Virtual desktops – Desktop-as-a-Service vs. self-managed VDI

  • On July 28, 2018

Same benefits, different pricing

An old but gold Pirelli advertisement used to say “Power is nothing without control”. But in modern days businesses are willingly to give away some of the control to gain more power. Is that a fair trade and does it pays of when it comes to desktop virtualization?

The truth is that the demand to be location independent is playing a bigger role when it comes to desktop solutions as it has become pressing for almost any business today. To respond to that need desktop virtualization options are growing. They allow IT to deploy a hosted operating system to remote clients in couple of different ways including VDI and desktop as a service (DaaS)

How does VDI work?

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) virtualizes a host desktop operating system onto a central server that can be accessed through a remote device. VDI gives users the opportunity users to use full desktop capabilities on less powerful machines because larger part of the processing and computing happens on the back end.

If you have a large number of employees that certainly is a good solution for you but that means you are ready to invest heavily in hardware and building and supporting the whole thing. This solution requires a lot of IT professionals expertise and involvement and the responsibility for updates and data management lies in-house too. Strong internet connectivity is an absolute must for a reliable VDI as otherwise imminent drop downs occur and time is lost.

What is the difference with DaaS?

With DaaS, desktop operating systems run inside virtual machines on servers in a cloud provider’s data center. In this case actually everything lives in the cloud including the support and the network resources. The DaaS provider streams the virtual desktops to the end-user devices.

DaaS is a subscription model. Organizations purchase access to a certain number of virtual desktops and pay monthly subscriptions. The cash-flow advantage of DaaS is that you have no upfront costs to provision.

You will only pay for the virtual desktops that you use each month and you can adjust that as per your need. It is important to note though that these subscription costs can pile up and end up being higher than the investment of deploying on-premises VDI.

If you choose DaaS you don’t have to worry about the back-end responsibilities of data storage, backup, security and upgrades. Usually the access to the desktop is device-, location- and network-independent with the user’s personal data being copied to and from their virtual desktop during logon and logoff,

To summarize:

The two options do not offer a much different experience and provide more or less similar advantages. Desktop as a service guarantees all the perks of the virtual desktop infrastructure, including remote worker support, improved security and ease of desktop management.

But at the start DaaS gives certain investment relieves without the necessary computing power, storage capacity and infrastructure necessary for the VDI in-house deployment.