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.