Data Center

Delivering your Desktop from the Public Cloud?

I guess you are familiar with Desktop Virtualization. Using it, companies can host (and process) user’s desktop sessions in their data centers, and just send the desktop image to the end-user terminal over the network. This process happens within the enterprise network/private cloud. What if, desktop sessions can be hosted and delivered, instead, from a public cloud – over the Internet? Welcome to Desktop as a Service (DaaS).

Today, it is possible to decouple software, applications & data from end-user hardware, host it in a public cloud, and offer it as a service with no upfront costs but monthly payments. In this post, let us see why desktop software and data should be delivered from a public cloud. Let us also look at some limitations of this model.

Advantages:

  1. Anytime, anywhere, from any device (computer, mobile, tablet, etc.) access to the desktop – applications and data. Only Internet connection required. BYOD & mobility, anyone?
  2. Monthly costs are predictable – no need to invest in servers, software, skilled personnel up front. (Unlike desktop virtualization, where some upfront investment is required.)
  3. On demand, instant provisioning of desktops – scale up & scale down at will.
  4. Since applications & data reside centrally in the cloud provider’s data center., security, backup, upgrades, disaster recovery, and other such vital functions can be centralized and managed better by the administrators, instead of depending on the user.
  5. It is possible, with most DaaS providers, to integrate desktops with on-premise or cloud-based directories like Active Directory, etc.
  6. Users can use old desktops/laptops/thin clients/zero clients to access their desktop with the latest OS.
  7. Lower power, CPU utilization and storage requirements per desktop (user end).
  8. Most DaaS service providers offer a self-service platform for users and admins to install apps of their choice, or the ones permitted by the company. Users can install any app that can be installed on the OS of the hosted desktop, if permitted by the company.
  9. Automatic & continuous cloud back up of user data is possible. Hence, there is less chance for data loss.
  10. With some providers, it’s possible to sync the respective folders on the end-user device (client) and the virtual desktop (server).

Limitations:

  1. Performance/Speed/Responsiveness are dependent upon your Internet connection/network.
  2. Distance of the end-user from the data center & latency cannot be more than a specified value (2000 miles, for example) for DaaS to work effectively.
  3. USB drive, VoIP, and local printer access (via USB) may not be possible, at least not with all service providers.
  4. Multimedia streaming depends on the network performance and Internet connectivity/optimization.
  5. Offline usage, while available with a few providers, is not comprehensive. DaaS requires Always On Internet.
  6. Data Center storage is more expensive than end-user storage.
  7. Some service providers may limit the OS & application choices.
  8. Some service providers support only certain types of end-user terminals (like Windows/Mac computers only). In this case, OS license maybe required both for the end-user computer and for the virtual desktop hosted on the server. Double cost.
  9. Bandwidth charges for Internet browsing from the end-user terminal (via virtual desktop hosted by the cloud provider) maybe additional.
  10. DaaS service is relatively new, hence admins may find it risky to depend on it for a vital service – desktops of employees.

References:

excITingIP.com

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