool may prove more reliable than a Web-based portal that would fail if the Web browser crashes. The best DaaS platforms provide both types of access options.
Ability to customize virtual hardware profiles :
Not all employees need the same type of virtual workstation. Users who work with resource-hungry apps like Photoshop will need more RAM, for example, than those who spend most of their time in Microsoft Office. The best DaaS offerings allow you to customize the profiles of your workstations according to different types of end-user needs. A DaaS platform that imposes a one-size-fits-all approach by allowing you to select from only one or a handful of virtual machine types when configuring your DaaS workstations will deliver less value. Some employees will lack the virtual hardware resources they need, while others may have more than they require, leading to a waste of resources.
Easy integration with local devices :
Just because you migrate your workstations to the cloud doesn’t mean your users don’t need to connect to some devices, like printers or credit card readers, that exist in their local environments.Setting up this integration is possible on most DaaS platforms, but the amount of technical expertise it requires can vary widely.
To minimize this effort and ensure that your employees can easily do things like send documents from their cloud workstations to a local printer, look for a DaaS provider that offers automatic integrations with common types of local devices. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck trying to configure complex NAT rules, DNS settings and so on by hand in order to connect your cloud desktops to local devices — a task that the typical end-user is hardly fit to accomplish.
To get the most value out of a DaaS platform, you should make maximum use of your cloud desktops. DaaS offerings that allow you to give multiple users access to each workstation help you to achieve this goal.
In other words, rather than having to pay for a separate workstation for each employee, the best DaaS platforms allow you to have employees who work at different hours share the same workstation, while keeping the data and applications for each user separate. That way, you don’t pay for cloud workstations that sit idle much of the time.
Think beyond DaaS
Businesses that migrate from traditional workstations to a DaaS solution usually do so as part of broader digital transformation initiatives. For that reason, the best DaaS providers can deliver not only DaaS, but also a range of other products and services, like support for migrating servers to the cloud.
By selecting a DaaS provider that can deliver a wide set of other solutions as well, your DaaS strategy will reinforce the broader digital modernization you seek to achieve, rather than addressing only one particular need.
There are a variety of DaaS products on the market. Some have debuted recently, and some have been around for years. While all of these products offer access to cloud-based desktops, they vary widely when you consider factors such as pricing models, access tools and the ease of integration between cloud desktops and local devices.
In order to capitalize fully on the accessibility, cost-efficiency and centralization benefits that DaaS promises, modern teams should select a DaaS platform that offers flexible licensing, transparent pricing and accessibility from anywhere. Anunta DesktopReady, the latest service offering from cloud solutions provider, Anunta Technologies, provides these features and more. To learn more about how DesktopReady can empower your business with cost-effective, universally accessible cloud desktops that integrate seamlessly into the infrastructure and workflows you already have in place, contact the Anunta team.