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Christopher Tozzi

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‘’Unlike DaaS services that require complex setup and management processes, DesktopReady is a simple solution that your business can have up and running in a matter of hours.’’

What does it take to build a modern desktop experience for today’s employees? Part of the answer involves supplying them with elegant interfaces, intuitive administration tools and other features you get from software.
But a truly modern user experience on the desktop involves more than just the right software. It requires a complete overhaul of the desktop architecture itself, in a way that liberates businesses from depending on local machines and complex support processes in order to ensure that their employees can get their work done. Delivering this liberatory desktop experience is the core mission of DesktopReady, the latest managed service offering from Anunta Technologies. Through a Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) architecture, DeskopReady provides businesses with cloud desktops that can be accessed from anywhere and at any time — and that, just as important, require virtually no maintenance or management on the part of the businesses that use them.

A truly modern DaaS
DesktopReady is not the first DaaS offering on the market. Other DaaS solutions have been around for a decade, and similar concepts, like thin clients, have existed since the 1980s. DesktopReady, however, stands out by providing the features that businesses need to achieve a truly modern cloud desktop experience. Unlike DaaS services that are hosted by public cloud vendors, which require complex setup and management processes, DesktopReady is a simple solution that your business can have up and running in a matter of hours. With DesktopReady, you simply choose the number and type of cloud desktops you need from Anunta’ selection of preconfigured desktop packages, each of which is designed to address a different business use case. There is no need to understand what a vCPU means or guess how much RAM each of your employees will require on their virtual workstations. Instead, select the cloud desktops that match the employee roles you need to support, and Anunta does the rest. It’s not just a fast and easy launch process that sets DesktopReady apart. Anunta also provides ongoing maintenance and support, including a proactive monitoring service that allows the Anunta team to find and remedy many common cloud desktop issues before your employees even notice them.
From a financial perspective, too, DesktopReady enables a seamless and modern cloud desktop experience. DesktopReady features flat, predictable pricing and monthly billing. There is no complex set of hidden fees to factor; you pay a simple, consistent price for each cloud desktop you use. Nor is there reason to worry about fluctuations in price from month to month — unless you change your cloud desktop configuration, which you can do at any time.
Likewise, DesktopReady allows you to operate cloud desktops using software licenses that you already own, or purchase licenses at reseller prices as part of the DaaS package. You won’t waste money by having to purchase new licenses for your cloud desktops if you already have licenses for Windows and other software you need to run. But if you do require licenses, acquiring them through DesktopReady is just as simple as the rest of Anunta’s cloud desktop setup process.

Finally say good-bye to physical desktops
It’s telling that, despite the fact that DaaS platforms have been widely available for a number of years, few companies thus far have used them to replace physical, on-premises desktops on a large scale. The burden of configuring and managing cloud desktops using legacy DaaS services was too great for most organizations to make a wholesale switch to cloud desktops. With the release in September 2020 of DesktopReady, however, the stage is finally set to change. By providing businesses with the first cloud desktop solution that is truly painless to deploy and manage over the long term — and that offers affordable and transparent pricing, to boot — DesktopReady makes it practical for companies of all types and sizes to say good-bye to their physical desktops once and for all. In turn, those companies can enjoy all of the benefits that DaaS offers. Their employees will be able to access their business productivity applications and data whenever and wherever they require. Power outages, fires, floods or other disruptions to local offices won’t hinder employees’ ability to keep the business operating. Security challenges associated with traditional desktops can be reduced, too, because cloud desktops allow all critical business data to remain in the cloud, rather than being downloaded to local devices that may not be secure.

Conclusion
After years of struggling with DaaS offerings that come up short in ease of deployment, integration and management, DesktopReady finally makes possible and practical for businesses of all sizes even those that lack their own IT teams — to achieve a truly liberatory,secure, modern cloud desktop experience.

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
choose.

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.

Multi-user access
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.

Conclusion
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.

The concept of hosted desktops is not new. It has existed at least since the 1980s, which saw the introduction of the first thin-client architectures. The modern take on this concept — cloud desktops or Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) — began to go mainstream more recently around 2010. It’s hardly news to most IT admins today that you can host a desktop environment on a server and deliver it to users remotely over the network. Yet despite the fact that DaaS is now a well-established part of the IT landscape, the past year has witnessed major shifts in needs and expectations regarding DaaS platforms. Those changes reflect, in part, the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased demand for remote-work solutions that it sparked. But they are also the product of broader and deeper shifts in the way companies seek to build IT infrastructures.

To understand what it takes to build an effective DaaS strategy today, and how the most innovative DaaS offerings will evolve going forward, you need to appreciate just how much the DaaS landscape has evolved over the last year or two. Here’s a summary of five key shifts that have taken place in this space, and what they mean for companies that already use or are considering adopting a DaaS solution.

Cloud desktops are more than just supplements for on-premises workstations

In the past, companies that relied on a DaaS platform often used cloud desktops to supplement their on-premises workstations, rather than replace them wholesale. They might have run some desktops in the cloud for backup purposes, in case an employee’s on-premise machine went down, for example. Or they may have spun up cloud desktops in the cloud that multiple users could share in order to collaborate on a project, even as each user still retained an on-premise workstation.

Today, there is evidence that more and more companies are moving toward a model where cloud desktops completely replace their on-premises machines. Overall purchases of new PCs have been flat or declining for several years, while at the same time around three-quarters of companies report plans to invest in cloud desktops, if they are not using them already. This makes sense: In an environment where more employees are working from home permanently and can use personal devices to log into cloud desktops, there is little reason for companies to continue to invest in on-premises workstations.

Even in cases where most employees are still working from an office, consolidating desktop environments in the cloud helps mitigate security risks, simplifies management and gives companies the agility to move employees to different physical locations quickly, without having to worry about moving their physical workstations.

DaaS is not just for the enterprise anymore

If you run a small business whose total number of desktops is measured in the dozens instead of the thousands, it often made less sense in the past for you to invest in a DaaS solution. Most DaaS offerings were designed for enterprises that had big budgets — not to mention large in-house IT teams that could help them roll out and manage DaaS services directly from a public cloud vendor, like Microsoft Azure or Amazon.

In other words, the DaaS market in the past was dominated by vendors who offered what you might call wholesale cloud desktop solutions. Their offerings were good if you needed to purchase hundreds or thousands of cloud desktops and you had the expertise to deploy them yourself, but not so good for companies that had smaller-scale requirements and needed more guidance in selecting and deploying the desktops. As Gartner noted in 2019, a lack of “organizational cloud readiness” hindered DaaS adoption for many companies. That has begun changing as SMB-friendly DaaS providers have entered the Desktop-as-a-Service market. These vendors provide not only a DaaS platform, but also the deployment and management services that smaller companies with limited in-house IT resources lack to leverage DaaS effectively. They also offer features, such as simple integration between cloud desktops and customers’ local devices (like printers), that simplify the process of using cloud desktops for small or medium-sized businesses.

You need not use the public cloud directly to use DaaS

Relatedly, it’s no longer necessary to consume a DaaS service directly from a public cloud provider. Traditionally, if you wanted a cloud desktop, you would have to sign up for and deploy a DaaS service from a major cloud provider, like Microsoft Azure or Citrix. That required a fair amount of technical expertise, as well as a deep understanding of how to configure a DaaS service to align with your particular business’s needs. Now, as Gartner’s 2019 DaaS market guide noted, the market is becoming more diverse. New service providers have entered it by introducing DaaS offerings in which they deploy and manage a cloud-based DaaS service for the end-user. They identify which public cloud platform and configuration is best for meeting their users’ needs, and they provide the resulting cloud desktops as a fully managed service. This means that businesses that want to take advantage of DaaS don’t need to contract directly with a large public cloud provider and be on the hook to fix things themselves if they don’t work properly.

DaaS is becoming an essential service

Historically, cloud desktops were more of a nice-to-have asset for many companies than they were a core part of their IT infrastructure. They added agility and flexibility, but the business could run without them. That has changed as COVID-19, along with the general pressure to empower employees to work from anywhere and at anytime, has created new demand for IT infrastructure that totally frees employees from having to be present in a specific physical location in order to do their jobs. Even before the pandemic, remote work grew by 159 percent over a twelve-year period.

Early data suggests that around 60 percent of all U.S. workers switched to remote work after the
COVID-19 crisis began. While it remains unclear for now how many employees will continue working remotely on a permanent basis, it seems a safe bet that, for the foreseeable future, more and more companies will require flexible access to workstations for their employees. In this environment, on-premises workstations that can only be accessed locally present a risk to business continuity and resilience.

Cloud desktops are consequently evolving into a critical and foundational part of IT infrastructures. In the future, not using DaaS may make a business appear as outdated or technologically backwards as not using the cloud in general.

Cloud desktops for every type of employee

Traditional cloud desktop solutions worked well for “ordinary” employees — those who just need a Word processor, email client and other basic apps. But for employees with more specialized software requirements, such as those who need to edit photos or videos, cloud desktops haven’t always offered the performance they require. Or, if they did, they cost so much that it was hard to justify paying for them when you could use a less expensive on-premise workstation.

The advent of new DaaS offerings that give users wide latitude to configure cloud desktops to the needs of each of their end-users is changing this. Using these services, businesses can easily deploy standard cloud desktops for employees with basic needs, while using specialized virtual machine instances with different hardware profiles to support employees who require more sophisticated virtual desktop environments. The prices for the latter types of configurations have come down, too; now, you might pay ten or twenty percent more for a high-performance cloud desktop as compared to a basic one, instead of paying double.

Conclusion

In short, the DaaS market in the past was tailored primarily toward large enterprises that had the technical expertise to contrac directly with public cloud providers and manage these desktops on an on-going basis..
Today, however, a new generation of DaaS offerings makes it much easier for companies of any type or size to deploy cloud desktops that are tailored to their individual needs. By building hands-on deployment and management services directly into the offerings, these vendors have eliminated the need for a large in-house IT team in order to use DaaS, while also making it easy to integrate cloud desktops with other IT resources that run locally.

All of the above adds up to a DaaS landscape that, you might say, is increasingly democratic, with cloud desktops now becoming feasible for the masses. That’s a good thing, especially because it is happening at a moment when the ability to access your desktop environment from anywhere has become critical for standard business operation.