Current Date :February 29, 2024
VDI vs. DaaS: What is the difference, and which is best for your virtualization needs?

VDI vs. DaaS: What is the difference, and which is best for your virtualization needs?

Desktop virtualization is nothing new, but now you have two common forms to pick from VDI and DaaS. Anyone who has contributed much time in an enterprise computing environment has performed with a virtual machine (VM) at some point. Local virtual desktop infrastructures (VDIs) were the criterion, but today’s bandwidth availability and cloud choices make Desktop as a Service (DaaS) much more efficient, and COVID-19 is making DaaS more engaging than ever.

What is VDI?

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) has been around for a long time, and traditionally was the only method to run a virtual desktop. Slap a server in the data center, fill it up with virtualization software, turn on some machines, and you’re ready to go.

Since VDIs are centrally placed, the IT team is responsible for maintaining them. That indicates the hardware, software, licensing, and deployment are all managed in-house. Latency is least, the IT department has total control, and even if access to the internet goes out, the job can still get done.

But that’s not to say VDI doesn’t have its disadvantages. While it’s convenient to maintain hardware and software internally, VDI systems need dedicated IT staff to manage all possible accidents. Hardware failure, software problems, and anything else that could go reverse has to be managed in-house, and that can get expensive.

What is DaaS?

DaaS, as Citrix’s Kenneth Oestreich stated, is “VDI that’s someone else’s problem.” At its most fundamental level, that’s true: DaaS is a VDI that is hosted in the cloud by a company like Amazon, VMware, Citrix, Microsoft, or Google. With DaaS, all of the hardware is maintained by the provider, so you won’t have to bother about rack space, hardware malfunction, or maintenance.

DaaS systems are subscription-based and are usually loaded by the seat. It can be tempting to rush into a DaaS system to remove the clutter of a data center and the calendars of IT staff, but there are quite a several causes why that may not be the best idea.

“There are two kinds of DaaS providers: Those that provide barebones systems and those that are business-ready,” Oestreich said. Most DaaS providers allow the most basic of systems that only come with regular Windows software–anything users require to do their jobs still has to be provided and configured by the IT department.

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Is the DaaS revolution upon us?

Infrastructure, software, and computing platforms are all frequently being hosted in the cloud, so clearly desktop computers are only a step away, right? Not certainly, at least if you ask Gartner’s Nathan Hill.

Long-term pricing, Hill states, is a major obstacle to larger DaaS implementation. “The pricing of DaaS can usually be misleading, as the entry point price often comprises a very few resource profile for not much more than OS or workspace hosting.”

Hill stated that DaaS is excellent for agile computing requirements, but as a replacement for the average employee’s desktop, it isn’t going to always meet the bill. “To return a permanent desk-based employee today is always going to result in a greater total cost of ownership, so the question becomes can companies justify extended investment for the agility the platform can cause,” he said.

Gartner’s Market Guide for Desktop as a Service, published in November 2019, shows that DaaS adoption has been slower than anticipated, with the company forecasting only a 20% transit from VDI to DaaS by 2023. 

2019 was a big year for DaaS industry news, with Microsoft’s DaaS providing, Windows Virtual Desktop, going into the common release, and Citrix’s DaaS product, Citrix Managed Desktops, doing the same. These moves came earlier to Gartner’s market guide, suggesting it was still predicting slower growth as of late 2019. 

That may have altered with the spread of COVID-19, however: An article on digital workplace courses from Gartner issued in August 2020 lists DaaS as one of six trends to keep an eye on, mainly because of how fast the pandemic accelerated changes to remote work. 

“COVID-19 highlighted the value and business continuity strength of DaaS in its capacity to rapidly allow remote work where on-premises choices have stalled. The pandemic is likely to expedite the adoption of DaaS, and it may even continue as a delivery architecture when employees return to the office,” Gartner stated.

What are good use cases for DaaS?

Both Oestreich and Hill acknowledge that business-ready DaaS systems can benefit certain sorts of companies. Schools can utilize DaaS for student computing in labs and as follow-along training tools; temp workers can be provided a workstation without hardware setup, and anyone requiring to test hardware and software profiles can profit from a fully cloud-based system.

Oestreich stated that Citrix partners allowing vertical integration have had success, which he sees as the ultimate path of DaaS offerings. Partner organizations like Approach Technology and TekLinks provide industry-specialized DaaS platforms, and they remain to develop rapidly. These specialized providers can provide industry-specific software bundled right into DaaS machines, using all the licensing and implementation out of a company’s hands. Evolve IP, Amazon WorkSpaces, and MTM Technologies AnywhereApp also provides compliance options for several industries.

How does COVID-19 affect VDI vs. DaaS decision-making?

DaaS is still a newer technology, and it’s developing along with the rest of the Everything as a Service (XaaS) world. In the future, it’s completely possible that work desktops will all be thin clients joined to the cloud, but we’re not actually there yet, particularly in light of Gartner’s data that DaaS adoption has been slower than anticipated.

“The reality is that VDI and SBC as technologies are more experienced than DaaS,” Hill stated. Maturity may not matter if COVID-19 keeps companies distributed to home offices. Gartner made another great point in favor of DaaS adoption in its digital workplace trends article: It’s expensive to invest in VDI. DaaS costs vary broadly from a vendor to vendor, but with remote work expected to be permanent even after the pandemic ceases, those costs may be better for in-house deployments. 

Also Read: Six Advantages Of Cloud-Based Automated Testing

Conclusion

If pandemic-triggered remote work trends proceed, several physical offices may never reopen, which is another nail in the coffin for the data center in favor of an entire transition to the cloud. 

At TestUnity, we strive for the highest quality in every project, and our professional QA specialists are ready to ensure it. Contact us if you’re looking for a dedicated team to enhance your product’s quality.

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