DaaS Kapital*: Proletariats Losing Their Desktops?

The end-user computing (EUC) market is growing at a 20% CAGR and will reach $8 billion by 2016, which might explain the growing interest in DaaS (desktop as a service). Or perhaps it’s the explosive growth in mobility, with smartphone shipments up 28.6% in Q1, and headed towards 1.2 billion units by the end of the year. And let’s not forget Microsoft and it’s massive installed base.

For whatever reason, DaaS seems to have supplanted VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) on the hype parade, with recent announcements from , and .

At the end of May, a week after unveiling its first DaaS offering, client virtualization vendor NComputing – 20 million daily users – announced the public beta availability of oneSpace, its unified workspace (WaaS) solution. Built on its vSpace virtualization platform, oneSpace ‘enables IT to unify and securely deliver applications and files as a service to a variety of devices, including iPads and Android tablets.’

In addition to introducing its DaaS entry, targeted at Service Providers, the company announced its first customer, So-net Corporation, a member of the Sony Group. The SP is now delivering its Virtual Desktop Service to the Japanese market.

NComputing is heavily involved in the education market, so reaching out to the SP market gives it access to a much broader audience, said Ananth Appathurai, Vice President of Global Business, Development and Alliances. The DaaS offering really enables you to lower the total cost of ownership, he said. It also enables SPs to provide a one-stop-shop for their customers’ desktop-application needs.

Unlike VDI, where large enterprise deployments seem to have stalled, the economics make more sense in the DaaS/SP scenario, said NComputing’s Dave Burton, VP of Global Marketing. “We’re starting to see how through Daas service providers leverage larger data centers… costs come down… and really drive economics to end user customer. At the same time we’re seeing an increasing comfort zone to leverage cloud services.”

In a recent blog, Enterprise Strategy Group Senior Analyst Mark Bowker said Citrix is not receiving full credit for everything they can deliver to customers today. “For example, VMware sure appears to be getting a bunch of attention regarding DaaS (desktop as a service), but did you know Citrix has 1500+ CSPs who are delivering desktops and apps as a service today using Citrix product.”

At last month’s Synergy 2014 conference the company announced an upcoming platform for desktop-as-a-service, dubbed Workspace Services, which will allow customers to serve mobile desktops from either public or private clouds. The service is currently able to use Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Cisco Intercloud, SoftLayer, or Xenserver cloud instances.

Workspace Services offers more than , said Mitch Parker, VP and GM, Citrix cloud services. “I think VDI as a construct, is still really interesting — we’re only delivering it another way,” he said. “It’s not just about servers, its also about hosted shared virtual desktops, and its also about the ability to deliver applications from a virtual workspace.”

“It’s really an infrastructure that allows the partners and customers to host desktops, and its broader than what maybe some people think VDI is.”

VMware unveiled Horizon DaaS back in March, 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. “Now you can purchase desktop as a service from VMware at a monthly subscription price,” said VMware’s Josue Fontanez, Product Marketing Manager for DaaS.

Of key significance is that this is a fully-baked, enterprise-grade solution, he said. “You can talk to a VMware support person 24×7.” There’s an SLA of 99.99%, Fontanez added.

According to EMC’s virtualization business, 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.

In April VMware said Horizon 6 would go GA this quarter, and while we’re still waiting, the company said with this release, many organizations will now be able – for the first time – to see infrastructure cost parity between physical and virtual PCs. “We’re really helping our customers do what they need to do in a much more cost-effective way,” said Courtney Burry, Director of Product Marketing, End-User Computing, VMware.

“When I talk to IT, what they’re really looking for is a solution that enables them to manage across their environment [on-premise, remote, mobile and cloud],” said Burry. “We want to be able to support all of that.”

EUC offers VMware the potential to ‘reinvent its brand in multiple markets and find the “next act” the company has sought for nearly two years,’ according to a recent analysis from Technology Business Research. The company reported approximately 50% penetration of EUC offerings within its base of 500,000 customers and an expected 20% CAGR to the EUC marketplace to $8 billion.

TBR believes VMware will lean on newly acquired and organically developed assets (notably Desktone and vCHS, respectively) to drive toward elastic service capabilities for desktop and applications that enable a lower, more predictable cost structure for customers through greater choice and flexibility. ‘Integration of Horizon Suite and VMware Hybrid Cloud Service will make VMware’s desktop portfolio more appealing to service providers, expanding its addressable customer base and foothold in public and hybrid cloud environments.’

In addition to cost and security issues, mobility has been another VDI pain point, said Burton. “The one thing that VDI hasn’t been able to keep pace with was the proliferation of mobile devices.”

NComputing customers were asking for an elegant way to continue to keep Windows and web-based applications in a mobile-first world. That’s where the WaaS offering comes in, aggregating or consolidating a variety of different applications, as well as all the data the user has, in a very easy and secure way be able to get access to, he said.

(*with apologies to Karl Marx, no relation to Groucho, or the Aussie sitcom)


Author: Steve Wexler

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