There are lasting changes in the business world. Mass quarantines and office closures left businesses scrambling to deploy work from anywhere solutions, resulting in the large-scale adoption or expansion of end user computing (EUC). As evidence of this transition, Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) market revenue grew by 98% in 2020 and is forecast to grow another 68% in 2021 according to Gartner.
Unfortunately, many EUC implementations have been rushed, haphazard, or overlooked critical capabilities—like security and compliance. Now that the initial stages of the pandemic have passed, enterprises are moving past crisis management and cost control and beginning to rearchitect their EUC operations with an eye toward profitability and sustainability.
It may not be clear exactly what the “next normal” looks like for your business, but there is an opportunity to rebuild and gain a competitive advantage by making smart EUC choices to empower your employees and your business while increasing flexibility and decreasing costs.
The EUC solutions of the past, however, are inadequate for a more dynamic and uncertain future—one in which employees may need to work remotely one day and in the office the next. End users want to access their applications and data from anywhere, on any device, at any time. Your IT organization needs to strengthen and improve its EUC deployments to meet workforce needs and business requirements, including security, business continuity, and compliance.
This blog looks at the state of EUC and the challenges impacting current EUC implementations as companies open up and return to growth. It also explores how Hybrid EUC addresses these challenges and three common paths to get to Hybrid EUC.
The State of Remote Work with EUC
Many companies are finding that their existing EUC solutions are limiting business agility. IT teams simply can’t respond to end-user requests quickly enough. Existing on-prem VDI implementations can be hard to configure, difficult to manage, and often fail to meet business and end-user needs. Challenges include:
- Long deployment times. Infrastructure and management complexity increase the time necessary for new deployments or to expand existing ones.
- Large upfront investments. On-premises EUC is CapEx intensive. Sizing mistakes lead to wasted spending and you can’t pay as you go.
- Limited scalability. When scaling, many EUC implementations reach a point of diminished performance due to architecture challenges and data locality issues.
- Unhappy end users. EUC that is slow to respond or fails to satisfy requirements can leave end-users unhappy.
In the cloud, Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) implementations often face similar challenges and come with hidden costs.
Enterprises are sometimes tempted to utilize both VDI and DaaS. There are certainly situations where deploying both VDI and DaaS meets business needs, but it results in two separate sets of apps, desktops, and data—further increasing operational complexity and nearly doubling the management effort. That’s far from ideal for companies that now recognize the critical importance of EUC—and fast EUC recovery for business continuity.
Figure 2: With current EUC options, most enterprises choose one or the other.
The Future of EUC is Hybrid
The need for EUC to be rapidly deployable and easily scalable—while better meeting the needs of dynamic business operations and demanding end users—requires a new model that combines the advantages of on-premises and cloud EUC without the disadvantages of having completely separate environments. A hybrid EUC model is emerging, using a flexible mix of both private and public cloud resources and allowing you to quickly adjust the mix based on your business needs.
The ideal hybrid EUC deployment takes advantage of one of the biggest trends in EUC: movement of the control plane or broker to the cloud. If you’ve had experience managing on-prem EUC, you know it can take a lot of time and effort. Having the broker function delivered as a SaaS service has advantages that are worth considering; it’s also a good first step in the journey to cloud. The figure below shows what we consider to be the ideal hybrid state, in which a single cloud broker controls desktops and applications that can run either on-premises or in the public cloud.
Figure 3: Ideal hybrid EUC end state.
Private cloud resources ensure that predictable user workloads run at minimum cost while the public cloud ensures that you can—for example—meet the needs of remote users anywhere in the world or add resources quickly to meet unforeseen requirements such as M&A.
Three Paths to Hybrid EUC
But how do you get from where you are today to hybrid EUC? There are three potential paths that we see customers following:
Cloud management. Offload and centralize EUC management as a SaaS service in public cloud, eliminating management overhead and the need for painful upgrades.
DR in the cloud. Utilize public cloud for EUC disaster recovery to ensure business continuity.
Workload portability. Move workloads flexibly between datacenters and cloud locations to address dynamic business requirements.
It should be noted that these paths are not mutually exclusive. You can implement some or all of these options together. Nutanix offers solutions that help you no matter which path you choose.
1) Cloud Management
In the cloud management path to hybrid EUC, a cloud EUC controller (delivered as SaaS) takes the place of separate on-prem and cloud controllers. It is important to recognize why cloud EUC management is advantageous. In the on-prem model, the control plane is provided by the software you install, maintain, patch, and upgrade. Upgrades are time consuming and complex. Cloud EUC management offloads these tasks. It becomes the provider’s responsibility to keep the control plane up and running, patched, and upgraded. And of course, with this model a single control plane is used for multiple locations.
Figure 4. Cloud Management
Nutanix enables the cloud management pathway via either the Nutanix Frame® solution or our Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops solution in combination with Citrix® CVAD service (Citrix Cloud). The Nutanix® Cloud Platform enables you to manage the underlying infrastructure for EUC in private and public clouds using a single set of tools.
2) DR to the Cloud
Due to the pandemic, many enterprises gained a new appreciation for the importance—and scope—of business continuity. However, maintaining a secondary site for DR is costly and time consuming. What if you could seamlessly failover to the public cloud instead?
The Nutanix Cloud Platform makes this process simple using the Nutanix Clusters™ solution and proven integration with Citrix. For example, using Nutanix Clusters you can replicate an entire Citrix environment to AWS. If a DR event occurs, user desktops and applications failover to AWS with minimal disruption. In testing, Nutanix has demonstrated the ability to spin up 2,000 Citrix desktops on AWS in less than 2 hours.
Figure 5. DR to cloud
For a real-world example of DR to cloud, read the Penn National Insurance case study.
3) Workload Portability
Workload portability opens the door to support a wide range of important EUC use cases. Portability is made possible through centralized management like that offered by Citrix CVAD service or Nutanix Frame. This approach avoids cloud vendor lock-in by giving you the freedom to place workloads where they make the most sense—on-premises or in any public cloud, enabling hybrid and multicloud operations with complete freedom and control.
Figure 6. Workload portability
For a real-world example of workload portability, see the Klein ISD case study. The school uses Nutanix Frame to enable mobility for faculty, staff, and students. Readers in the education field should also check out our blog on distance learning.
Why Trust Nutanix EUC with Hybrid Work?
If you’re looking for a trusted partner to smooth your path to hybrid EUC, Nutanix has both the technology and expertise to help. EUC has been an integral part of Nutanix offerings from the beginning. Today, Nutanix is trusted by thousands of EUC customers supporting millions of end-users.
Nutanix delivers significant financial advantages for EUC customers. An August 2020 Forrester® Total Economic Impact (TEI) study found that Nutanix EUC can provide up to 164% ROI over three years with payback in less than 6 months. Additional benefits for the composite organization include:
- $21.0 million in total benefits over three years
- Thousands of hours saved in operations
- Excellent end-user experience at scale
- 90% faster time to provision
- Up to 35% lower capital expenditures
© 2021 Nutanix, Inc. All rights reserved. Nutanix, the Nutanix logo and all Nutanix product, feature and service names mentioned herein are registered trademarks or trademarks of Nutanix, Inc. in the United States and other countries. Other brand names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and may be the trademarks of their respective holder(s). This post may contain links to external websites that are not part of Nutanix.com. Nutanix does not control these sites and disclaims all responsibility for the content or accuracy of any external site. Our decision to link to an external site should not be considered an endorsement of any content on such a site. Certain information contained in this post may relate to or be based on studies, publications, surveys and other data obtained from third-party sources and our own internal estimates and research. While we believe these third-party studies, publications, surveys and other data are reliable as of the date of this post, they have not independently verified, and we make no representation as to the adequacy, fairness, accuracy, or completeness of any information obtained from third-party sources.
This post may contain express and implied forward-looking statements, which are not historical facts and are instead based on our current expectations, estimates and beliefs. The accuracy of such statements involves risks and uncertainties and depends upon future events, including those that may be beyond our control, and actual results may differ materially and adversely from those anticipated or implied by such statements. Any forward-looking statements included herein speak only as of the date hereof and, except as required by law, we assume no obligation to update or otherwise revise any of such forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.