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January 20, 2014

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Is It Time to Ditch Your Desktops?


In our last post, we talked about the cost and effort associated with traditional desktop maintenance and support. Organizations have long looked for ways to increase efficiency, but a number of issues are driving more organizations to reevaluate their desktop strategies.

One is the impending “sunset” of Windows XP. On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer support XP, which has been the foundation of PCs in the workplace for more than a decade. Organizations that are still using XP need to determine how to migrate to Windows 7 or 8, or an alternative such as Apple OS X.

Another factor is the growing use of mobile devices within the workplace. Gartner estimates that sales of tablets grew more than 53 percent in 2013 as the PC market saw a decline of more than 8 percent. Although PCs are still expected to dominate the end-user computing landscape for the next couple of years, organizations are looking for ways to support an increasingly mobile workforce.

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) has helped to alleviate these issues, but VDI can be costly and challenging to deploy. Plus, the virtual desktops are still managed through an onsite data center, which requires a significant upfront investment for infrastructure and ongoing maintenance, monitoring and upgrades.

An emerging alternative is Desktop as a Service (DaaS), which is essentially cloud-based VDI. Virtual desktops are hosted, monitored, maintained and delivered by a cloud service provider, eliminating the need for onsite hardware and software. Users can access these desktops on any Internet-connected device.

Because DaaS is so new and definitions are still evolving, there hasn’t been a definitive analysis of the scope of the DaaS market. However, IDC expects the market for Workspace-as-a-Service — which it defines as anytime, anywhere access to end-user applications and data — to reach $661.1 million by 2016.

DaaS and related solutions are increasingly popular because of the unique benefits they bring to the table, including:

  • Reduced implementation and maintenance costs. DaaS allows companies to avoid the upfront capital expenses associated with VDI. The VDI infrastructure – and the costs associated with it – moves offsite to a cloud service provider and is accessed for a monthly fee.
  • Fast, easy deployments. Instead of researching, purchasing and installing in-house IT infrastructure, and finding qualified IT professionals to manage it, companies simply need to find a service provider they trust to deploy, manage and maintain a DaaS solution. Because DaaS is cloud-based, it’s possible to try this type of solution before committing to full implementation.
  • Flexibility and mobility. With DaaS, virtual desktops are hosted in a remote data center, linked to a company network through a private connection, and available from any computer or mobile device – anywhere, anytime. With an increasingly mobile workforce, DaaS helps users stay connected and productive.
  • Simpler maintenance, support and security. Forget about keeping hardware, software and apps up to date, backed up and secure. With DaaS, this burden now lies with the cloud service provider. Updates happen automatically, new desktops are made available quickly, and availability is maximized.

If you’re looking to improve your business model to reduce costs, provide mobile workers with greater flexibility, and simplify the management of IT infrastructure, contact ICG to learn more about our cloud-based DaaS solution.