Desktop as a service (DaaS) is defined as a cloud-based subscription offering comprising a virtual desktop solution deployed over the internet and the optional component of the physical endpoint (i.e., PC) hardware. This article explains the meaning of DaaS and lists the leading desktop as a service providers today.Â
Desktop as a service (DaaS) is a cloud-based subscription offering comprising a virtual desktop solution deployed over the internet and the optional component of the physical endpoint (i.e., PC) hardware.Â
Currently, cloud computing is making waves in the technological world, eliminating the need for previously mandatory servers and turning infrastructure into cloud-based services, leading to the trend of anything/everything as a service (XaaS). One of the fundamental tenets of this trend is desktop as a service (DaaS).Â
Desktop as a service (DaaS) is a software technology that provides a desktop environment and applications to clients with the service provider hosting the infrastructure. It creates and separates a virtual desktop environment from the physical infrastructure. Therefore, businesses and organizations can fully operate their unique desktop setting, programs, application software, database, etc., without a desktop server.Â
DaaS is similar to the remote desktop protocol (RDP) but in DaaS, the organization does not deal with a central host server. It is a subscription-based service and can be accessed either directly via a web browser on the internet or by using a downloaded application.Â
One can utilize desktop as a service from any device ranging from a personal computer, laptop, mobile phone, iPad, etc. Therefore, it provides excellent flexibility and freedom to the end users and aids remote work. It also relieves the company’s management, storage, security, and maintenance burden.Â
A third party may offer DaaS, i.e., a cloud-based company that relies on already established public cloud infrastructure like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), or Google cloud, to provide desktop virtualization technology to the end users. The cloud provider itself can also offer it without a third party.Â
There are two types of solutions available in the DaaS infrastructure segment â€“ they are persistent and non-persistent desktops. The former allows each user to customize the desktop interface, save it and access that same desktop setting each time they log into the platform. The persistent desktop takes up more cloud storage space than non-persistent and is generally available for more permanent employees. Non-persistent desktop, on the other hand, simply acts as a portal and resets itself each time the user logs in afresh.Â
When looking out for a DaaS platform, there are salient features that one must consider. Among them are:
- Licensing flexibility: Desktop as a service provider should allow integration of existing licenses when a company moves its infrastructure to the cloud.Â
- Multi-user access: A good DaaS provider should be able to grant access to multiple users. This is especially important for small businesses, where paying for different workstations might be a disadvantage.Â
- Scalability: DaaS platforms must offer easy scalability to all their clients. So that if there is a need to scale up or cut down on resources, it can be done without much hassle.Â
- Simplified pricing: DaaS packages should be well outlined, easy to understand, and avoid hidden charges.
A 2022 report by Future Market Insights indicates that the global DaaS market is worth $5.5 billion and will reach $17.8 billion by 2029. The report recognized top providers leading this growth, including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Citrix, etc. To help you navigate this market and make an informed decision around DaaS, let us look at the top desktop as a service provider in 2022:
Disclaimer: These listings are based on publicly available information and include vendor websites that sell to mid-to-large enterprises. Readers are advised to conduct their final research to ensure the best fit for their unique organizational needs.
1. Amazon WorkspacesÂ
Overview: Amazon Workspace is a cloud-based, virtual DaaS platform that Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers. It is available for both Linux and Microsoft Windows operating systems.Â
Key features: The key features of Amazon Workspaces include:Â
- License flexibility: Amazon workspaces allow companies to integrate their licenses with the cloud platform. It also offers the option of purchasing new licenses from the AWS marketplace.
- Security: Amazon workspace offers multiple security measures such as multi-factor authentication, data encryption using AWS key management service, and IP address control.Â
- Simplified pricing: Workspaces gives a well-structured system for subscribers. Companies can either pay for the platform every month or pay using the hourly billing system.Â
- Multi-user access: Amazon Workspaces allows organizations to have more than one user logged on a virtual desktop platform.Â
USP: Amazon Workspaces provides a wide range of flexibility in pricing and simultaneously in computing memory and storage options.Â
Pricing: The monthly cost of using AWS with 4GB RAM computing is $29 per user.
Editorial comments: Amazon Workspaces helps organizations achieve the optimal personalized remote working experience for each employee. However, the pricing requires careful perusal as it may get confusing.Â
2. Azure Virtual Desktop
Overview: Azure Virtual Desktop is a Microsoft Azure-based system. It was formerly known as Windows Virtual Desktop. It provides virtualized versions of the Windows operating systems deployed on the Azure cloud.Â
Key features: The key features of Azure Virtual Desktop include:
- License flexibility: Azure Virtual Desktop allows you to bring in your current license, reducing total cost. So you pay for only what you need on the Azure platform.Â
- Multiple access options: Users can access the Azure Virtual Desktop environment using the app or web browser and from any device.
- Security: Azure Virtual Desktop helps secure applications and data as the platform has proper security measures to detect, prevent and remedy threats.Â
USP: The Azure Virtual Desktop as a service solution is optimized to work with Windows 11 and Microsoft 365, already used by several organizations.Â
Pricing: Azure pricing can be calculated based on cloud resource requirements.
Editorial comments: Azure Virtual Desktop helps users save on infrastructure costs, especially those with Microsoft 365 and Windows licenses. However, speed and ease of use might be a deterrent.Â
3. Citrix Managed Desktops
Overview: Citrix is a DaaS company that uses the Microsoft Azure cloud as a platform for its services. They help their customers use virtual apps and desktops to simplify IT.
Key features: The key features of Citrix Managed Desktops include:Â
- License flexibility: Clients with already existing Microsoft licenses can integrate them into the Citrix workspace and purchase brand new licenses directly.Â
- Simplified pricing: Citrix service has a simple price model that allows users to pay monthly. You can also pay on a term-based model.Â
- Multiple access options: Citrix allows users to access the platform by connecting over the web or using the workspace app.Â Â
- Security: Citrix provides various security packages based on subscription plans such as adaptive authentication, session watermarking, app protection policies, etc.
USP: Citrix leverages Microsoft Azure to provide users with a robust and comprehensive DaaS platform worldwide. The company is also among the top providers in the virtualization segment, with several free services.
Pricing: Citrix’s estimated monthly cost for a single user is approximately $30.
Editorial comments: Citrix offers highly varied and scalable services, domain joined, and non-domain joined technology. However, the DaaS provider’s advanced technology makes it a bit more expensive than some other offerings in the case of large implementations.Â
4. Cloudalize Desktop as a ServiceÂ
Overview: Cloudalize is a private cloud solution provider that supports intensive applications like machine learning, 3D visualization, etc., using cloud technologies. It has developed a GPU-accelerated desktop as a service for enterprise use.Â
Key features: The key features of Cloudalize include:Â
- License flexibility: Cloudalize applies the Bring Your Own License model. This allows companies to use their licenses on the virtual desktop platform.
- Multi-device support: Cloudalize allows users worldwide to access the platform irrespective of the operating system or device type.
- One-click sharing: Cloudalize also features a one-click sharing option that lets you share everything you have worked on. You can also get real-time feedback on the shared page.Â
- Security: It uses industry-best guidelines to ensure that the safety of enterprise data is in good hands. Cloudalize also has ISO-certified data centers.Â
USP: Cloudalize is widely known to have among the best IT help teams. They guide users through the process of installation, deployment, and setting up the DaaS environment.Â
Pricing: Cloudalize pricing starts from $29.99 per month.
Editorial comments: Cloudalize is used for device management, which covers implementing, operating, and maintaining a virtual platform. However, some users have experienced freezes while using the software.Â
5. Dell PC as a ServiceÂ
Overview: Dell PC as a Service is a comprehensive management service for the complete PC lifestyle. Dell PC as a Service (PCaaS) combines the hardware, software, and IT infrastructure management in one package.Â
Key features: The key features of Dell PC as a Service include:Â
- Simplified pricing: Dell PCaaS has an easy-to-understand pricing system where users must pay a fixed monthly price.Â
- Security: Dell offers protection for the cloud platform and hardware components. They ensure the clean transfer of sensitive data from one PC to another.
- Maximization of ROI: Dell PC as a Service helps your company offer affordable plans for outfitting personnel with devices. Better still, their continued involvement eliminates unnecessary expenses.Â
- Customizability: Dell PC as a Service allows employers to select the best hardware and software combination for their employees.
USP: Dell PC as a Service is a unique DaaS platform that supplies cloud infrastructure and manages physical hardware infrastructure.Â
Pricing: Estimated cost for Dell PCaaS is $24.34 per user.Â
Editorial comments: Dell PCaaS solves the problem of deploying hardware devices to employees with effective lifecycle management and recycling plans. However, it is focused on large businesses.Â
6. dinCloud Hosted Workspaces
Overview: dinCloud is a United States-based company that allows organizations to deliver their enterprise resources directly from the cloud to any platform or device. dinCloud Hosted Workspaces is the company’s DaaS solution.
Key features: The key features of dinCloud include:Â
- Simplified pricing: dinCloud offers a fully simplified pricing system, giving you flat rates for their services and eliminating complex calculations.Â
- Security: dinCloud provides comprehensive security services covering antivirus programs, anti-malware, and protection from hacking. It also provides encryption and a virtual private network (VPN).
- Ease of scaling: dinCloud offers its clients a unique ability to easily add more servers or remove excess servers, effectively scaling up or down with just a single click.Â
- Multi-device support: Users can access their digital desktop environment from any device and operating system, including macOS, Android, or iOS mobile phones and PCs.Â
USP: dinCloud has a wide variety of packages that users can select from, and this desktop as a service solution is purpose-built for hybrid working.Â
Pricing: dinCloud pricing is monthly based and comes as a quote from the providers.
Editorial comments: dinCloud Desktop as a Service gives its customers access to the benefits of virtual desktops. However, the company’s website lists its desktop as a service solution supporting up to Windows 10.Â
7. Kasm WorkspacesÂ
Overview: Kasm Workspaces is a platform that streams containerized apps, browsers, and desktop workloads to end users. Kasm is a platform that one can customize to meet the specific needs of individual clients.Â
Key features: The key features of Kasm Workspaces include:Â
- Security: Kasm enforces zero-trust browser isolation, ensuring that users can access features from the desktop without compromising security.Â
- Simplified pricing: Kasm offers a free trial to use their services, followed by professional and enterprise packages with specific components and pricing.Â
- Customized solutions: Kasm doesn’t just offer virtual desktop and application streaming; its containerized format allows you to customize the solution to your needs.
- Multi-browser support: Kasm allows you to stream apps and desktop interfaces directly from any browser or operating system.
USP: Kasm is unique as it offers containerized services and programs, unlike most other desktops as a service solution. This is a great advantage for developers.
Pricing: Kasm can be gotten at $5 per user monthly for the Professional package.
Editorial comments: Kasm is a powerful platform, from offering a free demo to the ability to access customizable features. However, it is only accessible from a browser, which may discourage some clients.Â
8. V2 CloudÂ
Overview: V2 Cloud is a DaaS company that offers its virtual services to many organizations, from small businesses to large organizations and schools.Â
Key features: The key features of V2 Cloud include:Â
- Scalability: V2 Cloud virtual desktop service is not just cost-effective but is also highly scalable. While it targets small businesses, it also allows for large and growing companies.Â
- Security: The company recognizes the importance of data security. This includes antivirus protection, daily backups, and all-day monitoring.
- Speed of access: V2 Cloud partners with data centers worldwide, ensuring that users can enjoy rapid accessibility to cloud infrastructure.
- Simplified pricing: Customers know exactly what they are paying for and why. There are no hidden prices or fees, no binding long-term contracts, and no minimum order.Â
USP: V2 Cloud provides a high level of technical support. With V2 Cloud, anyone with minimal knowledge of the cloud can access virtual desktops easily.Â
Pricing: V2 Cloud basic plan is priced at $40 per month for one user.
Editorial comments: V2 Cloud is a fully integrated virtual desktop platform that provides services to the least skilled individual. They hold themselves responsible for the complete management of the platform. However, it may lack the degree of customization required for large, more complex enterprises.
9. VMware Horizon DaaS
Overview: VMware is a company that provides a wide range of desktop and application virtualization services. The company offers Horizon DaaS, a digital workspace accessible from Windows, Linux, and macOS operating systems.Â
Key features: The key features of VMware Horizon include:Â
- Ease of scaling: VMware allows their clients to easily scale infrastructure on the cloud, adding more or removing users as needed.Â
- Security: Remote access to cloud infrastructure must be secure, and VMware ensures this. This is done using NSX and architectural security while adopting the zero-trust model.
- Multi-access options: VMware Horizon users can utilize the desktop as a service platform through a web browser. They can also access it through an application.Â
- Disaster recovery: VMware has a functional disaster recovery mechanism to be expedited in case of failure of the platform or data storage system.Â
USP: VMware Horizon is perfect for remote work as it allows workers to access virtual desktop space anywhere, from any device, and anytime. Further, it is backed by VMware’s decades of expertise in the virtualization space.
Pricing: A universal license costs $26.70 per month with support for concurrent users.Â
Editorial comments: VMware Horizon is a highly recommended platform that offers the best features and scalable support to clients. However, there is a possibility of performance loss.
10. Workspot Enterprise Desktop Cloud
Overview: Workspot, founded in 1999, was among the first applications to use virtual network computing. They are a modern Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and DaaS platform that allows users to stream Windows or Linux desktops from the cloud.Â
Key features: The key features of Workspot Enterprise include:Â
- Security: Workspot firmly believes in and enforces the principle of zero trust security, stating that when it comes to cyber crimes, everyone is guilty till proven innocent.Â
- Simplified pricing: Workspot has a flat rate, hourly or custom prices. This eliminates any guesswork in budgeting and hidden or surprising fees.
- Ease of scaling: Workspot allows clients to scale their cloud usage easily, whether by the number of users or computing resources.Â
- Speed: Workspot enterprise desktop cloud platform offers high-speed throughput for users. This results in a very low latency period of 5-50 ms.Â
USP: Workspot is a highly reliable platform with high-performance cloud workstations, especially suited to designers and engineers using graphics-intensive apps.Â
Pricing: Workspot Cloud desktop starts at $20 monthly.Â
Editorial comments: Workspot effectively delivers virtual services and relieves clients of the burden of managing VDI platforms. However, migration from other platforms may be complex, but Workspot provides excellent support.Â
The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting remote working needs have pushed DaaS to the forefront. According to a 2022 ESG report, 70% of organizations will soon use DaaS to deliver digital resources to their employees.Â
The best desktop as a service (DaaS) providers including Amazon Workspaces, Azure Virtual Desktop, Citrix Managed Desktops, Cloudalize DaaS, Dell PC as a Service, dinCloud Hosted Workspaces, Kasm Workspaces, V2 Cloud, VMware Horizon, and Workspot Enterprise Desktop Cloud will be able to support a variety of work scenarios, scaling flexibly and providing high computing power at optimal costs.Â
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