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Good DaaS, Bad DaaS, Not DaaS! A Primer for Modern CIOs.

I recently attended the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, and amid the head-spinning barrage of presentations and announcements that were made, one slide stood out for me:

Why is it my favorite? Because it underscores the common theme we hear from every CIO we visit. On-premises legacy solutions have lost any remaining luster and IT teams are migrating to “Completely Managed Services” instead of building solutions in-house.

Werner Vogels, the eloquent CTO at Amazon, succinctly described the benefits of managed services:

“The more managed services you use, the higher the likelihood for your system to be secure, scalable and reliable!”

Couldn’t have said it any better myself. Let’s think about this in the context of the Desktop as a Service (DaaS) market. What’s a managed service? Are there degrees of “managed”, or a continuum of “service”? What’s acceptable? What are the trade offs? How do you make the right choices so your organization reaches that “secure, scalable and reliable” state?

What we see is that some vendors are confusing customers about the definition of “Desktop as a Service”. It’s a common pattern in the IT industry. We’ve seen it with “Big Data”, “HCI” and now we’re seeing it with “AI” and others. Desktop as a Service is a victim too. Legacy vendors jump on the bandwagon of the next big thing by spending huge marketing budgets to throw around all the new buzzwords so they can appear relevant. This does not serve customers at all. Instead, all the marketing hype confuses customers and makes their path to a good decision long and muddy.

Desktop as a Service (DaaS), is the next generation of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, where Infrastructure means you own a toolkit and build it yourself, is replaced by a “Virtual Desktop Service”, which is a full DaaS offering – no assembly required. By definition it’s hosted in the cloud, but what constitutes a complete DaaS solution? What makes it an actual “service?” If there are multiple kinds of DaaS, is there a good DaaS and a bad DaaS? Is there the DaaS-of-the-marketing-buzzwords that really isn’t DaaS at all? Yes, yes, and yes! Unfortunately.


So here is our attempt to clarify what DaaS really is so CIOs can have a clear picture of the choices:

Architectural shifts can often lead legacy vendors to have multiple, competing products that all attempt to solve the same problem. And legacy VDI architectures hosted in the cloud with subscription billing slapped on it does not qualify as modern managed services. Not DaaS!

According to Gartner, “By 2019, 50% of new virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) users will be deployed on DaaS platforms1.  As you navigate the journey to Desktop as a Service, our suggestion to CIOs is to focus on the next level of details provided by the various vendors in the market.


[1] Gartner, Market Guide for Desktop as a Service Published: 01 August 2016