When your on-premises assets are near deprecation, it is an ideal time to consider alternative options, including DaaS (desktop as a service). In other words, should you replace your deprecated on-premises VDI or physical desktop infrastructure, or should you move to DaaS?
The older your on-premises assets are, the more time your technical resources will need to spend maintaining and managing the infrastructure. Costs for software licensing, day-to-day maintenance, and breakdowns can spiral, while you also have to consider the cost of replacing deprecated hardware.
Most of these challenges can potentially be resolved or largely mitigated by moving to DaaS, freeing up your technical resources, and delivering efficiency savings and infrastructure benefits.
It isn’t all good news, however, as there are disadvantages of moving to DaaS as well as a number of challenges to overcome. You should definitely consider DaaS as an option, but that doesn’t mean you should decide to go in that direction. To help with your decision-making process, we’ve outlined the main advantages and disadvantages of DaaS.
Advantages of DaaS
- Enhance remote working capabilities – the solutions you have implemented to enable secure remote work are likely to be highly complex and difficult to manage. This is because systems in most organisations evolve over time to respond to business requirements. When existing assets are nearing their end of life, it can be the ideal opportunity to implement a best-in-class solution, particularly as it appears remote and hybrid work is now here to stay.
- Move to an operational expenditure basis – by moving to DaaS, you can move IT spend from capital expenditure (which can be difficult to predict) to operational expenditure (which is predictable even as your organisation scales).
- Benefit from the cloud – DaaS will reduce your reliance on physical infrastructure that is often costly and complex to maintain.
- Improved adaptability – moving to DaaS can improve your ability to respond to market conditions and company objectives.
- Always optimised – users always get the best experience, security is always up-to-date, and performance is always maximised with DaaS. It should be noted with this point that we are referring to managed DaaS and not client-defined or vendor-defined DaaS, both of which will require more input from your technical team.
- Improved ROI – there are lower upfront costs with DaaS and the potential to improve ROI over the medium and long-term when you take into consideration the cost of managing on-premises infrastructure and replacing machines at their end-of-life.
- Easy to scale – adjusting to fluctuating requirements, including peaks and troughs, is easier with DaaS as there is no need to adjust the capacity of on-premises infrastructure.
- Easier to manage licenses – when an employee leaves and their desktop is deprovisioned, the licenses they were using are immediately removed.
- Faster provisioning – desktops can be provisioned faster with DaaS, particularly when compared to on-premises desktops.
- Access from anywhere – another advantage of DaaS over on-premises desktops is the fact that users can access their apps and data from anywhere at any time. Therefore, DaaS facilitates remote and hybrid working.
Disadvantages of DaaS
What about the disadvantages of DaaS? In addition to the potential of higher costs over the medium and long-term if not properly managed, there are two main disadvantages to highlight:
- Reduced customisation capabilities – DaaS solutions will not be as customisable as VDI. This is because the customisation options that are available are limited to those offered by the DaaS provider. With VDI, on the other hand, there is a much broader range of customisation options. One way around this is to use a DaaS provider that specialises in your industry to meet, for example, compliance requirements.
- Less control – internal technical resources will have much less control compared to operating with a virtual desktop infrastructure.
What About Security?
Security is another major factor in any DaaS consideration, but where does it sit – as an advantage or disadvantage? Some people would put it as an advantage while others say it is a disadvantage when considering DaaS.
Security has not been included in either of our two lists as the reality is it could be in either depending on your organisation. For example, the security expertise, resources, and processes of a DaaS provider might be better than internal resources. On the other hand, internal technical resources will be much more knowledgeable about the specific threats and challenges faced by your organisation, and your security strategy.
What Solution is Right for You?
In most organisations, the real question is not whether DaaS will be an effective solution compared to VDI or on-premises desktops. DaaS technologies are now mature and reliable, and they have a proven track record. As a result, DaaS can be, in theory, a viable alternative when replacing deprecated VDI or on-premises desktop hardware.
In theory. The main challenge comes in its implementation.
If you decide the advantages of DaaS outweigh the disadvantages, one option is to move a percentage of users to DaaS, focusing first on those users that have the lowest performance needs and represent the lowest risk in terms of proprietary data and cybersecurity.
Whatever approach you take, it is essential to avoid the pitfalls of implementing DaaS, as it is the pitfalls, rather than the underlying technology, that often cause DaaS migration projects to fail. There are five main pitfalls to avoid:
- Not properly communicating with end users.
- Choosing the wrong DaaS supplier.
- Not using the right tools to automate and streamline the migration to DaaS.
- Not using the right tools to manage applications and monitor user, app, and device performance.
- Not identifying the ideal candidates for DaaS, e.g., users that only use Office365-based and web-based applications.
At Access IT Automation, we have tools and expertise to help you avoid all four of the above pitfalls, ensuring a successful DaaS implementation if you decide that is the way to go.