Similar to server virtualization, virtualizing desktops involves separating the physical location of an end-point device from its interface, data, and applications. This enables the desktop to be manifested on any end-point device (traditional desktops, mobile devices, tablets, etc.) while also enabling IT departments to effectively tackle the cost and complexity of managing traditional desktop hardware. Over the years, desktop virtualization has evolved from an on-premise Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) model to a hosted, cloud-based model called Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS). DaaS has been adopted by businesses and organizations that want to gain control over their desktop environments while making them more cost-efficient to manage. With DaaS, companies have complete control over end-point devices and can ensure that all sensitive data is served and managed centrally from a data center eliminating any risk of corporate data loss or leak. In addition, since all data resides centrally, it is easier to detect threats or malware and isolate it, reducing the chances of security breaches.

"With DaaS, companies have complete control over end-point devices..."
“With DaaS, companies have complete control over end-point devices…”

Enabling Mobility DaaS enables seamless anytime, anywhere access to the corporate desktop allowing businesses to adopt a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy while ensuring data security and maximizing employee productivity. Users can access their virtualized desktop, applications and data anytime, anywhere, and from any device, including native clients on iOS and Android devices. The added flexibility is enabling companies to more effectively support a wider spectrum of use cases including:

  • Remote and Departmental Employees: Whether they are telecommuting, offshore, or contracting, virtual workers are becoming a larger chunk of the corporate end user population every year. With cloud-hosted desktops, businesses can support geographically dispersed workers in a very cost-effective and secure manner.
  • Contractual Workforce: Similarly, many companies need desktops for unique tasks or one-off projects, such as contract developers needing curated and governed access to proprietary intellectual property and data. With DaaS, companies can flexibly scale their end-user computing needs without sacrificing any security policies and compliance controls.
  • Task and Production Workers: Companies may have a set of workers (e.g. factory workers) that require limited access to a curated suite of applications on a transactional basis. DaaS enables companies to effectively deliver such a solution across a set of shared workstations and end-user nodes.
  • Disaster Recovery: A disaster recovery plan protects against a power outage, a technical issue, fire, hurricane, terrorism or other similar disruption. Many companies have disaster recovery strategies for their server infrastructure but not for their desktops. However, if a disaster occurs, the impact on end users—and the business—can be devastating. Cloud-hosted virtual desktops provide a cost-effective desktop disaster recovery solution that can be implemented easily and rapidly. Building in resiliency at all levels ensures the data and applications are safe and will continue running if one, or even two, of the data centers that house data are compromised.

Implementing Virtual Desktop Computing for Real Business Benefits Cloud-based desktop virtualization can provide businesses with a slew of very tangible and compelling benefits over traditional desktops. This includes:

  • Reduced Costs: Cloud-based virtual desktops eliminate up-front capital outlay and associated periodic hardware refresh cycles. The shift to a consumption-based, pay-as-you go Cloud paradigm also unlocks the flexibility to scale up and down based on business needs.
  • Simple Management and Support: Cloud-based virtual desktops come with central and remote management capabilities, enabling IT departments to have greater control, improved end-point security, and reduced management costs.
  • Device and Location Independence: Device independence gives end users access to corporate applications and data from any device, without compromising data security or resource availability, while location independence gives users the flexibility to work from anywhere because the service provider has multiple locations.
  • Agility and flexibility: New employees and contractors can be provisioned with the click of a button, and access to new applications can be provided equally seamlessly via a centralized management interface.

The desktop market is ripe for change and cloud technologies are rapidly evolving to meet those changes. Windows 7 migrations, new flexible business models, the need to reduce desktop TCO, and demand for mobile device support – both daily and in special cases – are driving organizations to reevaluate their desktop strategy and shift away from the traditional desktop model. Employee mobility and associated expectations of flexibility and seamless access to data and applications is further spurring companies to look at alternatives. While cloud-hosted desktop virtualization is in early stages of adoption, companies are already experiencing significant benefits of implementing DaaS, and in the process unlocking greater agility and scalability.