Desktone (http://www.desktone.com/) and more pointedly the generic term DaaS or desktop as a service is being bandied about and will help (I say “help” in jest) to muddy the terminology waters and give us a new buzz word.
Really, I think DaaS has legs and will see favorable acceptance with the “greening” of IT with respects to energy saving – being able to time-share OS’es and shutdown or power-save endpoints that aren’t in use after hours. This would allow a server farm to deploy the same OS’s that were in use in New York to a time zone just coming up on their business day. With folder redirects for personal folders and true SaaS inside of DaaS there will be a full-meal-deal of offerings to fully support a completely virtualized desktop model. In short, the endpoint will essentially be an appliance – the telephone we’ve all been using as a metaphor. No one spends time supporting a telephone at a desk – you replace it, get a dial tone (Desktone?) and move on. The customer is back to work in under 5 minutes.
Healthcare will benefit from DaaS – in environments that can’t take the risk of microbes being pushed around by PC fans DaaS will be a compelling solution. I’m trying to figure out who wouldn’t benefit from DaaS – except for maybe the enterprise desktop PC makers.
Something that has just been realized to achieve this with respects to SaaS is Microsoft’s approval of Office to be commoditized into SaaS deliverables as a revenue stream.
One of the early application virtualizers if not the first, Endeavors (http://www.endeavors.com) has been pushing for a relaxing of Microsoft’s SPLA stance – Microsoft Service Providers License Agreement. The Microsoft SPLA allows service providers and ISVs to license Microsoft software applications on a monthly basis to provide hosted applications to their customers. Endeavors has been preparing for such a day with something they call a Jukebox – a way for enterprises to stream, report, track licenses and collect revenue on applications virtualized and streamed.
Now that Microsoft has opened the “floodgates” as Endeavors calls it, it’s perceived that enterprises will want to take advantage of the possibilities – here’s how Endeavors puts it:
“The Microsoft SPLA targets service providers who want to offer their customers Microsoft licensed products in a commercial hosting environment.
The main benefits of buying a license under the Microsoft SPLA are flexible cost structure and reduced complexity in providing software services.
The Microsoft SPLA offers access to the most current versions of Microsoft products and a simplified monthly usage-based cost structure. This means service providers have limited start-up costs and only pay for licenses provided to their customers each month. There is no need to forecast maximum usage of licenses over multiple years. This offers greater visibility of their operational expenses.
Further benefits include possible tax write offs as customers never actually own the licenses and the ability to automatically upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft products they are paying for.”
My take on this – the virtual planets are about to come into alignment. As we are all hearing, enterprises are being asked to do more with less – DaaS and SaaS are maturing to meet that need. We’ve been deploying virtualized applications (SoftGrid) for 5 years – that’s a technological life time. Some of your competitors are half they way there with SaaS and not having to manually install software which is support money they didn’t have to spend. If your organization thinks sending out field technicians is the way to go – good luck with that model – and justifying it with even tighter budgets. Virtual applications are being delivered to virtual desktops that don’t need traditional “boots on the ground” support – the “do more with less” answer is here now.