A “short” 20 years ago, I first stepped foot into my dorm room as a college freshman. The technological world was a different place in the 90’s. The internet was up and coming, and at home we used our telephone lines (say what now?) to connect to the internet. 56K was where it was at. That’s right – a whopping 0.007 megabytes per second for those that don’t want to break out the calculator. Screaming fast compared to previous modem options.
When I walked into that dorm, one of the first things I noticed was that little RJ45 jack mounted on the wall. That little jack provided internet access via a T1 line (on a completely unfirewalled class B IP address!). That’s a 1.5Mb/s internet connection, shared amongst a couple thousand students. Game changer. MP3’s, photos, videos, etc, could be downloaded in a matter of minutes, not a matter of hours.
Fast forward 20 years, things have a changed a bit. Instant gratification is the name of the game. The lowest internet speed I can get from my internet provider to my home is 100Mb. I can stream entire movies in high definition, entire albums, and download software all without having to go to a store to physically purchase it. Today’s world depends very heavily on the internet, which means technology moves at the speed of light. Speaking of the speed of light, fiber was just laid in my neighborhood, and soon we’ll all have a nice fat synchronous gigabit pipe (or more) coming into our house. Crazy.
While increased bandwidth has allowed for quick strides in home entertainment, communication, collaboration, etc, it’s also affected businesses both big and small. Everyone has heard of the cloud – you know, that mysterious place in the sky where software magically exists. On-premise IT infrastructure has become less and less common, especially in small businesses. Email, file storage, business applications, etc all exist in the cloud thanks to that big fat internet pipe which allows you to pass more data between your office and the internet. Many small businesses can say goodbye to on-premise servers which equals large capital expenditures.
What is DaaS?
What hasn’t changed much over the course of decades, is the requirement to have a laptop or workstation for every employee in your company. New employee? Purchase a laptop or workstation. Laptop or workstation having issues and out of warranty? Buy a new one. Along with the upfront expense comes costly maintenance as well.
With everything moving to the cloud, why have desktops been left behind? Mainly due to performance and bandwidth requirements, but this is changing rapidly. Many companies are moving toward an almost completely virtual infrastructure, including desktops. This is thanks to “DaaS” – Desktop as a Service. DaaS provides a completely virtualized, cloud-hosted desktop that is available from any internet-connected device. Users can access their personal desktop via a thin client in an office, a tablet at home, or even their smartphone. These virtual desktops are maintained completely by a service provider, paid for by the customer in a predictable and scalable manner.
Will DaaS Work for my Small Business?
The reason DaaS hasn’t caught on as fast as other cloud technologies, is mainly due to performance requirements. In the past, passing all your data over the internet from a cloud hosted machine to your local screen wasn’t feasible, especially for graphics-intensive applications. There were also operating system licensing issues, which as a result didn’t make it cost effective to host a true desktop operating system in the cloud. This is rapidly changing from a licensing perspective, and in general. DaaS is a very feasible option for many small businesses today, and we will likely see an end to on-premise laptop/desktop computers in the relatively near future.
How Can I Find Out More?
If you’re interested in finding out more about DaaS and whether or not it might be a good fit for your small business, please contact us. We’re always excited to talk about the latest and greatest in technology.