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John C.
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GD, post: 77515 wrote:
Hi,

Ive been looking at using the ‘Cloud’ to off load my Desktop management responsibilities and costs by purchase Desktop as a Service (Daas) from a Service provider.

Does anyone have any experience with this? If so, what are the challenges, costs, concerns, benefits…

Rob

Hi Rob,

Desktop as a service has some real benefits, which I’m sure the DaaS providers will tell you about in depth, but there are some challenges as well that you should keep in mind. I’ve listed below a few that I’ve struggled with on behalf of one of my clients over the past few months.

  • Internet connectivity – Most home and small business users have an ADSL connection that provides good download bandwidth but quite limited upload speed. Tasks such as uploading large pdf files to the server, or running many concurrent virtual desktops from one office over a single ADSL connection can easily and regularly cause the connection to the server to drop out momentarily – this results in the user’s screen freezing which can understandably be very frustrating. The solution for my client was to go from a cheap business grade ADSL connection to a relatively expensive SHDSL connection (approx $600 per month). Okay if you expect it, but you don’t want this to come as a surprise.
  • Printing – My client deals with pdf files that are in excess of 30MB on a regular basis. These files can whizz around a local Gigabit LAN with no problems, but even on a fast SHDSL connection there is quite a substantial lag between hitting print in your application and the file being transmitted from the cloud server to the local printer over the internet.
  • User training – Many users find it very difficult to grasp the concept of a virtual desktop and will be quite confused for a while at first. Expect to spend some time in the first week dealing with user questions and addressing bugs.
  • Software compatability – Most businesses with more than a handful of computers end up with a variety of operating system and application versions in their fleet. When migrating to a DaaS solution you may find that one or more of the applications you currently run locally are not compatible with either the Server operating system that your DaaS providor uses, or one of the other applications you need to install on the server for your company. Where previously you could install that one application on a separate workstation, you might now be limited. List every single one of your applications, including version numbers, for your prospective DaaS vendor and ask them to check compatibility with their infrastructure.

I’m not trying to talk you out of going for a Desktop As A Service solution – I think it’s a great option for many companies – just make sure you think through all the variables before signing up.

Cheers,
John