Leveraging last October’s Desktone acquisition, and extending last month’s Google partnership, VMware is rolling out a new cloud-based desktop service that will deliver virtual desktops running on its vCloud Hybrid Service. Not to be confused with VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure, considered a subset of DaaS), the new offering will provide desktop-as-a-service – also called ‘last year’s solution to last decade’s problem‘ – full Windows desktops to end-users that can be accessed from laptops, desktops, zero/thin clients, Chromebooks, and mobile devices, for as little as $35 per month per user.
Built on the vCHS platform, VMware Horizon DaaS supports both Windows server and Remote Desktop Services (RDS) environments, in addition to full Windows Client Desktops, from anywhere, at anytime, using desktops or laptops (PC or Mac), zero/thin clients, Chromebooks or mobile devices (Android or iOS).
The new offering seems to come down to broadening customer (and the company’s) options, according to VMware’s Josue Fontanez, Product Marketing Manager for DaaS. “Now you can purchase desktop as a service from VMware at a monthly subscription price.” While it’s a Microsoft Windows-based offering, customers can easily access it from a variety of devices, and move between them seamlessly.
They can also choose either VMware or one of its partners for a differentiated DaaS offering, he said. A customer can come to us or go to our partners for value-added services on top of Horizon DaaS.
The other super-important aspect is that this is enterprise grade, said Fontanez. “You can talk to a VMware support person 24×7.” There’s an SLA of 99.99%, he added.
At the time of the Desktone acquisition VMware said it planned to leverage its network of over 11,000 service provider partners to accelerate the delivery of DaaS. Rebranded as the VMware Horizon DaaS Platform in February, it integrates three software ingredients: the industry’s leading secure multi-tenant broker and orchestrator; mobile and cloud-optimized virtual desktop delivery technology with great user experience; and the world’s most widely used virtualization and cloud platform, according to Sumit Dhawan, VP and GM of Desktop, End-User Computing, VMware.
Pundits have been predicting the year of DaaS, VDI, or whatever for … years and we’re still waiting. Quoting IDC, VMware said the market for cloud-hosted desktops will grow at 85% CAGR over the next 5 years and near $1 billion. That’s substantially lower than the forecast from Visiongain, which predicted growth in cloud-based VDI, particularly in the DaaS submarket, putting last year’s cloud-based VDI market at $13.4 billion.
Gartner Research Analyst Gunnar Berger doesn’t think there will ever be a “year of VDI” but did think 2013 was the year VDI became simple. “VDI is pretty mature, from a tech standpoint, the remaining issues are less tech challenging and more challenges for the market: reducing the cost, fixing the licensing.”
Berger believes the DaaS vendors will be able to capitalize on a lot of the weaknesses in VDI. He also sees the rise of the workspace in place of the desktop.
In a recent interview, VMware CTO Chris Wolf (ex-Gartner and Burton analyst) said in spite of all of the doom-and-gloom predictions, they’re still seeing a ton of interest in VDI, and it’s continuing to grow. “Is it going to be 80% of the user base? No, but it doesn’t have to be. Is it going to continue to be a healthy business? Yeah, absolutely.”
Like Berger, he sees workspace-as-a-service looming on the horizon. “So while Desktop as a Service is the current industry buzzword, it’s actually a much bigger challenge than that. You need centralized access and management and centralized identity across Windows, Web and mobile applications. … That can be delivered as part of vCHS or … on-premises depending on what the organization requires.”
Fontanez said there were a number of reasons why the Year of VDI hasn’t happened. First is cost, second is a skills shortage, and the third is a new cloud-first enterprise focus. “I think those three things will definitely be a definite driver in DaaS, and we’re seeing it already.”
Under The Hood
The VMware Horizon DaaS on VMware Hybrid Cloud (vCHS) provides Windows desktops and apps as a cloud service, simple cloud desktops at a predictable cost, without sacrificing security and control.
–Windows and Ubuntu Linux based thin clients and zero clients
–Mobile clients for Android and iOS devices
-Client-less HTML5 Browser Access
-Soft 3D – Basic 3D without GPU
–Integrated UC solution with virtual desktop with Cisco, Mitel, Avaya and Microsoft
–Location based printing
–USB and multimedia redirection
–Focus on applications versus desktops
-Single point of control for desktop management, provisioning and entitlement
-Secure communications between IT datacenter and VMware
-Seamless connectivity with on-premise Active Directory, file and application resources
-Integrated two factor authentication capabilities
-Dedicated compute options for additional desktop flexibility
VMware Horizon DaaS is available immediately; pricing starts at $35 per month per user for a full Windows client experience.