The demand for Desktop as a Service (DaaS) skyrocketed during the pandemic when remote work was the rule, not the exception. Gartner reports DaaS grew the most among public cloud offerings, increasing 95.4 percent to $1.2 billion in 2020.
Cary Wagner, Technical Operations Director and CEO of Pacific NorthWest Managed I.T. Services and member of The ASCII Group, says, “Companies couldn’t order laptops or PCs fast enough.”
Why Desktop as a Service?
The growth is understandable—DaaS is an excellent choice for remote workers. Using virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), desktops are hosted in the cloud and run on virtual machines so that people can access them anywhere with an internet connection.
Moreover, Desktop as a Service isn’t only a pandemic-era solution. It’s a good investment. Businesses can use VDI to manage desktops whether workers are in or away from the office at any time. Sales reps can access their desktops on the road, marketers can use their applications at tradeshows, and startup founders can update and give presentations anywhere.
DaaS also benefits managed services providers (MSPs). It’s easier to patch, update and manage a laptop or tablet deployment. There’s nothing loaded on users’ devices—it’s all in the cloud—and you can push updates to all users at the same time.
Desktop as a Service is particularly valuable when remote workers need to use multiple software applications to do their jobs. Wagner comments, “It’s very interesting that DaaS vendors thought that one-size-fits-all would work, and they are quickly finding that is not the case.”
He says, however, all businesses want security. DaaS vendors work hard to ensure their offerings are secure. By implementing additional security measures, such as single sign-on (SSO) and data encryption, businesses can enhance their data and network security. DaaS is also secure by nature; nothing is ever stored on the laptop or tablet. If an employee’s device is ever lost or stolen, it won’t result in a data breach.
Meeting User Expectations
Desktop as a Service touts the same user experience regardless of where the employee is working. Wagner says, however, “This is a touchy area.”
“People have their own perceptions of what is ‘good.’ I’ve seen DaaS that behaves faster than someone’s original PC, but because they know it’s from the cloud, they say it’s slower,” he says.
He advises being upfront that the experience will differ, but depending on their internet connection, it can be very close to working on real hardware. “Above all, use a UX monitoring tool to demonstrate performance is where it should be,” Wagner says.
“Most of our partners provide great monitoring and alerts. For smaller customers, user performance is never really an issue. It’s when you start getting to the mid-to-large customers where UX really needs looking after,” he says. “Too often folks try to over-provision users-to-host to save money, and that almost always leads to unhappy users.”
DaaS Growth Will Continue
Even though some companies are bringing employees back to the office, Desktop as a Service is still in demand. Some organizations are upgrading their desktops to maintain flexibility. Others are continuing remote work but are switching from having employees use VPN when they’re away from the office. Still, others want a way to enable their IT teams to manage desktops more efficiently. Regardless of the reasons, all signs are pointing to continued Desktop as a Service growth.
Allied Market Research predicts that the VDI market, which was valued at about $3.65 million in 2016, will grow to more than $1 billion by 2023, a CAGR of 16.5 percent.
Wagner sees businesses with brick-and-mortar office buildings rethinking their models. He explains, “More and more companies will see the value in paying a little more for their remote users because they don’t have to worry about paying rent in an office for them. I think lease budgets will shrink and be moved over to IT budgets.”
“Companies will find it is much less expensive to go the DaaS route,” he says.
About The ASCII Group, Inc.
The ASCII Group is the premier community of North American MSPs, MSSPs, VARs and solution providers. The group has over 1,300 members located throughout the U.S. and Canada, and membership encompasses everyone from credentialed MSPs serving the SMB community to multi-location solution providers with a national reach. Founded in 1984, ASCII provides services to members, including leveraged purchasing programs, education and training, marketing assistance, extensive peer interaction and more. ASCII works with a vibrant ecosystem of major technology vendors that complement the ASCII community and support the mission of helping MSPs and VARs to grow their businesses. For more information, please visit www.ascii.com.