UPDATE March 2014: Our book is done! Details here.
We've mentioned several times that we believe 2014 will be the Year of DaaS. Even if only a small percentage of companies actually move their desktops to the public cloud, 2014 will definitely be the year that everyone is talking about DaaS. We believe this so much that we're writing a book about DaaS which we'll publish in the first quarter of the year.
We also understand that one of the hot trends now is to convert your internal IT offerings into IT-as-a-Service. So you could argue that all VDI is DaaS, and that there's internally-hosted DaaS (what we used to just call "VDI") and externally-hosted VDI (what we call "DaaS" now). We'll be focusing on the externally-hosted, cloud-based, pay-for-it-as-a-service type of DaaS in the new book.
While we're on the topic of DaaS, I'll reiterate something that we discussed on the podcast last week: While I believe that virtually all VDI desktops ought to be paid for and operated by someone other than the enterprise, I do not believe that all Windows desktops should be VDI. In other words even with DaaS, you still have to look at your needs and use cases and figure out which of your desktops are appropriate candidates to move to a datacenter. Only then can you decide whether you should run that datacenter yourself (traditional VDI) or just pay someone else to do it (DaaS).
As for the book, we're in the process of interviewing DaaS providers, partners, customers, consultants, analysts, and everyone else we can talk to about this space. We're especially interested in customers who have moved to DaaS, customers who evaluated DaaS and ultimately decided to stick with internal VDI, and customers who tried DaaS and regretted it. (Contact us if you'd like to share your experiences!)
We created a list of all the topics we'd like to cover and the "hard" questions we want to answers. I've pasted the list here and I'm curious as to your thoughts? What are we missing? What else should we think about?
- Understanding VDI: The technology powering DaaS
- VDI (Windows Desktop) versus RDSH (Windows Server) approaches to DaaS
- Dealing with licensing (both Microsoft Windows and third party apps)
- Migrating to DaaS
- If you move to DaaS, where do you applications and data live?
- Persistent images versus shared?
- Understanding DaaS security. Is cloud-based DaaS more secure than on-premises DaaS? What about security compared to traditional laptops?
- Is DaaS easier to manage? What management tasks to the DaaS providers really handle, and what do you have to do on your own?
- If you go to DaaS, can you ever go back?
- Who are the right users for DaaS?
- Do today's technologies mean you can realistically deliver an acceptable DaaS solution?
- Do you build your own DaaS to run internally? If so, do you run your servers on site or collocate them at a provider?
- How do you choose a DaaS provider?
- Should you care about the technologies and platforms your DaaS provider uses?
- What happens if your DaaS provider goes out of business?
- Understanding pricing (and how cost models lie). What do you really get for the low monthly fee? What's missing?
- Can you deploy and manage applications and patches in the new DaaS desktops in the same way as your physical ones?
- Does DaaS mean you're essentially making all of your desktop users "remote" (since they're not going to be on your network)?
- Will it be more difficult for DaaS users to access corporate apps?
- Will everyone in the company now get the "remote user" experience? And if so, is that good or bad?
- What about laptop users who want to work offline? Is 3G and 4G really fast enough? What about airplanes?
- Can your office infrastructure handle all the users using a DaaS desktop all day? How much bandwidth do you really need?
- How do you handle user-installed applications? Who supports those?
- Do these new DaaS desktops hook into your corporate domain?
- What exact management is the DaaS provider providing? Who does patching? Does it come with Antivirus? Is it the same antivirus you use with your current desktops?
- Does DaaS mean you have to buy thin clients for all our users? Or that you "get" to?
- Does DaaS mean you get out of the laptop business all together?
- So users can use iPads now?
- Does DaaS mean that for remote offices, you can empty out the server closets and just give everyone Internet?
- Do you fire all our desktop support folks now?
- What apps do users need really? Office 365 isn't good enough?
- Why are we even talking about desktops anymore? It's all web apps. If we go through the pain of answering these questions, shouldn't we just get out of the job of Windows client management in general?
- Why does someone need DaaS if everything we do is just web apps and Office?
- Should you use DaaS for single Windows applications here and there, or should you provide a full "desktop" to our users?
- So wait, I have to log into a remote DaaS desktop just to get a browser?
- In the past it made sense for IT to manage Windows because it ran on the computer that IT gave to the user. But if the user brings his or her own laptop that they manage on their own, why is IT in the business of managing a virtual Windows desktop then?
- If we're going to spend all this effort "transforming" to get to DaaS, but then we just end up with outsourced Windows, isn't that more of the same thing we've been doing for the past 20 years? Why go through the effort to end there? Why not do that effort and end up with no managed Windows clients‹just web apps and Office 365?
- What about Windows 8.1's "loosely" connected features like Workplace Join. Can't we just do that instead of DaaS?
- How do you convince people to use your DaaS desktop when their own laptop right there already has a browser and a copy of Office?
- How hard will it be to train users to use remote desktops? "What? You mean there are two Start Buttons now?"
- Can users put their kittens and kids in the DaaS?
- What's the relationship between the laptop users have been using for the past three years (with all their stuff on it) and the "new" DaaS?
- How do you migrate the past three years worth of user crap into the DaaS? Or do you migrate it? If so, do you want to take on that risk? Does the DaaS provider? If not, where does it go?
- What about all the user settings? How do you migrate those over? All these users have to re-setup everything from scratch? ("DaaS Week" is going to be a rough one!)
- If 2014 is the year of DaaS, is that a dream come true or your worst nightmare?
- If VDI is really "just a form factor change," then what's the big deal about DaaS?
- Shouldn't we be more excited about the year we stop managing Windows desktop OSes? (Wait, isn't that DaaS? Or is it?)
Share your thoughts in the comments, good, bad, or otherwise.
Program Note: Thursday is the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, so no new blog posts until Monday.