Here's the single reason why enterprises aren't flocking to DaaS

For those few remaining readers who don't believe we've beat the DaaS horse to death, I would like to present this week's article about DaaS. It stems from a conversation I had during PEX with a financial analyst who asked me what was holding back enterprises from larger DaaS adoption. Here's the deal: It's not the technology.

For those few remaining readers who don't believe we've beat the DaaS horse to death, I would like to present this week's article about DaaS.

It stems from a conversation I had during PEX with a financial analyst who asked me what was holding back enterprises from larger DaaS adoption. Here's the deal:

  • It's not the technology.
  • It's not the perceived issues with The Cloud. (trust, security, etc.)
  • It's not the cost.
  • It's not anyone's lack of vision.

The real reason enterprises aren't flocking to DaaS? It's because the enterprise desktop is a complex Jenga-like intertwined mesh of applications, plugins, data, registry, connectors, scripts, add-ons, files, and settings. You can't just pull out one piece to "give" to a cloud desktop provider without the whole thing crashing down.

You have to keep the desktop intact. So when you first start thinking about moving bits and pieces to the cloud, you quickly realize that you have to move everything the desktop needs to the cloud, including your file servers, mail servers, application servers, databases, AD and security systems, backups, your development environment... it's all or nothing.

Desktop jenga

We ran into this when we interviewed people for the book about DaaS we wrote last year. We wrote about how in order to move a desktop to the cloud, you also need to think about where the users' files, AD, email, and apps live. We had an entire section of the book dedicated to the challenges of DaaS. What we didn't really appreciate at the time was how big of a limitation that would be for enterprises.

Does in-house on-premises VDI make sense? Yes, lots of enterprises are doing that today.

Does accessing an app with sensitive company data as a service make sense from the cloud? Yes, lots of enterprises are doing that today.

Does paying someone else make to host your desktops in the cloud make sense? Yes, when you can move the whole enchilada.

Do enterprises want (or are they able) to move the whole enchilada? No.

Heck, we outlined a perfect example of this a few weeks ago when we talked about the challenges enterprises were facing just moving Outlook and Office to the cloud. And Outlook and Office are the two most "basic" desktops apps that everyone uses and that have lots and lots of competition, and we can't even figure out how to do that! If we can't figure out Office, how in the world are we going to figure out the thousands of other apps we have?

Look, VDI is awesome and solves lots of business challenges today. The cloud is also awesome and also solves lots of challenges today. But the enterprise desktop? Moving that whole thing to the cloud? Man... I just don't see it.

Small business? Yes. Medium? Perhaps. Enterprises targeting a few user groups here and there? Sure. But the "default" enterprise desktop going to the cloud? Ain't no way.

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Hi Brian,

100% agreed, the bottom line is: nowadays enterprise desktops are just too well-managed and integrated, especially in large companies. An enterprise desktop (Win7) at my customer's large world-wide spread infrastructure consists of

- a managed set of base configurations and packages (including those targeting physical machines)

- originating from a structured build process

- supplemented with optional components

- joined to SCCM infrastructure

- integrated in AV enterprise management

- living in one specific of dozens of AD organizational units

And every aspect mentioned above is managed by a different team sitting at several world-wide locations.

Establishing on-premise VDI was no easy play and I'd say moving this to DaaS/public cloud is almost impossible.

IMHO the larger and more heterogenous a company is the more the 'use case' must dominate the desktop virtualization strategy.



This is what I've been living over the last few years. trying to figure out where to put the bungie cord in the Jenga stack...

Something I've been noticing lately is that the Direct Connect options are getting faster and cheaper, I would not be surprised if there is a crossover point where the "big pipe" solution might bridge the gap for many companies.

I also currently have several use cases where users spend less than 5% of their time in on-prem applications and the rest of the time are accessing cloud or hosted resources anyway... so my number of Jenga blocks glued to the desk is going down.

There's also the Client OS SPLA licensing thing that MS seems to be very slowly addressing, but BYOL and RDS options are also out there in the meantime.

Overall I think that DaaS is getting close to being a "why not" for a lot of folks to at least consider, but maturing your organization to properly manage a Jenga stack with segmented responsibilities is truly the largest hurdle of them all.


There are plenty of enterprises that are looking to start from scratch and get rid of all the legacy nonsense that isn't working anymore. I think there are more of them than anyone would like to admit. Will be interesting to see how the market shakes out over the next 12 to 24 months.


Karen J. Bannan, commenting on behalf of IDG and VMware.


Hi Brian,

I fundamentally disagree with your conclusion, that enterprise desktops will not go to the cloud.

I have been doing with our previous company, visionapp and now T-Systems (Deutsche Telekom) nothing else but moving very large enterprise, banks, airlines, utilities with over a million seats altogther completely into a cloud.

We do what we used to call "Intra ASP", later SaaS and now cloud for over 13 years with

a) All desktop apps

b) all related services such as AD, print, file, messaging&collaboration,

c) all local site IT like apps servers for all kind of apps

d) with all related ITSM services to full IMAC automation.

Results: Our clients saved 40% to 50% of their overall Wintel IT budget spend, which is tyoically 1/3 of their overall IT budget.

To me in my experience there is a clear, stunning benefit of transforming enterprise desktops into a 100% - x cloud (with x optimized to be as low a possible): We can save them hundresd of millions dollars plus we give finally some benefits to the business which tradiional desktops over 2 decades did not manage to.

With our pure cloud enterprise desktop product we won just in 2014 over 100k enterprise seats for FULL transformation to cloud (SaaS / DaaS), so it is definitely a big growth story and substantial busines in. You just need to take a different view and approach...we been there so often we can confirm it works, perfectly well !

So, from a CIO perspective, if we can transform our clients enterprise desktop 100%, they will be able to free up at least 10% - 15% of their IT budget which our clients can much better spend on digitalisation challenges he is facing.



Thomas Mueller

Deal ?


Spot on. Nothing more to say!


I think I need to buy some shares in T-Systems..


I actually would be interested in seeing numbers that show DAAS adoption is low, any hard numbers available?