VMware is leveraging its acquisition last year of Desktone to launch a desktop-as-a-service offering that the company is providing on its own cloud service and which will compete against other DaaS solutions from the likes of Amazon Web Services.
The virtualization giant is scoring a coup in the increasingly competitive DaaS space by launching its Horizon DaaS service before Amazon, which announced its Amazon Workspace service in November 2013 but is still running it in a limited preview. VMware officials also said its service, combined with its Horizon View offering, enable businesses to deliver the Windows desktop images via a public or private cloud, or run them in a hybrid environment.
VMware's Horizon DaaS service, which was announced March 10 and is based on the technology inherited via the Desktone acquisition, enables organizations to deploy Windows desktops that can be accessed by a range of devices, from desktops and notebooks to thin clients, mobile device, Chromebooks and tablets running Apple's iOS or Google's Android operating systems. The desktop images—which can be Windows 7 or 8—run on VMware's vCloud Hybrid Service platform, enabling all the same applications, networking and other tools to be delivered across both on-premises and off-premises cloud environments.
Companies can manage and monitor their cloud-based desktops through such tools as vSphere and vCenter. The company is offering the service for $35 per month per user for a full Windows client.
"Our experience working with customers deploying DaaS the last several years has shown that the majority prefers a blended environment with both on-premise and cloud desktops," Sumit Dhawan, vice president and general manager of desktop products for VMware's End-User Computing unit, said in a statement. "However, very few solutions in the market can deliver a seamless end-user experience across multiple clouds like VMware Horizon DaaS."
In a post on the VMware blog, Dhawan said that delivering desktops via the cloud offers several benefits, including giving enterprises the predictability that comes from reducing their capital expenses for buying equipment to a consistent monthly operating expense cost, as well as enabling organizations to deploy desktops to employees through just a few clicks. In addition, VMware engineers manage the infrastructure.
With a cloud deployment, businesses can ramp up or scale down the number of users in an on-demand fashion. Given the trends in business—from bring-your-own-device (BYOD) practices to greater worker mobility—DaaS is increasingly making sense for businesses, Dhawan wrote.
"End users want access to corporate content—from anywhere, at any time and using any device," he wrote. "Progressive companies are looking for ways to embrace this new way to work and use it as a way to attract/retain talent or increase productivity among their mobile workforce."
VMware officials said businesses that want to completely offload their desktops to the cloud should go with the Horizon DaaS service, while those wanting to leverage an on-premises private cloud can use VMware's Horizon View. For hybrid environments, Horizon DaaS can be run on multiple clouds. Horizon DaaS will be delivered by VMware's partners and is compatible with other VMware-based cloud services, the company said.
IDC analysts in a report in December 2013 said the cost reductions and easier endpoint management that desktop virtualization delivers will continue to drive interest among businesses.
"For the remainder of , although companies see value in VDI [virtual desktop infrastructure], pilot programs are beginning to roll out slowly," Jennifer Song, research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Trackers, said in a statement at the time. "In 2014, VDI adoption should accelerate among enterprise firms."