Desktop virtualization is a fascinating concept in which a server provides all its connected hosts with desktops, applications and data. And the concept is advantageous, too. Companies who have replaced their conventional networks with this innovative technology enjoy a range of benefits including reduced costs (due chiefly to lower outlay for hardware and a decrease in power consumption) and the practical operating advantages of a centralized concept (such as simpler administration and improved security levels).
What may first be confusing, however, is that there are several different ways of approaching desktop virtualization, and each of these has its pros and cons. We have already presented two concepts in which in-house servers are used to create and operate the virtual desktops – Server Based Computing (SBC) and the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). A further method, and one that is becoming increasingly popular, is for companies to obtain their virtual working environments directly from the “cloud”.
This cloud computing approach, which has become known as “Desktop as a Service“, is available from our partner Desktone. It requires a high degree of trust on the part of users. They must be prepared to place their applications and data (some of which may be confidential) entirely in the hands of an external service provider. But, in return for this trust, DaaS providers promise their customers that they will enjoy all the benefits of an in-house VDI installation without any of the associated drawbacks such as higher costs and greater complexity.
Key advantage of DaaS: More cost-effective and flexible operation
In a DaaS scenario, your provider is responsible for setting up, running and maintaining a VDI – you no longer have to do this in your own data center. You are able to create (and delete) virtual desktops in accordance with your current demand, and adjust your billing correspondingly. Your IT environment is connected with the cloud-based desktops via a private network, and logged-in users access this via their web browsers.
The method has a number of advantages: In contrast to the significant investment costs incurred for the expensive hardware and software of a VDI environment, DaaS simply involves monthly subscription fees. DaaS customers also require fewer expensive internal or external experts. Such skilled professional assistance is vital for VDI projects, however, starting right from the planning phase, and is absolutely essential in choosing ideal hardware and software from the wide and potentially confusing range of (sometimes proprietary) devices and applications available on the market. In the subsequent operation and maintenance of a VDI, a high degree of technical expertise continues to be necessary to ensure that the virtual desktops function correctly. A VDI also incurs operating costs for electricity, cooling and floor space, unlike DaaS. All in all, Desktop as a Service therefore enjoys considerable cost advantages in comparison with a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.
DaaS offers benefits from a technological perspective as well. For example, once a hosting server in a VDI environment has reached the limits of its capacity, you are unable to create any further virtual desktops. In a DaaS scenario, however, further virtual desktops can be created at any time in response to changing demand, and providers boast almost unlimited scalability.
Key advantage of VDI: Company data remains on the premises
Companies that opt for a VDI environment running in an in-house data center can ignore all the concerns raised in connection with public cloud offerings. One frequent reservation is that the virtual desktops are only accessible when there is a functioning Internet connection. A further concern is that this Internet connection, providing it is functioning at all, must offer a high data throughput in order to be able to work effectively with the virtual desktops.
Another frequently voiced misgiving is that DaaS customers are placing their data and their business activities completely in the hands of their providers. Even through DaaS providers reassure customers that their special infrastructures and expert supervisors enable them to provide an even higher level of security than with VDI installations, a theoretical risk still remains. Backups are a further area of potential risk. Despite the fact that DaaS providers have redundant data safeguards, if information should ever be lost, it remains lost.
Last but not least, VDI users don’t have to worry about getting their data into and out of the cloud. Importing data into a cloud requires a specific format, but at least there are applications to support the process. Exporting this data again, however – to an in-house data center or a different provider’s cloud – can be difficult.
Something that will not be difficult for you at all, in any of the scenarios described above, is further enhancing the advantages of desktop virtualization. This is because with Stratodesk’s NoTouch Desktop you have a software solution that permits you to take any outdated PCs and other thin client models and quickly turn them into excellent devices for any type of virtual desktop scenario.