These days, it seems everything is “as a service”—SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, XaaS. It’s a constant reminder of just how much technology’s shaping our business world. One service that sometimes gets overlooked is DaaS, or desktop-as-a-service. Often confused with virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), this simple service is invaluable to companies. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about DaaS.

What Is DaaS?

It is a type of virtual computing that gives individual employees access to the data and applications necessary to do their jobs from any device at any time. Simply put, it gives employees a fully operational desktop in the cloud.

DaaS vs. VDI

Tech-savvy readers will instantly connect this to the more commonly discussed VDI, but there’s one key difference: VDI is an on-premises infrastructure, where the virtual desktops are linked to internal servers. DaaS, on the other hand, is hosted outside the company—in the cloud, on external, off-premises servers, usually by a service provider.

So why not just use VDI? Well, managing a VDI solution can be rather costly. It requires in-house equipment and teams to support and service that equipment. Implementing such a solution can cost upwards of $200,000 in upfront capex, in addition to a lot of time and manpower that many small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) just don’t have access to.

Why Choose DaaS?

When looking at a virtual desktop solution, the biggest upside to DaaS is its lower cost. Since the price is based on a subscription model, customers save money on upfront, hardware, licensing, and management costs.

It also moves expenses from capex to opex, something that benefits many companies. In fact, it can reduce capex by up to 56% annually and even slightly reduce annual opex costs. A virtual desktop lasts longer, does not use as much power, and lacks a physical hard disk, making it cost about half as much as a traditional PC over the course of its life.

Other Benefits

DaaS comes with many other benefits besides cost savings. Here’s a rundown of the most notable ones:

  • Flexibility: A DaaS environment enables you to easily switch environments, allowing you to offer Windows to some employees and Linux to others, or let them switch back and forth. In addition, updates can be done in minutes, not days.
  • Accessibility: DaaS allows your employees to work from anywhere, on any device, increasing productivity and efficiency. With the rising popularity of remote work, this is becoming even more important.
  • Security: Everything—such as what gets downloaded or when security patches are issued—can be controlled from one central point. Viruses also have a harder time entering a user’s system through the central server vs. individual machines. Finally, without information on physical hard drives, if an employee device is stolen, your company data isn’t compromised.
  • Disaster Recovery: While it does not replace a full disaster recovery solution, virtual desktops do enable your company to get employees up and running faster after a disaster.

DaaS Disadvantages

That all sounds great, but we all know that every technical solution has its drawbacks. So what are the downsides of DaaS?

First, if you’re not careful, you may not see the cost savings typically associated with DaaS. While a DaaS solution will definitely be an operational expense, that expense could get out of control if you don’t pay attention to your provider’s terms of service or appropriately plan for usage rates.

Other disadvantages include:

Connectivity: Since DaaS requires a lot of data transfer via the Internet, you must ensure your employees have access to a solid Internet service—not doing so can result in network latency, especially with graphic-intensive applications.

Single Point of Failure: While the benefits are worth it, and good providers take steps to ensure a disaster recovery plan for their clients, DaaS does give you a single point of failure for all of your employees’ workstations. If your provider goes down, you’ll be at a standstill.

DaaS and MSPs

So we’ve established that DaaS is an important consideration for SMBs looking to reduce costs and increase efficiency via a virtual desktop solution, but what about managed service providers (MSPs)? Why is it important for an MSP to provide this service, from their perspective?

Target Market

The most obvious reason for an MSP to offer DaaS is that their target customer naturally wants this service. DaaS is typically used by SMBs, the same companies that normally enlist the help of an MSP. According to a Citrix survey of over 700 of its service providers, 70% of MSP customers have fewer than 100 employees.

Continuous Revenue

DaaS can provide a profitable and continuous revenue stream for MSPs, all while allowing you to keep your rates fair. This service is also easily manageable and won’t take a lot of manpower or specialty setup.

Other DaaS Benefits

If that’s not enough, you’ll also get more security, control, and ease of management out of implementing a DaaS service—more so than if you were to try to manage each employee’s individual machine. It also makes it easier for your customer’s employees to bring their own devices, something that’s in increasingly high demand.

How Nerdio Can Help

Obviously, DaaS is something to consider for both SMBs and MSPs, but there are tons of solutions to choose from—so what’s the best one?

Nerdio from Azure is a great choice for your DaaS needs. It’s:

Flexible: Allows you to do everything from managing a few servers to providing a full-blown IT-as-a-service solution. Simply adjust Azure’s compute and storage usage to match your needs.

Simple: You can provision an IT environment in just two hours, without any help from an engineer. Everything is done in three clicks or less.

Easy to Manage: Everything—all of your clients’ environments—is controlled from a single dashboard. Backups are done automatically, and only as you need them.

Insightful: Nerdio’s performance monitoring allows you to measure real end-user experiences and gain valuable insights so you can make smart changes.

With researchers predicting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 29% for the DaaS market, this trend certainly isn’t going to go away anytime soon. Contact SherWeb today to see how we can help you make the most of your IT service offering.

Written by Sophie Furnival Content Specialist @ SherWeb

Sophie is SherWeb's Marketing Communications Strategist.