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One of the biggest barriers to implementing virtualised desktops is the time, money and skills it takes to get the virtual desktop infrastructure up and running. For many companies, it’s a real turn-off. For others, it’s simply prohibitive.
At IP EXPO 2013, hosting company Adapt announced the availability of a service that executives at the company hope will persuade such companies to take the leap: Adapt Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS).
In the past, Adapt has worked with some large companies on VDI projects, so staff there are familiar with the technologies involved and the skills demanded. They realised that, by implementing and managing these technologies in-house, they could achieve economies of scale that would make it possible to deliver virtualised desktops as a pay-as-you-go cloud service to smaller organisations.
In particular, it’s looking to target companies that require fewer than around 300 to 400 desktops, says Kevin Linsell, Adapt’s head of service development. These, he says, are the companies that typically balk at the cost and effort involved of deploying their own VDI either in-house or on a hosting company’s premises.
Adapt’s DaaS solution is based on technology from Desktone, a company that was acquired by VMware the day before IP EXPO 2013 opened in mid-October. Adapt DaaS is delivered via Adapt’s Virtual Data Centre (eVDC) product and managed by its own staff through its real-time management portal (aMP).
The result, says Linsell, is a no-hassle approach to VDI that can be funded through a customer’s operational expenditure. “We take care of all the complexity behind the scenes - all that heavy-lifting is out of the way - so that all they need to worry about is building the business case and defining the end-user experience they want to achieve,” says Linsell.
Adapt can offer customers a Microsoft or Linux operating system for their desktops - although in practice, it’s always the former that customers enquire about. “It’s technically possible, and it’s a supported model that we offer, but we haven’t seen anyone seriously pursue that with us.”
In fact, it’s still early days for Adapt DaaS: right now, the company has a couple of early adopter customers going through a trial at the moment, but in fairness, it’s just a few weeks after the formal launch. But the Desktone technology is already used by customers that include NEC, Dell, Time Warner Cable and Fujitsu, many of which already use it to offer their own desktop-as-a-service offerings.
Adapt has identified other types of customers - or, at least, customer use cases - where it thinks its proposition will receive a fair hearing. These include companies trying to deliver a mobile, secure desktop to staff who are home-based or travelling frequently between different offices; those that have a lot of contract staff working in their operations, particularly offshored or outsourced employees; companies with complex networks of branch offices; and companies that take on a lot of extra, temporary staff at certain times of the year, such as holiday companies, retailers and tax accountants.
And because the new service is hosted in Adapt’s highly secure UK data centres, the company believes it’s well-positioned to answer customer enquiries about security and compliance. These data centres comply with some of today’s highest standards for information security, namely ISO 27001, 9001 and 20000-1, says Linsell. “For most organisations, but particularly those in financial services or those dealing with data that must meet stringent compliance regulations, any service like this must strike the right balance between working flexibility and data security.”