You’ve probably read or heard me say that DaaS is just a desktop, and that even with DaaS, you’re still the one responsible for image management, application installations, security, monitoring, and everything else that goes with desktop virtualization. In other words, DaaS only saves you from having to do the backend infrastructure.
Over the past few years, new companies that include DaaS as part of a larger managed services offering called IT-as-a-Service have emerged to take over not just the backend infrastructure, but all of the other basic needs of managing virtual desktops. One of those companies, Nerdio, was profiled here back in December, and there are more, including Dizzion, which we’ve written about recently as well.
Today, Nerdio announced that they’re taking their ITaaS platform to Azure, which is a significant move because they were a 100% homegrown, VMware-based operation until now. Before we get into that, though, it’s worth reviewing what Nerdio does.
What is Nerdio?
You can read the full profile of Nerdio in our last article about them, but here’s the 10¢ tour:
When you subscribe to Nerdio, you don’t just get a desktop with a little bit of management. Nerdio has built in everything you would need to manage a desktop virtualization environment, including these features that are built into every subscription:
- Office 365
- Disaster Recovery
- Security and Antivirus
- Two-factor Authentication
- Automated Provisioning
- Remote Monitoring
- User-friendly, “3 Click” Management
On top of this, Nerdio maintains tight relationships with Managed Service Providers that can help you with your migration from your existing desktop platform to Nerdio’s.
For the past seven years, Nerdio has been building their ITaaS platform entirely on a VMware backend infrastructure, including Horizon 7 for desktop virtualization. Nerdio hosted it themselves at datacenters in a few states around the country. Today, Nerdio announced that they’ve expanded the platform to Azure.
What is Nerdio for Azure?
The Azure-based platform is largely the same as the VMware-based one, the only major difference being that Nerdio for Azure (NFA) runs Microsoft’s RDP protocol as instead of VMware’s PCoIP protocol. Customers still get all the features listed above, but there are some additional things that they can do now that they can leverage Azure’s features.
For example, while the traditional Nerdio platform doesn’t support GPU-enabled VMs (it could, but nobody’s really asked for them yet), NFA users can take advantage of Azure’s NV-series of VM instances.
The NFA platform can be deployed to Azure region closest to users for the best performance (the Primary Region). Admins then select a DR region for use with Nerdio’s automated DR feature. Though your environment is locked into that Primary Region, NFA lets you stand up “Onramp” regions around the world so that users can connect to the Azure backplane in the nearest location rather than traversing the internet to get to the primary region.
With NFA, Nerdio has also added intelligent auto scaling that observes peak usage over time and adjusts the environment to run more cost-effectively. For example, during peak usage, larger (i.e. more expensive) VM instances may be running, but during light usage times the environment will be switched to smaller, cheaper VM instances.
Who is this for?
The go to market for NFA is Managed Service Providers with small to medium-sized customers. I’m sure Nerdio will work with companies that have the resources to do this on their own, but the management interface is set up in such a way that MSPs can manage multiple clients from the same pane of glass. They can also help with migrations to the Nerdio platform, in addition to ongoing support.
Though pricing is tough to gauge without knowing the workloads ahead of time, Nerdio is working on something that will help estimate costs. The plan is for that to be available between now and the product launch on June 1. I’m told the pricing is “as, if not more compelling” as the Nerdio-hosted solution.
I think the direction that DaaS is taking is pretty interesting. If you look at Nerdio, Dizzion, and Workspot, you can see three offerings that go above and beyond straight up DaaS, with varying levels of services provided. Now that Nerdio is taking their platform to a public cloud provider, it opens up a lot more possibilities on the DaaS landscape, and it will be interesting to see where this goes.
For more information, check out Nerdio’s website at http://getnerdio.com/.