Here’s What Your Peers Are Asking About Cloud Desktops

Why should I consider cloud desktops?

The public cloud has created an opportunity for enterprises to deliver cloud desktops and virtual applications at a scale previously unachievable with existing technologies, such as legacy VDI. When desktops are centralized in a public cloud, enterprises gain agility, as they can quickly spin up desktop resources when and where they are needed. They gain built-in business continuity and disaster recovery because employees can access their desktops from any device and from any location. IT organizations can also reduce desktop TCO through simplified IT processes and the use of lower-cost endpoints. 

For another perspective about cloud desktops, read the report from analyst ESG: Top 10 Accelerants for Cloud-Hosted Desktops in 2020.

What if my users are in multiple locations?

If you need to support users in multiple locations, whether around the country or around the world, here’s what you need to ask vendors about cloud desktops: Where is the gateway located?
Some VDI solutions support a limited number of gateways, so if users are located in California, but the gateway is in NY, then substantial latency will be added, potentially impacting performance. 

Are you able to place the cloud desktop in the public cloud region closest to the user?
The greater the distance between the desktop and the user, the higher the latency, and this can result in poor performance. 

Most enterprises require multi-region cloud desktops. Learn more about the how Workspot’s solution architecture makes this possible.

What kind of IT resources do I need to have in-house?

Many cloud desktop solutions are really a collection of services and infrastructure. You’ll need to have in-house expertise in both VDI as well as in your public cloud of choice to build, maintain and troubleshoot infrastructure, provision cloud desktops, implement upgrades and ensure the overall cloud desktop SLA. If you don’t have these skill sets, then you may want to consider a Managed Service Provider (MSP), or evaluate a turnkey cloud desktop service such as Workspot or Amazon Workspaces.

Here’s what a turnkey cloud desktop service means to our customers.

What use cases is the system best suited to support?

There is a range of options, and we will help map your organization’s requirements to make sure all your users have the compute power they need.

  1. Persistent desktops:
    Personalization for the cloud desktop is equivalent to a physical PC. A user starts with the company image, but is able to add customizations that are retained each time they log in. 
  2. Non-persistent desktops:
    These are typically provisioned as a shared pool of desktops that do not retain customization. Users get a fresh desktop each time they log in. 
  3. Shared server/Windows 10 multi-user desktops:
    For employees such as call center workers who need access to a basic Windows 10 desktop or application and typically do not run taxing workloads, shared server configurations can be a cost-effective option to consider.
  4. GPU:
    High-performance desktops with a graphical processing unit (GPU) are available in the public cloud, which can meet the needs of engineers, CAD designers, BIM managers, and other users with heavy processing requirements.

    For examples of use case scenarios, see how our customers are putting cloud desktops to work.

What security and compliance requirements do I need to consider?

There are critical questions to ask cloud desktop vendors about security:

  1. Would shared, multi-tenant gateways cause any concern for the security team? 
    Some cloud desktop vendors are multi-tenant, but direct traffic through shared gateways, which can introduce risk.
  2. Does the system separate the control plane from the data plane?
    If the platform does not, it’s possible the cloud vendor can access your data, which compromises Zero Trust security policies. 
  3. Where is Active Directory running?
    Will you need to move AD to the cloud, and if so, is this a problem for your security team? Some cloud services are based on Windows servers, and they may require that you install a domain controller in the cloud. This can put authentication credentials out of your control, and they pass through a system that isn’t yours. 

    To learn more about cloud desktop security considerations, read our blog.

Who owns the desktop SLA? What is my IT team responsible for?

Most solutions require your IT team to be responsible for desktop uptime and availability. Are you staffed to meet those needs?
Workspot takes ownership of the cloud desktop Service Level Agreement (SLA), allowing your IT team to work on more strategic projects. This means that we take care of overall Workspot platform maintenance and upgrades. Additionally, our deep instrumentation at all layers of the platform feeds our big data engine, which can identify problems in real-time and alert the IT or security teams, even when the issue is outside the Workspot system. This allows us to go well beyond just the cloud desktop SLA and assist with your overall Business SLA.

Read more about Workspot’s contribution to your “Business SLA” here.

What is the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the solution?

Here are some things to consider about cloud desktop costs: How will you track and manage solution costs? Do you need to manage each element separately?
For most cloud desktop solutions, you’ll need to monitor and manage several elements separately. For example, there are cloud compute costs (which differ by region), the cost of IT staff required to manage the system, the actual solution costs (licenses, support, infrastructure, etc…), and other elements. If your organization is resource-constrained, a turnkey cloud desktop service may be a better fit and can reduce overall desktop TCO.

Predictability: Is budget predictability important?
There are many stories about cloud desktop billing surprises— and not the pleasant kind. If this is a concern, or if parsing complex billing is too time-consuming for your team, consider a solution with flat-rate pricing that includes the cost of cloud compute.

To begin your own TCO comparison, use our ROI calculator to estimate your savings with Workspot cloud desktops.

What should our end users expect about cloud desktop performance?

It’s well-known that traditional VDI has a poor reputation when it comes to the end-user experience. The right cloud desktop solution can easily improve end-user satisfaction when compared to legacy VDI. So, the real comparison is between physical PCs and workstations and cloud desktops. This is the new “gold standard” of virtual desktop performance. By placing cloud desktops in the region closest to each user, performance is often better than a PC!

Here’s what you need to know about The New Math of VDI Performance.