There is no denying that maintenance of legacy systems has become a very difficult task. Desktops and laptops will always need constant updating, patching and malware scans for their security and upkeep. With the tremendous changes that the IT landscape has been through over the past few years, businesses have witnessed a significant upsurge in the hidden costs of their desktop computer infrastructure. Gartner is estimated that the total annual costs to maintain a desktop range between $2,680 and $4,400.
Apart from the total cost of ownership (TCO), there are other significant changes in the way users interact with their IT systems. Gone are the days when one user was solely fixed to a desktop machine; with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and mobile workforce becoming the new normal, organizations are encouraging the use of multiple devices. However, this has made it difficult for the organizations to keep track of who is accessing what services from where, and to provide employees access to systems and applications as and when they need it. All these lead only to additional maintenance costs.
With PCs becoming ubiquitous in today’s business world, increasing maintenance costs have made it inevitable for organizations to look for solutions that can bring this new situation under control. This is how the concept of virtualization has come into the picture, offering identical services at significantly lower costs.
What is desktop virtualization and why is it important?
Desktop Virtualization is a concept where users simulate a workstation load to access a desktop from a connected device remotely or locally. Here, the desktop environment and its applications are separated from the physical device used to access it. In today’s digital workspaces, desktop virtualization is a key component.
In this mobility and flexible work environment, desktop virtualization is seen as the go-to solution, because it makes it easier to conduct operations using virtual desktop machines. It is very useful for the firms that operate at multiple locations, as it removes the need to deploy infrastructure at every office.
With alternatives such as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Desktop-as-a-Service, employees become more productive, and the cost of hardware comes down, allowing firms to be more flexible in their operations.
What is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)?
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure is a form of desktop virtualization where desktop environments are hosted on a central server. Usually, the specific desktop images are run within virtual machines and can be delivered to end clients via a network. The endpoints can be PCs, tablets, or any other client terminals.
VDI: What benefits does it offer?
For most organizations, the most common form of virtualization is the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. Because the technology has been around for several years now, it is synonymous with virtualization, and this solution has been the only practical one for businesses for a very long time now.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure as a solution provides many advantages to businesses. It offers complete control over the virtual environment as the servers are managed centrally by the IT teams at their own data centre. Hardware, software, licensing and deployment are managed internally, and the entire network runs within the firm’s network, so there is minimal latency.
However, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure is very complex and expensive to deploy and manage. IT teams need hands-on experience to handle any maintenance issues or contingencies.
What is Desktop as a Service (DaaS)?
Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) is a form of VDI where virtual apps and desktops are securely delivered from the cloud to any device. It secures SaaS and legacy applications as well as Windows and Linux- based virtual desktops. It is easy to manage and reduces the burden on the IT teams.
DaaS: What benefits does it offer?
Desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) has become one of the go-to options for organizations looking for virtualization. Desktop-as-a-service takes care of the entire management of the virtual environment, reducing significantly the stress on the IT department. It provides services to users through cloud computing.
With Desktop-as-a-service, the IT teams can leave the deployment and development of the virtual network to the managed service provider. This offers better scalability, and is a flexible option, as it can be taken up on a subscription basis. It can easily be increased or decreased as the business needs, and this keeps expenditure in check.
However, with DaaS, enterprises have less control, and it is dependent on a strong internet connection, which can be an issue during mission-critical activities, or in situations that depend on real-time data and actions.
Daas offers multi-tenant hybrid experience which helps enterprises to provide desktops from multiple cloud with a single control console for seamless control and administration. It give flexibility to the enterprises to select the best solution keeping in mind the TCO, security, geographical reach, and third-party services.
Choosing between VDI & DaaS
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Desktop-as-a-Service offer high productivity, mobility and cost savings, and they have their own advantages and disadvantages. Hence, it becomes important to consider all options while choosing the right one. Here are some factors to take into consideration:
The first thing that comes to mind when talking about ease of management is DaaS. It is a hosted cloud solution where the infrastructure is taken care of by the managed service provider. This way, the IT teams will have more bandwidth to focus on the applications.
On the other hand, VDI is highly complex and demands a lot of time and expertise of the IT department. Any issues related to hardware, maintenance, load balancing, backups or any necessary updates must be taken care of by the in-house IT teams, which costs an organizations both time and money.
Usually, Desktop-as-a-service is the more affordable option when we look at it for a short term. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure needs upfront investment in hardware, and the infrastructure should be up and going. Apart from this, the ongoing maintenance management and maintenance expenses will take a toll on the organization’s budget. DaaS offers ongoing operational expenses which are predictable and can be easily adjusted into the financial planning.
However, there is no rule that DaaS will always be more affordable, as sometimes subscription costs can add up a lot. Before you compare the prices, then, make sure that you understand what exactly you need.
At any organization, performance depends on the speed, latency and reliability. It is these factors that impact the user experience.
The VDI will be located within the network, so the IT teams must ensure fast, low-latency performance. However, remote workers may need external internet connectivity, employees who are within the perimeter will continue to work without any disruption on the local network, even when an internet outage occurs.
When it comes to DaaS, having a faster internet connection is a must. Due to some unavoidable circumstances, if the speed is not maintained, the performance will come down. Hence, it is important for businesses who are opting for DaaS to always be ready to upgrade their connectivity to manage such situations.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Desktop-as-a-Service offer improved security for remote workers. However, when it comes to VDI, the sensitive data is under the control of the company and DaaS may raise common security concerns. Hence, it is very important for the organizations to provide clarification on where the data will be stored, and take all necessary precautions to meet the regulatory requirements.
This does not mean that DaaS is less secure than VDI. It depends on the organization’s capabilities and resources. DaaS providers always offer a level of higher security than the in-house infrastructure. If the data is being stored in cloud, opting for DaaS is a more sensible decision as it provides improved security controls. This advantage comes as service and with data hosted in cloud, the service provider will keep checking for security alerts and CVE (common vulnerability exposures) using various channels.
Customization and control
Customization and control are always considered important for a virtual environment. In case of VDI, the level of customization is higher because the IT teams have complete freedom to design solutions to meet the growing needs of the organization.
DaaS services may offer less customization and control options, and some also have restrictions on which applications must be used. This particularly can be considered a disadvantage, in case the organizations have to run specialized services. However, for organizations who use only a limited number of standard features, it may not be much of a compromise. So, to make this decision, it is important to have an understanding about the usage of applications in the virtual infrastructure.
It is quite a tricky situation to choose between VDI & DaaS, as they both have their own pros and cons. However, there is no denying that it solely depends on the company’s requirements. It may seem that VDI is the perfect solution for larger enterprises, whereas DaaS is for smaller firms. With managed service providers like Cloud4C, either of these two solutions can be aligned to the business requirements.
Confused over what suits your business better, VDI or DaaS? Reach out to us.