Delivering desktops as a service is becoming an attractive option for businesses that are looking for ways to cut costs and improve efficiency. Research by Citrix shows that Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) could be the method in which many small to medium-sized businesses begin their journey into cloud computing.

How Does DaaS Work?

You can build DaaS in both a public and private cloud environment. Consider this scenario: the old way of doing IT consisted of building out a bare metal workstation, manually putting an image on the hard drive and delivering the hardware to the user.

With DaaS, an administrator can create a virtual machine, use an operating system image, and if the admin has access to a deployment suite such as Microsoft SCCM 2012, the operating system image can have the correct parameters preconfigured based on the new user’s job title.

What Physical Hardware Is Needed?

When you deliver DaaS, users will be able to access their desktops from practically any device. Mobile devices such as tablets, aging desktop or laptops and thin clients can all be used access DaaS. Dell recently released a product called Cloud Connect that can turn any television into a thin client.

This HDMI dongle receives input using a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse while it gets its internet connection using a built-in Wi-Fi adapter. Once plugged into a TV, your screen becomes a thin client that can reach out and connect to virtual desktops in the cloud. Using DaaS, you cloud desktop will be accessible from nearly any computing device regardless of its native operating system or hardware.

Cloud Desktops: The Next Big Thing?

While the desktop operating system isn’t going away anytime soon, the headaches and overhead associated with building out new workstations will soon become obsolete. As organisations look for alternatives to the traditional process of hiring on additional help desk staff, deploying thick clients and managing physical assets, the idea of having a user’s desktop in the cloud becomes more and more intriguing. Large corporations typically refresh their desktop PC hardware every 3 to 5 years.

What are some key advantages of using a cloud desktop and DaaS?

  • Users can bring their own devices and work from anywhere.
  • Data can’t leave your cloud, so managing sensitive information is trivial.
  • Never spend money upgrading physical desktop hardware again.
  • Using a solution such as Citrix XenDesktop, video/audio streaming is no problem.
  • Delivering IT services using antiquated methods is both costly and inefficient.
  • Cloud desktops can be available and ready for use in less than 60 seconds.

Since a cloud desktop can be accessed from almost any computing device, the need for having an inventory of personal computers and parts simply disappears. When an application requires more hard drive space or RAM than a virtual machine has available, users can typically request additional resources through a self-service portal and receive an instant upgrade.

Users can also request software in the same manner. When you offer a self-service portal to you users, administrators can begin gathering valuable data which can be reported to executives. Data generated by reporting services that deploy virtual desktops allow the organisation to better track computing consumption, create and maintain metrics and save the organisation precious time and money.