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With virtual desktop technology finally advanced enough to meet VDI’s original promises of enhanced productivity and optimized IT management, organizations are now implementing virtual desktops. At the same time, cloud technologies are swelling, allowing companies to further capitalize on the same benefits of easy access, reduced in-house management, OPEX budgeting and overall improved efficiency. This has created the perfect storm where businesses can implement high performing virtual desktops via a cloud solution – known as desktop as a service (DaaS).
As organizations look into the option of outsourcing their virtual desktop solutions there are a few key things to keep in mind to ensure a good – and successful – experience. For a technical evaluation tool, check out the DaaS Provider Evaluation Checklist. But in the meantime, keep these high level factors in mind while doing early-stage research.
One of the main benefits of an “as a service” solution is that your team doesn’t need to build or maintain a comparable solution in-house – that’s what you’re outsourcing! To ensure you can get the full advantages of this type of offering, pay careful attention to the type of support DaaS providers offer.
Since DaaS is a relatively new industry the solution is still being defined and some companies that claim to be DaaS providers actually offer more of an infrastructure or platform solution. If you truly want to outsource your virtual desktops, choose a DaaS provider that offers implementation and post-implementation support as part of their fully-managed services (not as an added line item or self-serve help center).
Many cloud solutions are designed to make end user computing (EUC) simpler and easier to manage – application streaming, cloud storage, file sharing, desktop as a service, etc. Since many of these services are complementary, some DaaS providers have additional solutions that can easily be added into your contract, minimizing the number of vendors you need to evaluate, negotiate with, pay and manage.
If your organization is putting increasing emphasis on cloud solutions (and many are), consider a single vendor who can fulfill multiple needs. The fewer vendors you need to manage, the easy the process will be for you.
While EUC solutions like cloud storage and file sharing can be complementary, a DaaS provider that offers data backup and disaster recovery is a must-have. We all know what can happen to a business if it can’t access its data (that’s why ransomware attacks are so effective). If you lose your data entirely, the ramifications intensify.
Whether you opt for an on premise or cloud based solution (DaaS can accommodate both), working with a provider that also offers reliable backup and recovery solutions will give you peace of mind and take another thing off of IT’s busy schedule.
One of the reasons early VDI suffered from major performance issues is because it was built on infrastructure designed to do something else. While upcycling is nice, when it comes to a high-performing technology solution you want to go with something specifically designed and built for the task.
Pay careful attention to this aspect when vetting DaaS providers. Some larger, more established tech vendors launched virtual desktops offerings without building a true, original solution. If you want a high performing desktop experience, you need infrastructure that can handle the job (hint: hyperconverged infrastructure should not be a “new” part of the service!).
While virtual desktop technology has advanced, so have the demands of the everyday desktop user. The programs we run now are more robust and complex – and we absolutely can’t do without them. If your use cases call for softphone integration, video chatting or GPU-intensive applications, be sure to specifically ask about a provider’s ability to support these features and ask to see it for yourself. The last thing you need is finding out you have to switch applications or hardware (like headsets) to make the new desktop initiative work.
Cybersecurity is on everyone’s minds and the issue isn’t going away anytime soon. If you’re in a highly regulated industry with strict compliance standards, you may be under more pressure than ever to implement new compliance solutions. While we often think about cyberattacks and hacking when thinking about cybersecurity, the truth is an internal employee error can just as easily result in a data breach that leads to noncompliance.
Starting your compliance initiatives at the desktop is an easy way to increase security – after all, it’s the single application that every employee touches every day. Opting for a virtual desktop solution that is verified compliant can help you meet some specific compliance requirements and make audits (such as HIPAA or PCI audits) easier.
This industry is growing fast, so you want to hitch your wagon to a company that is dedicated to the solution and will continue to develop and offer great features. We’ve already seen some virtual desktop solutions sunsetted by larger companies that aren’t focused on DaaS, which left customers scrambling for a new solutions. Be mindful that for many large providers, DaaS is not their main (or even a large) revenue stream and this may impact future support and improvements.
When vetting DaaS providers, ask about their product roadmap, what enhancements they’ve introduced within the past year and how they work with customers to improve their overall offering. Remember, you’ll get something slightly different from each DaaS provider on the market, and you want to make sure your chosen solution provider meets your needs of today and is aligned to continue to grow with you in the future as this technology continues to advance.
Jun 28, 2018
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