IDC's Waldman suspects that service providers will begin focusing on specific verticals like oil and gas, manufacturing or healthcare. That way they can offer customers a package of targeted apps in addition to traditional business productivity software.
Another business in a vertical industry benefiting from DaaS is Skyview Farms, a trucking company with 80 trucks that operates in the U.S. and Canada. It has 30 people in its offices using virtualized desktops delivered by RTI Technology Solutions, a service provider offering DaaS based on Citrix technology.
Like Cardoni Waddell, Skyview turned to DaaS as a way to simplify IT management. In fact, it no longer needs an in-house IT person, says Ben Rickertsen, Skyview CEO.
Also, he gained a sense of security by moving the company's desktops, plus apps and data, to the cloud. In the past, he worried that an event like a fire in the offices would completely bring business to a halt. "Now, I could go find a couple of iPads and I'd be back in business," he explains.
He likes that using DaaS means he can predict costs. "If I run a server and it goes down and I have an $8,000 server bill that I didn't budget for, that's a problem," he says.
DaaS typically costs around $40 per month per user, plus potential additional costs for applications. In other words, the base price is to run only the OS. You'll pay more to run applications, primarily for licensing.
Using DaaS has also made it easy for him to try new software before rolling it out to everyone. "I'll make sure it works the way we want it to before we set up other seats," Rickertsen says.
Performance hasn't been an issue for the company. "We did get fiber a while back and that helped, but even before that it wasn't terrible," he says.
So is DaaS suitable for large deployments? Some analysts say not yet.
One holdup is that while DaaS was designed to take away some of the headaches of managing an on-premises VDI deployment, some businesses aren't yet ready to give up all control, for performance reasons or due to regulatory issues. The result is a hybrid setup.
For example, a business could run DaaS internally — along the private-cloud model — to serve users who are in the corporate headquarters or to serve a set of users who are working with data that must be stored in a corporate-controlled data center. At the same time, a business could use DaaS offered by a service provider to workers who are travelling or based in a remote office. The two setups can be integrated so that IT has a single management console.
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