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Covid-19 Rapid Response: Workforce Virtualization and Ness Connected Labs

As the world settles in to a new coronavirus-mandated normal, enterprises must find ways to quickly enable their homebound employees to work remotely. Some existing solutions, such as leasing laptops or Device-as-a-Service (where a third party assumes the responsibility of deploying and managing the laptops) are non-starters because they require providing actual hardware that is in short supply. That leaves two virtualization alternatives: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) or Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS).

For VDI, a centralized server within the enterprise’s data center hosts a number of virtual desktops that run within Virtual Machines (VM’s). Each user remotely connects to one of these virtual desktops (using their laptop, broadband and a secure login), and can then access all applications and data as if they were running them locally. The cost of this service typically includes the hardware to run the VM’s, as well as a licensing fee for the VM hypervisors and the client desktop software. It’s useful when applications and data need to remain on-prem, or when the enterprise needs to maintain complete control over patches and versions.

Desktop-as-a-Service, like VDI, implements virtualization, but the VM’s are hosted by a Cloud provider, and can access any applications and data that are hosted in the Cloud. Pricing is typically based on a monthly subscription fee model.

Some advantages of DaaS over VDI:

  • Scalability: You can scale up usage during the upcoming work-from-home months without having to buy any new hardware or software licenses, then scale back down when business returns to normal.
  • Business continuity: Your DaaS provider takes responsibility for software patch management and hardware issues.
  • Cost: The infrastructure is managed by the Cloud provider rather than the enterprise’s IT department, and you only pay for what you use.

Despite these advantages, DasS deployment has historically been lower than VDI adoption in large enterprises, mainly due to security or regulatory restrictions over hosting sensitive data on the Cloud.

The bottom line when thinking how best to get your house-bound team back to work in your virtual office: If you already have your applications plus data in the Cloud, or if you could easily port (some of) these applications plus data to the Cloud, then DaaS is a great solution. Otherwise, you should investigate implementing VDI.

At Ness Connected Labs, our innovation incubator, we have put together a variety of solutions that deliver Business As Usual connectivity while maintaining enterprise-grade security, by leveraging DaaS platforms like AWS Workspaces. Based on this, Ness is helping customers ramp up secure, managed and fully monitored remote access virtual workspaces.