Desktop as a service (DaaS) has many business use cases and benefits, but at the end of the day, it’s a technical solution that needs to integrate well with your needs. When assessing DaaS and VDI vendors, be sure to ask the hard technical questions. Here are a few to get you started:
1. Are the desktops dedicated on a 1:1 basis or is it a one virtual desktop/virtual server to many configuration?
Is the vendor running a Terminal Services-like environment or a 1:1 model for a more performance dedicated environment?
2. How is the vendor segmenting customers on their platform?
Do you get your own dedicated firewalls, desktop brokers, Active Directory Controllers, load balancers, IP subnets/VLANs or are they shared services? This is another important element that will dramatically effect desktop performance, security and data privacy.
3. What kind of storage is used for the VDI?
Is it a tiered-storage platform with a mix of spinning disk and SSD or is it running on 100% SSD? What kind of IOPS are dedicated for each virtual desktop? These are key questions to determine one of the major performance hindrances of the desktops being offered.
4. Is the vendor able to offer Microsoft licensing?
Some vendors are Microsoft SPLA (Service Provider Licensing Agreement) providers and can offer MS licensing. This could dramatically reduce the cost and complexity of licensing.
5. Is there a backup and recovery feature?
If so, is it included or is it an additional cost? Some organizations prefer desktops to be Named/Dedicated and if there is a need to restore these desktops from a backup, does the provider offer this or do you have to bring your own backup solution?
6. Do they offer Disaster Recovery options?
Ask detailed questions on how they handle DR and if they are multi-site capable. Specifically ask if they can meet your RTO/RPO objectives.
7. What kind of compliance packages does the vendor offer?
Some vendors claim full compliance when in reality they only offer compliance around the physical datacenter or just their firewall. Ask more questions on what their touted compliance options actually include. Request a detailed responsibilities matrix outlining exactly what they cover and what you will have to cover.
8. Does the vendor handle anti-malware and anti-virus or do you have to extend your current solution?
If you have to bring your current A/V solution, will it impact the performance of the desktop? Does your current A/V solution support a Virtual Desktop environment? Is your solution agent or hyper-visor based? What are the added costs whether you bring your own or they provide it as an option?
9. Does the VDI solution come with bandwidth or are there additional charges?
This is important to understand so your chosen solution can successfully scale with your needs without additional or hidden costs.
10. What kind of delivery options does the provider have?
Do they offer public, private and/or on premise deployment options? You may find that a particular deployment option – or combination of options – will work best for your needs. Since not all DaaS providers offer the same deployment options, understanding the difference and what will work best for you is important.
11. Is a responsibilities matrix or RACI that describes what the vendor is responsible for and what the customer is responsible for available?
Many providers offer desktops but not management, are you trying to outsource the desktops or just the infrastructure and software? Fully understanding the scope of service and your in-house responsibilities can dramatically reduce confusion and help your project move forward smoothly.
For additional must-ask questions, download the DaaS Provider Evaluation Checklist