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Future of Work: VDI and DaaS Will be Critical

By Aaron Delp

For many of us, the future of work has changed. While it’s impossible to predict the steady state outcome, it’s already clear working remotely will play an important role going forward. As we extend our enterprise beyond the traditional confines of physical location, some interesting decisions are presented.

What is top of mind for organizations of all sizes as we move forward? The recent scramble to implement or expand work-from-anywhere solutions has caused many to give End User Computing (EUC) technologies a second or third look.

It might surprise you to learn how widely virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and Desktop as a Service (DaaS) have been deployed. Research sponsored by Nutanix and conducted by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), found a large number of companies were already using VDI and DaaS before the pandemic, and many more were investigating one or both options to scale quickly as needed in the future.  

Is VDI or DaaS (or a combination of both) right for you? This blog examines some key findings of that research—including the benefits and challenges of each technology—to help you make smarter EUC decisions. In the course of its research, ESG spoke to over 350 IT decision makers in the United States, across a broad range of industries. Roughly two-thirds of respondents were from enterprise companies (greater than 1,000 employees). The survey was completed in CQ1 2020, just prior to the COVID-19 spike worldwide.

Security is Top of Mind

No matter which path you choose, VDI or DaaS, security is a preeminent concern. According to ESG, 53 percent consider the security attributes of their desktop operating environment the top purchase decision. This surprised me personally but makes perfect sense when I take a step back. Most end users today want to bring their own device, but what happens to corporate data if it is copied to a non-corporate device? How do you prevent malware or ransomware when you can’t control the device? The implementation of virtual desktops and apps with additional solutions, such as virtual machine-level microsegmentation, helps mitigate these threat vectors.

Efficiency Rules

When it comes to justification of EUC projects, 75 percent of organizations cite IT and cost efficiency, along with security and compliance, as top reasons for spending. The ESG survey found that VDI and DaaS share the same top-three implementation challenges: management complexity, higher than expected costs, and risk of a security breach.

VDI and DaaS Adoption

VDI

ESG found that 40 percent of organizations were already using VDI technology before the pandemic began, with 43 percent of those using it for three years or more. Another 45 percent of respondents were in the process of implementing VDI or had plans to do so in the future. Most importantly, 65 percent of current VDI deployments are on HCI platforms. As an example, see how Delaware Valley Community Healthcare recently elevated their patient experience.

DaaS

The survey also showed that DaaS is closing the adoption gap with VDI. Thirty-nine percent of organizations surveyed were already using DaaS, with 46 percent in the process of implementing DaaS or planning to do so in the future.

Maryland Lottery is a perfect example of a DaaS implementation on an accelerated timeline with limited resources. The organization was able to transition from zero remote-work capability to all staff working remotely over a weekend.

Which Technology Should You Choose?

The survey makes it clear that a substantial percentage of organizations are using both VDI and DaaS. For many, it’s not so much a question of choosing between VDI and DaaS as choosing the best option for each use case. 

Organizations with international operations are less likely to rely on DaaS exclusively (possibly due to data sovereignty issues), and DaaS tends to be favored by organizations for smartphone and tablet access. “Improved availability/business continuity” was cited as one of the top-three DaaS benefits, an attribute that’s likely to be particularly appealing in the current environment.

If you need more information on deciding between VDI and DaaS, we have a great series of blogs on this very topic that starts here and ends here. I recommend them to anyone needing assistance with this decision. As additional data points, ESG presents some great results on the current and future state of both technology solutions.

How Nutanix Helps

Nutanix offers a range of EUC solutions. We can help you address pandemic-related demands very quickly (see our recent blog, “How to support working remotely—quickly and safely”), and we can also help design solutions to serve your company’s needs for the long term. 

Nutanix VDI solutions

Nutanix supports deployments of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops as well as VMware Horizon. Nutanix HCI eliminates the complexity and cost overruns that plague VDI deployments on traditional infrastructure, delivering an excellent user experience at scale, always-on availability and security, and faster time to delivery. (See How Nutanix Solves the Top VDI Deployment Challenges.)

Nutanix DaaS with Xi Frame

Nutanix also offers a unique approach to DaaS with Xi Frame™, supporting one-click desktop instances on AWS, Azure, and the Nutanix private cloud via a web browser. This intelligent digital workspace can be configured easily to meet your requirements and scales rapidly to meet the demands and urgency of mass WFH mandates. Frame offers a unique ability to combine its cloud-based control plane with cloud-based and on-premises Nutanix infrastructure to balance cost, control, and security needs.

Nutanix Services

Many of the respondents ESG surveyed have utilized implementation services, consulting services, and ongoing managed services to save time and address staff shortages and skills gaps. Nutanix Consulting Services offers a full range of services tailored to meet your EUC needs, from design, to migration, to security. Our consulting can fill gaps in your organization’s skillset, including residency services that put a Nutanix expert onsite.

Managed Services

If you are considering outsourcing the complete solution, or just the infrastructure, I would suggest evaluating the WiPro virtuadesk and HPE Greenlake offerings as well.

Get the full report

Interested in more data? View the full report, compliments of Nutanix and ESG.