Updated April 15, 2018
Recently I’ve been checking in on various DaaS providers, and for today I’m writing about my latest conversation with Workspot. I spoke to Brad Peterson, Workspot’s VP of Marketing, who readers know for his many keynote appearances during his time at Citrix.
Last month, Workspot was in the news when former Citrix CEO Mark Templeton joined their advisory board; just last week, Harry Labana was announced as chief customer experience officer. Rounding out the personnel updates, Tarkan Maner, Andre Leibovici, and Barry Philips also joined Workspot’s advisory board, and Workspot hired a new VP of business development, Tarun Pandit.
On the tech side, Gabe Knuth wrote an extensive overview of Workspot’s DaaS 2.0 offering when it was announced in December 2016. For a quick refresher, it provides desktops as a service running in Microsoft Azure, with everything is managed by Workspot. The desktop workloads run in Workspot’s Azure tenant, and customers don’t even have to touch Azure to manage their environment. (Though it’s likely that customers will also have their own Azure tenant to get file or app servers close to their desktops.) Workspot sells this with a risk-free trial period, and they help with the implementation.
Of course, when DaaS 2.0 was announced, production use was still a few months off, awaiting the arrival of licenses that allowed Windows 10 to be run on shared hardware. This opens up a whole new set of business models, and as a result, one of the new things we can talk about today is how exactly Workspot is selling DaaS 2.0. They’re offering flat-rate contracts, with compute included—there’s no need to directly pay for the compute used by your desktops. Brad said that three-year contracts are popular, and likened it to simply buying a PC. Customers must still bring their own Windows 10 licenses.
My first question was what would happen if all of Workspot’s customers used a lot of compute. Would Workspot be stuck footing a huge Azure bill? Naturally, Workspot is relying on the ability to load-balance among its customers. Brad also pointed out that while customer contracts are fixed, Workspot can buy more compute for their money from Azure as time goes by.
The ‘think of buying a DaaS desktop like buying a physical PC’ idea is interesting, too. On the one hand, it seems like the opposite of the flexibility you would want from the cloud (though you could always upgrade your contract). On the other hand, if a predictable, flat-rate price is what makes some companies more comfortable going to DaaS, then this model is great.
Workspot is the one of the first providers that I’ve had a chance to talk to that’s doing this particular model, so we’ll see how it goes. Brad hinted that they’d have more interesting reference customers to talk about in the next few months.
And of course, this business model is only one part of the huge DaaS conversation that’s shaping up in 2018. There’s a lot to talk about regarding use cases—especially GPU-enabled ones—so stay tuned for more.
Correction, April 15, 2018: This article has been updated. The original version stated that Windows 10 licenses were included in Workspot's offerings. This is incorrect. Customers must bring their own licenses. The original title was "Checking out Workspot’s flat-rate DaaS, which has Windows 10 SPLA and compute built into the price."