The real DaaS story is that Amazon embarrassed Microsoft

Back in December 2012 I wrote a post about Microsoft hosting Windows Desktops on Azure and predicted that they would offer it only on RDS. Rumors started to surface in May 2013 about Microsoft's Mohoro project, and in November 2013 Amazon embarrassed Microsoft with their announcement of DaaS with Amazon WorkSpaces.

Back in December 2012 I wrote a post about Microsoft hosting Windows Desktops on Azure and predicted that they would offer it only on RDS. Rumors started to surface in May 2013 about Microsoft’s Mohoro project, and in November 2013 Amazon embarrassed Microsoft with their announcement of DaaS with Amazon WorkSpaces.

Microsoft has held back the industry with their arcane VDI licensing policies, and even with offering just RDS on Azure, they have still failed to deliver anything while letting Amazon steal the thunder and make them look like fools.

All this cloud stuff is supposed to be about being nimble, yet Microsoft is still unable to host a few thousand RDS servers with a broker. Seriously... is this the pace of cloud innovation? This is just slow old Microsoft calling themselves something they are not.

Amazon, on the other hand, has taken Microsoft’s operating system, built their own broker, licensed a protocol, announced their service offering, and has the balls to answer questions to give people confidence that they're okay going for enterprise type accounts—all while Microsoft has done what?? Despite VMware screaming that PCoIP is not the same and that they have built extensions or whatever, I'm highly confident that Amazon will quickly iterate on their offering to grab more market share, support more platforms than RDP, and will offer a better featured broker faster.

This is cloud pace, and Amazon has the DNA to act. This is the complete opposite of Microsoft who still develops in long slow cycles. (i.e. they are a boring uninspiring company in the modern world.) I have little hope for them until we know what their CEO will do to break the back of execs who continue to hold us back. What is Microsoft going to respond with when they finally release Mohoro? "Oh hey... we got here! You should trust us more than Amazon even if we are slow. We hope to make it better with a good dose our many partners' BS!"

No! Microsoft, you could respond immediately with saying VDI is available with fair licensing available on Azure. But that will be too much, until the new CEO fires more execs.

So all this DaaS talk will be about RDS in the cloud for most of this year as Amazon and Microsoft get to market. We will get bloggers and media all excited about the pending doom it will mean for the Citrix and VMware not having any clue about what RDS is vs. VDI or how they their offerings could work together.

DaaS won’t mean sh*t in 2014 in terms of actual dollars. Citrix will keep playing the Microsoft card and keep selling RDS while offering VDI to enterprise customers. VMware will keep telling us they are the leading provider in DaaS with Desktone in a market with zero dollars, and who the heck knows what Cisco/IBM etc. will market? The bottom line is it will be all hype. But Amazon making technical progress quickly will be a key indicator of actual market traction with customer references no matter how small.

When this begins to happen, the real DaaS conversations will begin regardless of RDS or VDI hosted desktops as we talk about about placement rules, application management, data etc. Oh... a bit like doing VDI right?

So every time you read about the DaaS hype this year, just remember VDI is for lovers, DaaS is for bloggers and watch to see Amazon continue to embarrass Microsoft and force Citrix and VMware to truly differentiate their offering or get out of the market. In the meantime you're better off focusing on whether you're going to make your XP end-of-life deadline—after all it’s only three months away and DaaS isn’t going to help you.

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I wish Citrix would support AWS Workspaces as an additional controller type in StoreFront and Receiver. That would be cool.


@AppDetective - agree on DaaS won't mean anything this year...well it will as nessecary steps to success in the coming years but no real traction.

GTM with Amazon is interesting,


The Bottom line: It ain't about Microsoft anymore.

The choices are numerous.

Cost is coming down.

We are in a transitional phase from "Virtual Desktop Infrastructure" to DiTC (Desktops in the Cloud) to AiTC (Applications in the Cloud).

Our computing ways are changing from traditional devices to data-on-demand devices.

All hail "the cloud..."


Some great gems here AD!  While I might disagree with a bit of the spin here and there, I think you're spot on with the heart of the argument.  

I'll bite on one bit though:

"...force Citrix and VMware to truly differentiate their offering or get out of the market."

For the party of everything beginning with the letter 'v', I'll accept that as a good challenge, and opt for the former.  While you're right that the $$ in play won't be big yet, 2014 should indeed be exciting in terms of laying out the battle field.  I know we can count on you keeping all of us honest along the way :-)


Citrix, VMware, Oracle and Microsoft have all been gradually turning their focus away from on-premise solutions to designing software that will drive industrial scale multi-tenanted data centres. Apple has also been doing this in a big way in the consumer space for years with iCloud and iTunes, we all agree they pioneered the concept of apps and app-stores in the first place. IBM is an ivory tower, far off in IoT 'Smart Planet' land and Intel is busy working out how to build Dr. Who's sonic screwdriver (quantum computing). Google and Amazon both had the obvious advantage of having begun as cloud based services (internet search and web based retail) and expanded backwards, so to speak, in more traditional enterprise IT offerings to steal away some market share; but importantly never betraying their web origins and ensuring their products don't require you to build monolithic on-premise infrastructures. IMHO Google's software and services still works the best across every platform, desktop, mobile, whatever (Microsoft will never learn this lesson).

Despite the fresh concerns over data and information privacy (I refuse to use "Snowden revelations" bleurgh!!) the move to public cloud will continue unabated. New companies are leapfrogging the "private/hybrid" models and going straight to SaaS. The question is not should I risk storing my data in the cloud but should I trust proprietary software any longer? Open source has had a long and hard battle to break ground in enterprise IT and has only really been successful in academic, scientific and high performance computing institutions. Now it seems in the future only open source software will be trusted. It has the "many pairs of eyes" developer community curating and watching over its code base like benevolent guardians and is not profit or product driven, it doesn't attempt to slice cloud software into overpriced "feature packages" (see Office 365 E plans).

Admittedly it would look like BING did, trying to grab the coat tails of Google's ubiquitous search product, but Microsoft could... maybe... re-invent itself and compete with Amazon by building an Azure only desktop OS... Not a port of an existing OS but something designed for the web... something that could... shockingly run on a Chromebook as well as it does on a Microsoft Surface device. They could give it away for free and differentiate by bundling in low cost Office style products that are designed to fully interoperate with Google Apps without the document fidelity issues of the present day. This would require two things: Microsoft admitting that Google is an established competitor and here to stay, and secondly breaking into collection of smaller companies so that they could afford to be leaner and cut the prices of their respective software and services.