Late last year, I wrote that 2014 would be "The Year of DaaS," and ever since then no matter which conference I attend I'm reminded of that statement. People ask if I still believe that, and my answer is always "Yes!" We're no strangers to the sweeping declaration around here, and we've been technically correct (which is the best kind of correct) on many of them even though the general sentiment is that we missed on one thing or another. Remember Brian saying that VDI would be ready for widespread use in 2010, or me trying to coin the term xDI to describe VMware's VDI and Citrix's DDI way back in the day? This is not like that. Both Brian and I believe it so strongly that we wrote a book about it!
I believe that 2014 was indeed the year of DaaS, and that the momentum gained by the industry will carry over into 2015 rather than fizzle out. We saw Amazon get into the mix, VMware buy Desktone, and Citrix...well...they have service providers (here's a comparison of the DaaS solutions). IBM Mobile just announced a DaaS platform based on Citrix products, and we learned about new offerings from companies that we'd never heard of (dinCloud) or thought were in the desktop virtualization space, like Toshiba (yeah, that Toshiba!). The icing on the cake was Microsoft getting into the mix with Azure RemoteApp, followed by the announcement of per-user licensing for Windows which eliminates VDA and paves the way for a desktop OS-based DaaS offering down the road.
From the very beginning The Year of DaaS was not about widespread use, but of awareness. Prior to this year, there was Desktone, dinCloud, tuCloud, and a handful of other, smaller service providers with DaaS that were primary small business solutions. VMware's acquisition of Desktone and Amazon Web Services collaboration with Teradici to create AWS Workspaces changed that. Most companies already use VMware, and now DaaS is another line item on their list of products. Many companies are leveraging EC2 for datacenter functions, and the more a company places in EC2, the stronger the use case for moving desktops there, too.
2014 is the year people started to identify the issues they have with DaaS, from trust to integration to availability. The first part of the year most conversations I had with people were very negative, with scads of reasons why they couldn't do DaaS. Towards the end of the year, though, more people seemed to open up to the idea as a potential option–maybe not for a current project, but down the line. DaaS adoption won't be fast, but I believe in 2015 we'll see a slow buildup of steam that includes new ways of creating and managing services (like Horizon DaaS Desktop DR) as well as new ways to get past those technical and mental challenges that companies have today.
So during that downtime you have at the end of this year, check it out. Consider the problems you might have with it and how you'd address them. Plan out a potential exit strategy. Sign up for a trial at a provider or two so you can get an idea of the user experience and management capabilities as well as what you'd have to do to integrate a DaaS desktop into your organization. That's one of the best benefits of DaaS–incremental scalability, and it sure beats trying to stand up a POC for a VDI product while stuffed with ham and cookies! You could also sink your teeth into a good book...they make great presents :)