A Look at DaaS (and Almost DaaS) Offerings in 2017

Park Place Technologies


Chris Adams November 09, 2017

The expense of unused capacity? The big players excel at driving density and efficiency so it’s not the business’ problem anymore.

Across the aaS spectrum, we’ve seen public cloud providers take on many of the challenges facing enterprises and small businesses. The problems of VDI seem ripe for the picking for the likes of Amazon, Microsoft, and Citrix.

Take for example the complex VDI infrastructure requiring different types of IT talent to make it happen? Why not leave it to a third-party provider?

The expense of unused capacity? The big players excel at driving density and efficiency so it’s not the business’ problem anymore.

Upfront investment? Transform it into a subscription-based or pay-as-you-grow model.

For organizations frustrated by VDI, or those that felt VDI sounded appealing but was never a viable option, DaaS offers advantages VDI never could. And there are solutions aplenty in the market today.

Application Streams and Cloud Workspaces—There is a Difference

For the purposes of our analysis, we’ll consider DaaS to be hosted client virtualization, basically a third-party form of VDI as opposed to the on-premises version. Although some commentators refer to the latter as DaaS with the IT organization serving as an internal service provider, the differences between on-site and third-party implementations are significant enough to make the conflation more confusing than helpful.

Two Amazon Web Services are characteristic of the options available in 2017. The first AWS product in the space is AppStream, now in its 2.0 incarnation. The service is designed to stream any application to any browser (within reason, of course). The use case for AppStream centers on legacy applications that don’t transition well to the cloud. Using AppStream, IT pros can, without rewriting the code, move those applications from their servers to AWS’s, while giving employees, contractors, and others remote access from anywhere.

AWS AppStream would not be considered full-service or managed DaaS, but it is a step toward pushing desktop- and/or mobile- related challenges to a cloud provider. Similarly, Microsoft’s Azure RemoteApp is less a complete DaaS product and more of an application access tool, but it can get the job done for some organizations, depending on the needs.

The other AWS offering is WorkSpaces, which qualifies as a true DaaS solution. With WorkSpaces, IT pros can provision complete, cloud-based Windows desktops. (Sorry, Linux enthusiasts need not apply as yet.) The WorkSpaces can incorporate the usual desktop bells and whistles, from word processing applications and document access to high-end graphics and compute capabilities.

Following a familiar AWS formula, the company offers a free tier supplying two standard WorkSpaces used for a total of 40 hours over two calendar months. After that, IT organizations need to dive in to the AWS pricing structure.

Other Key DaaS Players

The field of application streams and DaaS is, of course, broader than AWS. Among the most prominent providers are the following:

  • Cisco has a Desktop-as-a-Service solution that got a great write-up by IDC as far back as 2014.
  • Citrix offers XenApp for virtualized applications, with XenDesktop bringing it to full VDI-style capabilities. Then there is Workspace Cloud, a combination of XenApp, XenDesktop, XenMobile, ShareFile, and NetScaler capabilities.
  • Navisite has Managed NaviCloud as a full DaaS solution, but NaviCloud Sessions and NaviCloud Desktops offer non-persistent and persistent desktops respectively in a hosted environment as well.
  • VMWare, the premier VDI innovator, has Horizon, an evolution of the Desktone technology it acquired in 2013.

Any of these can get an organization from zero to DaaS in short order, but is it the right decision to outsource the desktop in this manner? We’ll examine the pros and cons next.

Chris Adams is President and COO of Park Place Technologies. Contact him at cadams@parkplacetech.com.

About the Author

Chris Adams, President and Chief Executive Officer
As President and CEO, he works side-by-side with other key leaders throughout the company managing day-to-day operations of Park Place. His key objectives include streamlining work processes and ensuring that all business initiatives and objectives are in sync. Chris focuses on key growth strategies and initiatives to improve profitability for Park Place, and is responsible for European and Asia-Pacific sales and service operations.