Delivering Desktops as a Service (DaaS)

David Stafford and Scott Davis

The Myths of DaaS

There is a lot of misinformation and FUD surrounding DaaS in the marketplace today. Some are the result of loose interpretation of licensing restrictions while others are more self-serving that the only DaaS achievable today comes in a form that a vendor has been selling for years and has decided to now attach the term ‘DaaS’ to describe it. We’ve heard all these claims and expect to hear more as the market continues to mature

We intend to dispel these myths and back it up by showing recent innovations that are making true-DaaS a reality.

What’s New

This year, at VMworld in the US and Barcelona we are showing two Technology Previews which help to enable multi-tenant DaaS to ride atop existing IaaS and methods to fully leverage vClouds. The level of interest from partners around accelerating their Time to Market (TTM) of DaaS and the desire to move quickly into product offerings is being spurred by similar macro trends we’ve seen in the traditional VDI market.

  • The appeal of centralizing non-business differentiating tasks such as the operational management complexity of the PC so that it can be consumed “as-a-service” like other modern IT services
  • The proliferation of new mobile devices incapable of native access to the ‘long tail’ of OS-specific (legacy) Windows applications
  • New technology enablers that continue to drive down the CapEx investments required and subsequently benefit either an on-premises or hosted service subscription offerings
  • Conversion of what is traditionally an upfront CapEx investment for VDI into a much more predictable monthly OpEx.

We are very excited to be part of solutions that are available now through our Service Provider partners. Through partnership with Desktone and with Dell’s DVS Simplified DaaS offering based upon their platform, we are able to extend the scalability of vSphere and the user experience of View to DaaS offerings in the market today.

The 8 Key Features of DaaS

With the choice not being ‘If’ DaaS, but rather ‘what DaaS’, we thought it would be good to reiterate what we believe to be the 8 key features of any DaaS offering – regardless of what vendor you choose:

  1. Builds upon the foundation for private/public cloud – DaaS is a new and demanding workload for your private/public cloud infrastructure. It’s imperative that you start by building on a solid, proven foundation that is backed by a broad ecosystem.
  2. Secure Multi-Tenancy – Multi-tenancy in our vocabulary goes far beyond what is possible with session based desktops running atop Windows. Trust in a cloud-orchestration framework that has been proven to keep your desktops as safe and secure as the rest of your cloud resources.
  3. Elastic Resources – If you’re going to effectively scale-up/scale-down based on capacity to demand – and if you’re going to do so in such a way to maintain licensing compliance, how you manage resource elasticity will be critical.
  4. Automated Provisioning – It’s possible to provision new desktops via scripts, but policy based automated provisioning delivers the resources on-demand your users expect.
  5. Identity Management / Federation – Establishing trusts between a foreign identity service (AD domain) and a customer’s production AD is never a pleasant conversation. Ensuring proper isolation is in place means more than just having tenants in separate Organizational Units.
  6. Role Management – DaaS isn’t VDI. Your users shouldn’t be concerned with tiered data-stores, your IT admins don’t need to worry about tenant creation. Establishing appropriate roles and workflows help optimize efficiency.
  7. Self-Service Portal – As you look to scale to hundreds of tenants and thousands of desktops, enabling self-service will be the only way to effectively scale your operation. Make sure it’s simple and reliable.
  8. Reporting, Metering & Chargeback – When producing a service offering, customers will demand detailed, accurate and timely reporting – including a track of charges incurred in real-time. These are capabilities already instrumented in your IaaS offering, don’t reinvent the wheel!

Accelerating beyond Technology Previews

It’s always exciting to show a technology preview to customers to see their reactions, but it’s even more satisfying to see advanced development activities accelerate from previews to future products and features. We will continue to innovate around DaaS and want to recap two technology projects that are moving forward quickly to help you achieve your DaaS objectives.

  • VMware View Agent Direct-Connection Plugin– With View Agent Direct-Connection, we enable VMware View Service Provider (VSPP) customers’ additional flexibility in realizing the advanced user experience benefits of VMware View without a requirement for a specific brokering or connection management model. Using View Agent Direct-Connection, we leverage the extensible model of the VMware View virtual desktops and the ubiquitous nature of the VMware View clients. With an open client API, we enable our partners to integrate and the results are amazing.We previewed this at VMworld US in the Bring-Your-Own-Device Hands on Labs. Hundreds of concurrent users accessed their HoL leveraging this technology from almost any device imaginable. Attendees very own PC’s, Macs, Android tablets and iPads were all connecting to the Hands on Lab to get a preview of the latest VMware technologies.We are pleased to have partners such as Desktone leveraging this technology in their platform which is powering premier service provider DaaS offerings today including Dell, Navisite, Quest and many more!

    Learn more in this interview with Scott Davis, CTO of End User Computing and Peter McKay, CEO of Desktone.

  • Project Catalyst– In this advanced development project, we are showing how VMware technologies can fully support the 8 key features of DaaS. Our intentions with this project are to articulate how VMware View and the multi-tenant nature of the vCloud Infrastructure Suite deliver on the promises of bringing a cloud orientation to DaaS just as a traditionally virtualization-centric workload has been to VDI.The early results of this project have been nothing short of incredible. From automated self-service provisioning of desktops as well as supporting infrastructure components and automation through fully leveraging the multi-tenancy of the vCloud Suite we are helping to illustrate why building atop a VMware vCloud solution can pay dividends in your DaaS offering.We’re not stopping here! – Project Catalyst continues to integrate other new and emerging technologies across our End User Computing portfolio. Technologies such as vCenter Operations for View and VMware Mirage demonstrate why by building top the foundational elements of VMware cloud infrastructure will rapidly enable adoption within a DaaS offering.

    Hear more from Scott Davis, CTO of End User Computing at VMware in this discussion with the lead architect of Project Catalyst, Andre Leibovici.

We are excited to be sharing how VMware can help you accelerate your move to virtual desktops with VMware View. We’re proud to have technology partners such as Desktone leveraging View features as part of a powerful DaaS solution already deployed at premier VMware service provider partners such as Dell. We recognize the power of this ecosystem.

Additional partners and customers approach us daily with new and innovative value-added services they wish to deliver as part of a DaaS solution and we welcome the opportunity to work with you to accelerate the shift of desktop workloads to the cloud.


Starting now and as evidenced by our partner offerings – DaaS is a reality today. As we have shown with Project Catalyst, VMware intends to continue innovate in this space in support of our partners and our customers to help you realize the benefits of what a VMware and vCloud based DaaS offering can achieve.

The opportunity for Desktop as a Service is real. It will help customers accelerate towards realizing the benefits of virtual desktops. It will help partners deliver a new and powerful business solution atop existing cloud infrastructure. VMware intends to continue to innovate at how we can take desktops from virtualized infrastructures to the cloud and we can’t wait to share with you what we’re working on next!

Other posts by

The Mobile/Cloud Era

A Perspective on 2013 For my 2013 year end blog, I want to step back and talk about a broad trend that I see blooming in the industry. It’s pervasive and has profound impact. We are in what I call the Mobile/Cloud era of computing. Mobile/cloud is this era’s equivalent of client/server. They are independent entities […]

VDI 2.0 Vision Delivered

At VMworld 2013 in San Francisco, we started talking about the vision of VDI 2.0, the next generation VDI architecture comprising the confluence of a variety of new technologies from VMware and our partners, as well as VMware’s formal entrance into the DaaS or Desktop as a Service market. Here at VMworld EMEA, we’re going […]

Next Generation Virtual Desktop as a Service

Welcome to VMworld 2013 and Imagine Dragons. Love that “Radioactive” song! Oops, sorry, wrong blog. 😉 Seriously, I want to share with you some powerful developments in the evolution of End User Computing that I’m discussing at VMworld this week. The first topic is a milestone in the evolution of VDI, what I view as […]