Desktop-as-a-Service and the future of IT working

Embracing Desktop-as-a-Service will free up IT teams to focus on the digital transformation demands being placed on them.

The idea of virtual desktops and thin client computing has been around since the late 1990s. These systems have helped organisations deploy applications, securely, in desktops to any location, any user or from a central location. But, for the most part this has been done on-prem.

Now, organisations are now looking at how much of their data centre can they move to the cloud: how many of them can move 100% of their data into the cloud, and how many of them can use the cloud as a form of disaster recovery or backup.

So, what’s happening? Increasingly, we’re seeing some of these organisations adopting Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) or moving their virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) into the public cloud; so that they have a hybrid type of model.

VDI validation

Microsoft have announced the arrival of its virtual desktop, Microsoft WVD, but “you can’t buy it yet,” says Simon Townsend, EMEA CMO at IGEL.

But, the announcement alone has raised the profile and the feasibility of VDI and DaaS all the way up to the c-suite: it is now on their radar.

In this announcement, Microsoft have endorsed the idea of taking a Windows 10 desktop and instead of running it on a laptop, running it from the data centre; and in their case run it from Azure, and have people connected to it.

“I think that regardless of how quickly Microsoft release this product to market, you’re going to suddenly see a lot more people re-evaluate and reconsider desktop virtualisation, VDI and Desktop-as-a-Service,” explains Townsend. “This, coupled with the fact that Windows on the endpoint is proving difficult for some organisations to manage and security is still a concern, lends itself to VDI/DaaS to take centre stage this year.”

Related: Desktop-as-a-Service: The new frontier for end user computing? – Attending IGEL’s 2019 DISRUPT conference, Information Age learns about desktop-as-a-service and the future of end user computing.

Desktop-as-a-Service and the future of working

For the last 20-or-so-years, IT have been providing a service to business and that service has been around managing infrastructure, deploying PCs, managing Windows, deploying applications and securing the network.

What’s happening now is that organisations are turning to IT and saying I don’t just want you to support the business, I want you to be the business.

You might read that last line sceptically. However, if you think about the Ubers, the Airbnbs and the Spotifys of the world – technology dominates their foundation and success. Even traditional industries, McDonalds for example, is using IT and tech to change how consumers interact with the brand; in this case, it’s with digital displays in-store.

To embrace this digital edge, CEOs are telling their CIOs to spend more time and resource on digital transformation initiatives and worry less about managing infrastructure, deploying infrastructure and managing PCs etcetera.

See also: On the map: IGEL making waves in the end user computing market – In 2018, IGEL broke through the $100m revenue barrier, which is a significant achievement for any organisation in IT.

In the same way that everybody is moving their email to Office 365 in the cloud, “organisations are now considering introducing VDI or Desktop-as-a-Service, so IT doesn’t have to worry about Windows,” says Townsend. “Employees can just connect into DaaS and get their desktops and applications in a secure manner.”

Embracing this means that organisations don’t have to buy infrastructure or hardware, and they don’t need to worry about how it’s secured or managed as much. This means that CIOs and IT teams can worry less about the infrastructure and spend more time focused on what the business wants them to do, which is digital transformation.

The role of IT needs to change and Desktop-as-a-Service can facilitate this

“When I started my career, I was doing work placements between 2007-2008, and we just had teams of people in IT that went around fixing PCs, fixing printers and giving laptops to new employees,” Townsend reminisces.

That point is that now, the role of IT has completely changed. IT can’t be that infrastructure-based supporting function any more, IT needs to be part of the business, it needs to be the business as opposed to just supporting it.

Desktop-as-a-Service, along with other cloud-based services (Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service, Software-as-a-Service) enables organisations to more of their applications and backend servers into the cloud, because they don’t want IT to worry about or to have to deploy and manage in the same way they have been for the last 20 years.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...