What do you think about Desktop as a Service (“DaaS”)?

I’ve been testing out a 7-day trial account from Desktone. They offer ‘desktop as a service’ for organisations looking to virtualise their end user operations. They describe themselves as ‘the industry’s only cloud-hosted VDI’.

I really like the concept of sticking everything in the cloud. I do it as much as I can with all my business operations and it makes working anywhere incredibly smooth. If I’ve got an internet connection, I’m good. Unless, of course, I’m working at a location where the internet is regulated, controlled or restricted for a multitude of ridiculous purposes.

Thames Water has chosen ‘desktop as a service’ from Desktone and their service integrator, Molten Technologies. The concept being that every single employee’s desktop experience will be moved to Desktone’s servers, to be accessed and managed from there.

This should — if Thames Water have allowed it — enable employees to log in to their work environment from any computer (Windows or Mac) and from any iPad or iPhone. All of a sudden it means you can use your home laptop or your personal iPad to get work done.

I operate on Macs, most of the time, but I have to say, I’m not really wedded to them. I do like how slim the MacBook Air is. I really enjoy the Mac experience, but in terms of getting stuff done, I would rather have the flexibility of working anywhere,

For a long while I used a dedicated server (£59/month) from one of the UK hosting firms to act as a DropBox backup. A backup of a backup, if you like. I use it almost like a desktop and that worked rather nicely. I didn’t have a lot of apps installed on it though — e.g. Office — which made things a little complicated to do anything other than Gmail.

Since so much of my work life is now cloud-based (Google Apps, WordPress, DropBox, Twitter, and so on) I wonder how I would get on if I converted to a Desktone VDI instance fully?

I’m giving it some thought.

I’ve no idea how much it costs — there’s no information on the Desktone site. I doubt their aiming for me as a customer. They’ll want the big, big companies.

I’d be willing to pay something like £50/month for a fully backed-up, fully managed, ‘fully everything’ wicked desktop-in-the-cloud.

What’s your view?

(You can get your own 7-day trial of Desktone here.)

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

13 replies on “What do you think about Desktop as a Service (“DaaS”)?”

Great idea, in theory.  Probably an utter pile of poo if you’re connecting over a hopeless 56k or 3G connection.  
The great thing about desktop computers, IMO, is that once they’re set up, they just kinda work.  You can sync stuff when you want, but the idea that everything is stored and retrieved from “the cloud”, frankly, terrifies me.

Even more so with the prospect of vendor lock-in.  What would happen if your DaaS service provider went bust? Would you lose all your data? What if they’re suffering an outage.  At least with Dropbox and a traditional desktop, all of your data is still there if Dropbox goes down, and you can just sync later on.

Oh, if I had the money to hand I would sign up now!  

I think for a mass market apeal you would need to look towards £10 / £20 a month though, people could handle that as it is less than their mobile bill is monthly.  I think software cost would have to go on top of that though, so you just get a basic windows install.

I really think that this kind of service is best used as an “Also”.  So I have my desktop synced to dropbox or and I “Also” have a virtual set up that lets me use those files anywhere I want in a proper desktop environment.  I think storing data on it as a sole location would be a mistake.  Even if this was the only desktop environment you were using (which is what I was going to try), I would have everything backed up to my 50gb account! 

(ps thanks for the heads up on the iOS 50gb deal!!)

Thinking about it.  If you have a proper virtual server or even a dedicated server for your webhosting, you could just put LogmeIn (or VNC) on that.  Then you have full desktop access to it from anywhere.  Stick a few bits of software on it and for light usage it will not mess with your websites!

So why do you need another hosted service? Just curious.  Would seem having your own server which could handle all of the DaaS offering and more would be more use.  I think people get lost in the meaning of Cloud.  In this case it really does just mean on the internet / a pc not in your house!

Yeah… I was thinking about that when I was writing the words “cloud” — as really what I mean is “my own server, always connected, managed by someone else”

I sent that company a new email asking about the service, were rather unprofessional in their answer. 
The bottom line is you need to subscribe to 20 desktops minimum before they will even talk pricing. Desktone rep indicated that thats an issues with lisc. microsoft windows in a virtual environment. 

So as a single desktop for us to use FORGET IT…. The company is NOT interested in SME’s under 20 client purchases. Good luck getting prices. They would not respond to the 20 quote when asked. 

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