Desktop as a service (DaaS) has become a hot topic in South Africa as organisations seek to better enable remote and hybrid workforces, and reduce capex on hardware.

This is according to Rochelle Naidu, business development manager for the Citrix Business Unit at Axiz, who says: “The COVID-19 pandemic boosted significant growth. With organisations opting to work from home, the demand for DaaS increased considerably, and more CIOs discovered they could take the DaaS approach to reduce hardware capital expenditure by as much as 56% annually.

The pandemic also accelerated many organisations’ plans to move to the cloud to become more agile. IT leaders have realised they can gain access to a one-stop, pay-as-you-go solution that enables quick and cost-efficient deployment of cloud desktops and apps. We are likely to see a lot more DaaS adoption in the coming months.”

Naidu says the forced change in the landscape has overcome hesitance and misconceptions that existed previously.

“One local misconception was that with DaaS, organisations would have little control,” she says. “DaaS can save your organisation from hours of maintenance, but fully managed DaaS requires you to give up some control. This can pose a challenge for businesses with highly specific hardware or OS needs. The DaaS provider manages and takes care of all hardware maintenance, software updates and security patches. This will save you a lot of time and worry, thus enabling you to focus on what drives your success: your core business.”

“Time, budget, man-hours and resources that you would have previously invested in storage, maintenance, security, workloads and servers can now be spent on something less tactical and more strategic. It is maintenance that you eliminate, not control,” she explains.

Another local concern has been that DaaS is expensive. Says Naidu: “DaaS is a better alternative to traditional in-house infrastructure as it requires no upfront capital investment. In contrast, traditional virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is expensive: it requires heavy initial investment and maintenance budget allocation. But with DaaS you will not be providing your own infrastructure, you would be utilising your provider’s data centres and only paying for the resources you need. The expenditure is predictable, highly affordable and flexible. DaaS means that the company no longer has to acquire IT assets that are recognised as capex. IT expenses can be accounted for as operating expenses.

Naidu says key benefits of DaaS are that it reduces hardware costs, streamlines software updates, improves employee efficiency and enhances security. She notes: “Eighty-seven percent of organisations have a mix of on-premises and cloud-based infrastructure. With DaaS, you can optimise the resources they already have and harness even more of the cloud. With DaaS, a cloud service provider handles all updates and maintenance, saving the organisation time and IT resources. A reliable DaaS connection gives employees constant access to the information and tools they need to get work done, increasing employee efficiency by about 5%. Importantly, DaaS services reduce security risks by ensuring that data is secure and accessible only to authorised users.

Citrix DaaS virtual apps and desktops

Citrix, with leading solutions for delivering desktops and applications from the cloud, says what was once a slow and steady migration is now a mass movement with more urgency.

They address key new challenges for businesses and remote workforces, including continuity, productivity, security across access, data, apps, software and devices, and a consistent user experience.

Citrix DaaS delivers:

1. Cost-effective IT

The Citrix DaaS solution delivers apps and desktops from the cloud and offers a pay-as-you-go model that eliminates the capital expenses associated with maintaining a data centre.

2. The ability to work from any device

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Standard for Azure enables users to work from any device. Users get the same experience across all devices even when switching from device to device.

3. A great user experience

No matter where work is getting done, users can expect a great experience with access to apps, data and documents anytime and from any PC, tablet, laptop, desktop, Chromebook or thin client device. With fast and seamless access, collaboration and productivity soar.

4. Easy, on-demand provisioning

Use hours, not days, to roll-out apps and desktops for remote contractors or seasonal workers, or during mergers and acquisitions, and easily close them down when not in use. No more long provisioning cycles or expensive hardware sitting idle.

5. Centralised management

Deliver apps to your workforce with one simple interface, and allow one-click user access with a single sign-on experience.

6. Business continuity

Quickly spin up or scale down employee access at a moment’s notice during snow days, a health crisis or geopolitical events that require a fast change to remote operations.

7. Remote PC access

Unlike other DaaS products, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Standard for Azure includes remote PC access, which provides a simple way for remote workers to securely access their physical office PCs.