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Thinking About DaaS? Why Knowing Your WebRTC Is More Important Than Your ABCs.

Many of the companies that have already moved their servers to the cloud are now wondering if desktops should be next. Broadly, Desktop as a Service (DaaS) is the cloudification of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) that historically has lived on prem. The DaaS market has an expected CAGR of 36.9% over the next 5 years. This exceeds the expected CAGR of hyperscale data center market (Azure, GCP, AWS, etc.) so we expect that most companies will need to at least consider this route in the next few years.

There are several benefits of DaaS over traditional on premise VDI architecture. Many of these benefits mirrors the same benefits you get from moving from an on-premise data center to the cloud.

Simplified Management: With DaaS, the service provider takes care of managing the underlying infrastructure, including server hardware, networking, storage, and software updates. This relieves the burden of infrastructure management from the organization, allowing IT teams to focus on other strategic initiatives.

Scalability and Flexibility: DaaS offers greater scalability compared to VDI. As DaaS is delivered from the cloud, organizations can easily scale up or down their virtual desktop deployments based on user demand. This flexibility allows for efficient resource allocation and cost optimization.

Reduced Complexity: Implementing VDI requires significant upfront investments in infrastructure and expertise to deploy and manage the virtualization infrastructure. DaaS eliminates the need for organizations to build and maintain their own VDI infrastructure, reducing complexity and costs associated with hardware provisioning, software licensing, and infrastructure maintenance.

Rapid Deployment: DaaS solutions can be provisioned quickly, enabling organizations to deploy virtual desktops to users in a short span of time. This is particularly beneficial in scenarios where there is a need for rapid onboarding of remote or temporary workers or in response to unexpected business needs.

Accessibility and Device Independence: DaaS enables users to access their virtual desktops and applications from any device with an internet connection, including laptops, tablets, or even smartphones. This flexibility allows users to work from anywhere, enhancing productivity and facilitating remote collaboration.

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery: DaaS solutions often include built-in redundancy and disaster recovery capabilities. In the event of a hardware failure or a local disaster, users can quickly switch to alternative virtual desktops hosted in different data centers, ensuring minimal disruption to business operations.

Cost Efficiency: DaaS is typically offered on a subscription-based pricing model, which means organizations can pay for the virtual desktops and resources they need on a per-user basis. This pay-as-you-go approach eliminates upfront infrastructure costs, allows for predictable budgeting, and provides the flexibility to adjust the number of desktops based on user needs.

There are real differences between DaaS platforms that have an impact on the end user experience, where the “workload” is processed and even what devices you should deploy to end users. Here are some key points to consider as you look at DaaS providers:

WebRTC support\Audio Video Redirection: WebRTC is an open standard capable of redirecting video, voice, and data in a peer-to-peer fashion from one instance/endpoint to another. This allows the offloading of the audio and video to the local endpoint which reduces latency and improves video quality. This means that all the “apps” you use for video meetings will perform better and if you have contact center agents their calls will be clearer.

There is a tradeoff though, with the local endpoint handling the audio and video you will need to consider the additional hardware requirements to support the handling of these streams.

You also need to understand which applications are supported, for each vendor, and can leverage audio and video redirection and the version of the application supported (i.e. web or desktop). Also consider, what, if anything, you need to do to enable support for audio and video redirection in your environment.

Device Support and USB redirection: Which USB devices that can be recognized and accessed varies by platform as well. In general, most will handle common USB peripherals but if you are using proprietary peripherals or less common USB devices understanding the support for these up-front will save you headaches down the road.

Underlying Protocols: the underlying protocols leveraged by each platform varies considerably.

Azure Virtual Desktop uses RDP, Citrix uses HDX which is a proprietary suite of technologies and protocols, and VMWare uses a combination of protocols including their proprietary Blast Extreme and Blast HTML.

Each of these has underlying strengths and weaknesses so a deep dive into these protocols and impact on latency, network traffic, and end point performance need to be considered.

Operating Systems: do you use operating systems other than Windows? If so, you are going to need to understand which providers can support other OS’s such as Linux and MacOS.

Management and Monitoring: you should spend a considerable amount of time determining how provisioning and monitoring works. What tools are you given to deploy a new “desktop”? How do you monitor end user experience and application performance? Connection failures?

Need help evaluating DaaS vendors or managed service providers to support your DaaS environment? Eclipse can help. Contact us to get started.

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