We've been talking about DaaS quite a bit recently. My belief is that DaaS will soon make sense for all VDI use cases. (In other words I'm not saying that all Windows desktops will become VDI, but I am saying that whatever subset of Windows desktops become VDI—all of those desktops should be hosted by DaaS providers.
In other words I'm saying that the days of building your own VDI are numbered. You won't be able to build VDI that's cheaper, more reliable, with better performance, and that's more secure than someone like Amazon or VMware. You just won't.
And if you do think that you can build VDI that's cheaper, more reliable, more secure, and has better performance than Amazon, I have to ask you why? Why do you think that you, with your skills, buying your off-the-shelf hardware and ones and twos scale, paying your retail pricing for all your software and hardware and licenses—why are you so delusional to think that you can build this better than Amazon? How arrogant are you?
To be clear, I personally don't believe that I can do it better than Amazon.
This is something that I've been talking about for years. Actually many people have, though generally in the context of more mainstream IT services like email. So let's use Gmail as an example of "cloud versus doing it yourself."
My setup statement is, "I can't for the life of me understand why anyone chooses to run their own email servers in this day and age, when Google [or Microsoft, etc.] offer multi-gigabyte corporate-connected email accounts for a few dollars a month. Google, Microsoft, and others like them are cheaper than what you can do, with better performance, with better security, and with more reliability.
Let's look at "Gmail versus you" in each of these categories:
Pricing & Performance
People say that Gmail is too expensive. That is false. You can't do mail cheaper than Gmail. You just can't.
People say that, "Yeah, but Google has to make a profit on you, so you're paying for the email and you're paying extra for them to have profit." This is true. But Google can deliver Gmail so cheaply that they can still make plenty of profit and sell you email service that's still much cheaper than what you can build on your own.
Look at Gmail's scale. Google's datacenters operated with an average PUE of 1.11 (versus, what, best case 1.8 in your datacenter). You only get that efficiency by scaling to millions of users. And look at the computers in a Gmail or Microsoft hosted mail datacenter. Do you see any Dell or HP logos on them? (Nope, and Nope!) These huge providers design their own hardware with zero overhead. Servers with no metal boxes, no USB and no video ports, SSD and memory chips soldered directly to the main board, fans, power supplies, and backup batteries which service the entire rack, etc. It is literally and physically impossible for you to buy hardware which is so cheap (to both acquire and operate) unless you're ordering servers by the thousands.
Again, these huge cloud providers can sell you their services (and make a profit) for less money than you can run an email system yourself. (And I'm just talking about hardware. Then factor in that they write all their own software and don't have to pay for licenses for all that, and they've got a slam dunk!)
When it comes to security, a common belief is, "Hey, the cloud is not secure!" or "Google has agreements with the NSA and they will snoop everything." Let me tell you what: The NSA will have a much easier time hacking into your home-built on-premises Microsoft Exchange environment than into Google. And where are these supposed "secure" servers of your exactly? In your office? How secure is that? You're set because you have electronic locks, right? Come on! Someone who wants your data will smash and grab their way in and be gone before the police arrive. (Your hard drives are all hot swap, right?) I would trust my data in some random secure Google cloud much more than my office building.
And let's say, just for the sake of argument, that Gmail is somehow hacked. I guarantee that if someone hacks Gmail, they're not going after you. They're going for big dollar Edward Snowden-type stuff they can sell to the Chinese, not your cache of PowerPoints about next year's pricing options.
TechTarget (my employer) is one of the companies who still runs their own Exchange servers. (To my coworkers who will undoubtedly tell me I shouldn't give away private company "secrets" in my blog, I'll tell you that anyone who has ever received an email from a TechTarget employee can view the full details of the message to learn all about our mail infrastructure. Failing that, even a non-geek can randomly type "mail.techtarget.com" into a browser and know we use Exchange 2007.)
Anyway I asked why we didn't use Gmail a few years ago, and the answer I got was, "Gmail has no SLA." Do you know why Gmail has no SLA? Because it's Gmail. They don't need an SLA. When Gmail is down it's in the news. And it's been down for what, like 4 hours once in the past three years? How often are home-grown Exchange servers down? Multiple times per month? Heck, patch Tuesday alone is good for a few hours a month! (Unless you want to build clustered hot spares with failover, which if you do, see Point #1 about Pricing above.)
On top of all that, on the rare occasion when Gmail is down, Google has like 100 PhDs who invented the internet scrambling to fix the problem. Think about that. When Gmail is down, Google literally has the guys who wrote Gmail fixing it. When TechTarget goes down, we have Ray. (And we paged him...)
So all VDI should be DaaS?
Of course all of these "onsite Exchange versus Gmail" arguments are the same arguments that apply to public cloud-based services in general, including cloud-based desktops and DaaS versus on-premises VDI. And they also apply to my argument that you can't build and run your own VDI for less cost, with better performance, with more security, and with higher reliability than Amazon. You just can't.
That said, if you still decide that you'd rather build and run your own VDI, that's ok! It's ok, it's ok, it's ok!
The only catch is if you still decide you want to build and run your own VDI, you have to do it knowing it will be more expensive, less secure, and less reliable than Amazon. If that's ok with you, fine. Go for it! You obviously have reasons that are more important than these which require you to build and run your own VDI. Maybe you have specific needs that cloud providers can't provide. Maybe you're just more "comfortable" with it (whatever that means) or maybe you're eccentric or maybe you're protecting your own job. Whatever. Fine. Embrace your own environment, but don't pretend for a second that you can do it better than Amazon.