VMware Partner Exchange (PEX) 2014 just wrapped up, and some news out of the conference concerned Desktone, a Desktop as a Service (DaaS) offering that VMware purchased last fall. VMware recently announced that the product has been renamed as Horizon DaaS, and VMware is starting to talk about their plans for the new service. VMware also used PEX 2014 to announce that they were joining forces with Google to bring Horizon DaaS to Google Chromebooks.
Other than renaming the platform, VMware has also been working on adding a few new features to the Horizon DaaS product. Today the product can offer the same user experience as VMware View, which needed the View infrastructure below the DaaS product. This means that end users will be able to use the View clients and get the same user experience. It also means that it’s not necessary for admins to manage both the DaaS platform and the VMware View install. This will reduce the complexity in the architectures that service providers will need to build to provide this type of DaaS offering.
The newly updated Horizon DaaS offers the following benefits.
In this initial phase VMware seems focused on enabling DaaS service provider partners in creating and developing their offerings. Back at VMworld, VMware mentioned that in the future you would likely see a DaaS offering running on top of vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS). This would follow the model that VMware has been using for public cloud. They started by enabling their partners, then VMware brought their own offering to the market while still trying to encourage their partners to innovate and create more value via customized offers than VMware was selling directly.
Along with providing the DaaS management layer, VMware has been hard at work with a few of its key hardware partners developing a reference architecture for building a DaaS infrastructure. This can help enable partners seeking to enter the DaaS market get their offering up in an accelerated time frame while having the confidence that the solution they are building is proven and tested by VMware and their partners. This should help many providers that are interested in DaaS feel more comfortable if they do not posses the expertise to architect and offering on their own.
That’s the real question, right? Does anyone really want a desktop in the cloud? I’m not sure anyone knows that the companies that have been offering DaaS have so far had pretty limited success. I’ve not heard any great stories about DaaS providers raking in the cash and needing to rapidly expand. While I think there is going to be a growing need for this, I personally feel that the current offerings are too limited.
If I was a customer looking at DaaS, a desktop in the cloud offers me little value. I would want a complete EUC offering from a solution like this. So that would mean a desktop, applications services, mobile management, and file services would be the minimum features required. Once companies are able to provide this type of offering at a reasonable rate, I think enterprises will take note and start adopting it.