Personal computing started as one computer sitting on one desk supporting one user at a time. That’s expensive now that PCs are a thousand times faster than before, and dedicating expensive hardware to a single user wastes money. Virtual services first hit servers, allowing one physical server to run dozens of software servers and save serious money. Then came VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) and RDS (Remote Desktop Services) to virtualize desktops. Now say hello to DaaS (Desktop As A Service), an improvement over VDI and RDS.
DaaS updates VDI and RDS by applying the same technology that makes SaaS (Software As A Service) so affordable. VDI and RDS are usually, but not always, run by company servers in the same location as the user. This requires a considerable investment in data center hardware to support those users. DaaS puts those resources in the cloud, meaning an external data center that can amortize the hardware across multiple customers, like Salesforce.com or Google Mail does with their software.
Before the public Internet became so much faster, such a plan would be ruined by slow response times. But Internet speeds, including speeds to remote locations and over wireless data networks, have improved so much a user can work just about as fast over DaaS as on their own computer.
One new company in this area is Desktone, a clever word-play on dialtone. Desktone, working with companies and even reading their Active Directory User Profiles, generates a “golden image” of Windows 7 or Windows XP, which can be customized for groups of users. Have a group of users that needs Windows 7 and large amounts of memory? That’s what they’ll get. Have another group that needs Windows XP because of some legacy custom applications? They’ll get what they need as well.
Companies working with Desktone create the types of desktop images they want then send those templates to Desktone. That ensures they get exactly what they need. Desktone can do other operating systems (Linux), or traditional Microsoft RDS and even Microsoft Servers.
The DaaS provider handles the hardware, the data storage, the security patches, data and profile backup, and upgrades, like any good service provider. Each user’s personal data is stored, so when that user logs in, they get exactly what they expect. And they can log in from different computers from different places, meaning the work they leave at the office will be waiting for them if they log in from home. And when they travel, they know “their” computer setup will be waiting, no matter where they sit when they connect.
Companies jumping onto the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) bandwagon will be good customers for DaaS providers. Securing every type of laptop, tablet, and smartphone made is not possible with normal VDI and RDS solutions. But the cloud-based DaaS services keep the personalized desktop the company needs running on the personal device the user wants. Everybody wins.
Those of you working in compliance and Disaster Recovery areas should immediately see the advantage of DaaS: no matter what happens to your physical office, workers will be able to get the exact same “computer” when they log in from a contingency location. Think that can happen when running your own desktop virtualizations on your own servers? If you can’t get into your building because of a disaster (Super Storm Sandy, anyone?) you can’t work.
With DaaS, any computer anywhere becomes your computer.
James Gaskin writes books, articles, and jokes about technology, and consults for those who don’t read his books and articles. Email him at [email protected].Tags: Technology,Virtualization