Desktop as a service: how to choose the right infrastructure

What is the best practice when choosing the right Desktop As a Service (DaaS) infrastructure for your enterprise? This simple question masks a complex challenge, what works in one situation may not elsewhere.

It is important to address each such deployment on a case-by-case basis as even the very best advice can only address perhaps 60-70 percent of your specific needs – and that’s why it’s essential to figure out what those needs are.

This is how I approach the task when managing DaaS deployments for Orange Business clients – we are able to help customers work through this process from project development, deployment and beyond. I’m hopeful that by explaining how we approach DaaS deployment decisions I can help show how to choose the most appropriate provider.

Define business need

To repeat what I wrote in a previous blog when considering adoption of a DaaS solution it is essential to first assess your business need. This is not an easy task, but engaging in it should help you avoid future problems.

First you must assess the motivation for the move. Typically, enterprises adopt DaaS for a combination of different reasons: costs, security, mobile support, collaboration to name but four.

One company may seek to cut operational equipment costs by outsourcing technology implementation; others might seek a scalable (and cost predictable) solution to quickly and easily support rapid staff turnover, such as might be experienced in a seasonal enterprise. For compliance focused companies keeping corporate data secure could be one of the reason for DaaS deployment as well.

DaaS could also comprise a way in which an enterprise may boost collaboration by providing the flexibility for employees to work together without any specific device limitations, or enabling hands-on project collaboration across teams spread at locations worldwide.

For many enterprises adopting DaaS is motivated by any or all of these, along with different criteria relevant to them, but they need to know what motivates them first, particularly in terms of assessing success and ROI.

The good news is that much of the task will be assisted by DaaS service providers, who will handle things like onboarding, systems migration, user profiles and so forth – but it remains important to recognize why these things matter.

The benefits of a good DaaS deployment make the effort of defining business need worthwhile:

  • Providing enterprise apps and data from a secured and customized cloud desktop to any system or device within a consistent user experience.
  • The ease with which DaaS systems can add or remove users as businesses grow, transform or expands in new locations.
  • Outsourcing of infrastructure provision reduces IT department workloads and reduces the cost of software maintenance – even software and hardware upgrades cease to be an in-house problem.
  • The prevention of hardware-based data loss or data theft.
  • The ability to maintain highly effective data audits, secure file-&-sync services and mobile device management (MDM) solutions.
  • All this at a predictable monthly price.

Enterprises must be sufficiently agile to reach smart decisions in line with real-time business needs. By delivering consistency and outsourcing support, maintenance and other tasks, DaaS systems are far more agile to business change than on-site hosted systems, enabling enterprises to become more agile and fostering improved collaboration across the business.

Having identified what you need from the project you must look at how your existing employees, applications and systems work.

  • Step 1: Understanding user profiles
  • Step 2: Understanding application profiles
  • Step 3: Choose wisely
  • Step 4: Test, rollout and manage

Step 1: Understanding user profiles

Count your end users and categorize them by roles, responsibilities and geographical locations. This means figuring out if they are administrative users, remote workers or heavy users, for example. It also means assessing local site dependencies, such as local office-based servers that may currently handle files or print. Are such legacy systems compatible with your DaaS designs?

This should enable you to assess how existing solutions are being used in order to figure out how end users may be impacted by the migration.

The impacts are likely to be different across different industries, for example:

  • A medical imaging, healthcare, advertising agency, or other graphics-related firm may require support for high-resolution screens as a priority.
  • A field service engineering firm may want user manuals to be stored centrally and accessed when required via cloud, rather than carried on USB drives.  

With help from DaaS providers, or early in the process when defining the requirements you hope to satisfy with their help, the exercise of categorizing users appropriately is essential. This information has implications on the design and capabilities of your future system, and while your DaaS service provider will work with you to develop that system, understanding the way they approach the task makes for a more effective collaboration.

In part two of this report I’ll look at:

  • Step 2: Understanding application profiles
  • Step 3: Choose wisely
  • Step 4: Test, rollout and manage

Meanwhile take a look at how Orange Business can help you build your ideal digital working environment leveraging Orange Private Cloud solutions to ensure the success of your desktop virtualization project.

Setu Shah

I am a Business Solutions Manager at Orange Business. I have over twenty years of experience in strategic planning, positioning consulting and globally out-tasked solutions for Fortune 1000 multi-national corporations. I have a strong focus on solving client’s various business needs with technical solution especially in digital transformation. I work with sales teams to develop and execute strategic client account plans to help clients achieve their goals. When not working I enjoys community work, spending time with family and watching cricket.