DaaS, simply, stands for Desktop as a Service. It is a set of technologies that allows users to utilize a remotely located computer as if it were a desktop directly in front of them.
This connection can be accomplished on any number of networked devices and, therefore, has proven popular with companies that have a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) or CYOD (Choose Your Own Device) policy. Organizations can provide the same application capabilities within a uniform technical environment while still granting users the power of choice in their hardware.
DaaS is an application of Remote Desktop protocols, a set of technologies that have seen continuous improvement over recent years. DaaS itself has gained significant momentum in the past 4-5 years, and the major players in cloud computing: Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure, both have strong offerings in this category. Leaps in technology have resolved major question marks in the viability of DaaS and remote workstations in general as an enterprise solution for end users.
Firstly, the cost of deployment is no longer a major obstacle for small to medium-sized companies. It used to be that enabling a remote computing or remote desktop infrastructure meant large CAPEX expenditures upfront for the purchase of in-house servers. This type of infrastructure was referred to as VDI, or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.
Having servers in-house also necessitates in-house technical support and having the expertise to not only set up the infrastructure, but also maintain it. This is in addition to deploying a software environment on top of the hardware infrastructure that meets company standards. The IT department also needs to onboard the organization's users while also making sure the various mission-critical applications used throughout the company are properly installed and readily accessible to all levels of users.
In short, establishing a VDI in-house was a complex and expensive expenditure. The use cases would have to be very compelling and at scale for such a step to be taken.
The proliferation of cloud services and their attached computational networks, such as those provided by Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure, mean that physically owning and maintaining your own servers is no longer a necessary step. Companies can lease machines and provide multiple users with remote access to applications. Therefore, organizations now only need to spend an amount proportional to their actual use of the machines without a prohibitive upfront cost.
Early protocols used for remote desktop access were high in latency to the point that certain applications were essentially out of the question. The necessary data usage was commensurately high.
Now, with the optimization of Remote Desktop protocols, latency has improved to where any response-time difference between a remote desktop and a local desktop is insignificant. So long as a sufficiently powerful network is in place, the vast majority of applications can be run without issue.
Early Remote Desktop protocols had compatibility issues with certain operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows. The major protocols being used today by Amazon AWS Workspaces and Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop, as well as competitors such as Remote Workstations, all allow excellent compatibility. These services not only boast an impressive list of compatibility certifications for multiple domestic and international markets, but will also pre-install customized software suites for you. Which leads us to our next point...
This point is really a combination of two trends.
Firstly, as opposed to a traditional in-house VDI, there is no need to install physical machines on location. Internal IT staff’s main concerns become the proper specification of software, the suitability of their network for remote applications, and the local installation of access portals to the remote machines.
Secondly, as cloud applications have become more and more the norm, the number of users familiar with cloud-based software has grown tremendously. As such, the onboarding of new users to a Remote Desktop or DaaS environment is a much smoother process.
As cloud computing and subscription services become more and more the norm, DaaS has a strong potential to supplant local desktop deployments for a majority of applications. Now that usability, compatibility, and cost are no longer barriers to adoption, the inescapable advantages of Remote Desktops are prominent.
Security, performance, centralization of data, and the ability to scale with speed and cost-effectiveness are all major factors in favor of using DaaS in your organization. As adoption of this service becomes more widespread, Amazon AWS Workspaces and Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop will no longer be the only major players. Expect strong competitors such as Remote Workstations to secure a place in the marketplace as comparable services with matching specifications and lower costs. The current value proposition of DaaS will only improve with time.