VMware today moved to usher in a new era of desktop virtualization with what it says is the industry's first hybrid desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) offering, providing enterprise-class virtual desktops on VMware vCloud Hybrid Service.
With today's launch of VMware Horizon DaaS, customers can now blend public cloud desktops and on-premises VMware Horizon View private cloud desktops into a seamless end-user experience, says Dave Grant, senior director of product marketing for Horizon DaaS at VMware.
"I can be anywhere on any device and access my corporate desktop," Grant says. "IT doesn't have to build that back-end infrastructure."
"It can be on your cloud, VMware's cloud, a service provider's cloud that's running the service—you'll still get the same end user experience," he adds. "This will be the first in the market to do this."
Virtually Any Device
In just a few simple steps, Grant says, IT can provision, deploy and manage full Windows desktops to end-users that can be accessed from laptops, desktops, zero/thin clients, Chromebooks and mobile devices. The service even enhances non-gesture applications to leverage gestures on tablets and other mobile devices.
"We've covered the gamut when it comes to devices," Grant says, noting more than 50 percent of average workers now use three or more devices to do their work.
Horizon DaaS is built on top of the VMware vCloud Hybrid Service platform, giving customers the capability to extend the same applications, networking, management, operations and tools to both on-premises and off-premises environments. Grant says that this gives customers a choice between three virtual desktop deployment models from a single vendor to match their specific needs, including the following:
- Off-premises public cloud desktops. Organizations that want to offload desktop virtualization completely to a third-party service provider can use Horizon DaaS to move from a CAPEX model to an OPEX model, delivering Windows desktops and applications without having to manage and maintain the data center.
- On-premises private cloud desktops. Organizations that feel more comfortable with an on-premise private cloud deployment can use VMware Horizon View to deliver secure access to applications and data to any device.
- Hybrid cloud desktops. Organizations that require maximum flexibility to deploy both on-premises and off-premises virtual desktops can use a combination of Horizon DaaS and Horizon View to provide a seamless end-user experience across multiple clouds.
Grant says that customers buy capacity in a block, which can then be sliced up into individual desktops with CPU power, RAM and so forth configurable by IT according to the end user's needs.
The standard baseline configuration, which starts at $35 per desktop per month, should satisfy the needs of 80 percent of users, but it's easy to configure desktops to meet the needs of engineers and other end users that may require high-end graphics or additional processing power, Grant says .
Horizon DaaS will also be delivered by partners and will be compatible with other VMware-based cloud services. Horizon DaaS supports both Windows server and Remote Desktop Services (RDS) environments as well as full Windows Client Desktops. The VMware Horizon DaaS platform includes a secure multi-tenant broker and orchestrator, mobile and cloud-optimized Horizon View desktops and key components of VMware vSphere and vCenter.
VMware says it can be sold by partners the same way as on-premises VMware virtual desktops with a standard SKU, and partners can retain the billing relationship with customers. Additionally, cloud service providers can offer value-added services around the virtualized desktops.
"Customers want simple deployment and management of enterprise cloud desktops without the capital expense required to modernize their desktop infrastructure and VMware Horizon DaaS helps them achieve this," says Sam Gross, CTO of IT outsourcing specialist CompuCom. "VMware Horizon DaaS wrapped with additional solutions from CompuCom will enable customers to offload many of the desktop administration responsibilities for a truly hosted offering."
VMware says Horizon DaaS is immediately available through select channel partners and resellers in the U.S. and expects to expand the service globally later in the year.
Thor Olavsrud covers IT Security, Big Data, Open Source, Microsoft Tools and Servers for CIO.com. Follow Thor on Twitter @ThorOlavsrud. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn.