What is DaaS?

By Sean Washington

What is DaaS?

DaaS, also known as Desktop as a Service is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) that has been hosted and packaged into a product and delivered “as a Service” to end users for a simple monthly price.  The client receives a full desktop experience that is served from a service provider that hosts the application in the cloud.

Getting VDI up and running within an organization has great benefits such as centralized security, management, backups, provisioning, and enhanced mobility with collaboration.  However, the costs for setting up VDI within an organization are usually too high for the average small and medium business.

When a business subscribes to DaaS from a technology partner, they can transform their business to operate more efficiently.  Since the provider has already fulfilled the burden of the upfront expenses, the end user can enjoy the low monthly costs for the service. 

DaaS vs. VDI

It can be confusing to compare DaaS vs VDI as VDI describes the technology and the other DaaS describes the delivery of that technology as a service. 

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure is a centralized computing environment that hosts the employee’s virtual desktops.  The concept is that there is no need for PCs/Laptops and that everything can be access through an Internet connection with a thin client or any connected device.  Large businesses and institutions have embraced this technology for a long time.  It is unique to larger organizations because the large investments required to deliver VDI internally outweigh the long-term operational cost of managing traditional desktops.

When an organization wishes to move away from traditional desktop implementations to VDI, they are shifting the computing power from a distributed environment to a centralized, cloud (or Data Center) model.  In order to accommodate this, they require high performance servers/storage and additional layers of virtualization software.  Large capital investments in hardware and software are required to implement.   With more servers, additional costs will be needed in data center for increased power and bandwidth consumption.  The business must also employ high priced specialty engineers that are thoroughly trained in desktop virtualization technology.

When the computing is processed from a data center/Cloud, admins can assume a lot of the responsibilities that may have been traditionally supported by a team of desktop technicians.  The move to VDI has plenty of valuable benefits that outweigh the investment, many having to do with centralized/automated management of the entire network. For example, new users can be created in minutes and management (support, patching, security etc) can all be done centrally. 

Another benefit of VDI is that when computing is shifted to the Data Center/Cloud, there is no longer a need for a desktop PC or Laptop.  When deploying VDI, Thin Clients are used to connect back to the Data Center/Cloud and stream the activity back to the monitor.  Employees simply use the thin client to log into their account to access their work environment. Practicality and efficiencies are further increased with tools that provide the ability to use any machine to access their work environment.  Traditionally Thin Clients are used in the office environment, but employees can simply sign on and access an identical environment from any Internet connected device.   This is done with a single sign-on and no need for a VPNs or additional security measures.

The benefit of cost reduction at the desktop level is valuable as the company no longer has to invest in expensive desktop machines and employee desktop technicians to manage them.  The reduction of power required to run a large-scale deployment of physical PCs will also reduce costs and your carbon footprint.

Desktop as a Service (DaaS) delivers all the same benefits of VDI, but it lifts the investment burden away from the end user.  Technology is advancing and Cloud Computing is stronger and more accessible, while bandwidth capacities are astronomical.   The combination of these developments has enabled DaaS service partners to make the investments and use VDI technologies to deliver DaaS to their clients.  Today, all businesses have the ability to take advantage of the desktop virtualization benefits.

Benefits of DaaS

There are many advantages that make VDI and DaaS attractive to businesses.  Since both deliveries are similar, they both share the same benefits.


Centralized management around the Data Center/Cloud helps the IT team address a wide range of daily chores that must be done to keep their network secure and running well.  It allows a small team to operate with more efficiency and flexibility as they can orchestrate it from a centralized management panel. This practice also helps with managing security practices and provisioning users/apps.


Once VDI or DaaS is set up, the business will see a reduction in operational costs.  Moving the computing workloads to the cloud cuts down on hardware and associated management on site. Since labor is now centralized, there is no need for engineers to be employed full time or travel to remote sites. This is why there is a rapid growth forecast for this service.

One big difference between DaaS and VDI is the way that is billed.  VDI, is an in house solution which is built and paid for once with a large one time investment (CapEx).  DaaS is delivered "as a Service," so it is leased as a subscription (OPEX). The DaaS OPEX model makes budgeting easy to forecast and plan for growth.


VDI and DaaS deliver increased functionality and mobility for employees.  These features give them all their work tools right at their fingertips. Not only will they have everything available, but they can also collaborate on documents and set up defined workflows through the system.  These benefits are valuable to management because investments in technology are making their employees more productive.

DaaS does empower the employees and their efficiencies will make the business stronger.  With every tool, document and and desktop available anywhere, your employees can work fluidly and efficiently.  Also, included tools allow employees to share and collaborate on documents.


Businesses with strong security and regulatory requirements will have much more control of their data/network with DaaS.  With a centralized delivery of all apps/documents, applying universal controls that are more granular and easier to manage. Small and Medium sized businesses will not need to invest in expensive security software and hire a specialist to manage it.  DaaS service providers will manage all security, taking that burden off the client.

DaaS Use Cases

DaaS has benefits that can be enjoyed by all businesses, but it’s good to explore some specific use cases by vertical.


Healthcare focused businesses must deal with medical records and protected patient data.  HIPAA and HiTrust compliance dictate how the data must be protected and archived. There are very specific practices that must be followed in order to comply.   Leveraging DaaS helps manage security and data leakage, allowing the business to comply.


Startups often employee a younger generation of workers that have grown up with apps and cloud technologies.  Building your business with DaaS leverages Internet technology that young workers will embrace. It is also valuable to financing on a tin budget as an OPEX model makes growth modular without any heavy investment.  


Banks will generally have multiple locations and will certainly have compliance drivers.  Banks also use a lot of legacy apps that would benefit from being virtualized and distributed to the users over DaaS.  DaaS will allow admins to have full control of the data so they can protect it from the outside.  Additionally, security measures are included to protect it from leaking data from within. 

Insurance Companies

Insurance, like Banks must comply with rigid regulatory requirements.  They are also one of the major verticals to embrace cloud computing. With large amounts of data and various applications, DaaS helps them properly secure their network and protect their client’s data.  

Law firms

Larger law firms embrace DaaS for several reasons.  Data retention and management is important and there’s a lot of it.  Lawyers work long hours and are often working from home/remotely. The collaboration features are extremely important as it allows teams to create workflows for their documents.

Seasonal Businesses

Just as cloud computing is valuable to web apps in seasonal businesses, it also has an impact to the workforce.  Think about an ecommerce company whose sales exponentially multiple over the Holidays. When that happens, cloud computing can scale up with them to handle the web traffic.  Back at the office, they must also scale up their contact centers to handle customer service over that period. Daas Allows for flexibility and quick changes without heavy investments. 

The Future of DaaS

There is no doubt that DaaS will continue to grow.  In a recent report by Technavio (and reported by Business Wire) it was projected the Desktop as a Service (DaaS) market will increase by over 40% by 2020.  The main drivers for the shift are: Worker Efficiency, Cost Reduction, Increased Security, and technological advancements.

With tiny, Linux based machines like Raspberry Pis and Chromebooks now capable of running DaaS, the technology makes the endpoint investment insignificant.  Also, AWS and Azure are putting big bets on DaaS as well, it is inevitable that the desktop experience will shift to a cloud experience.  With so many options, service providers have the freedom to deliver DaaS via multiple avenues making their entry into the business more accessible.

Interested in Learning More

Mindcentric is a leading Cloud Service provider in San Diego that has been serving business across the globe for 20 years.  Virtual Desktop and DaaS will continue to grow, please check in with us to see if this model provide value to your organization.

Learn More about Virtual Desktop as a Service

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