DaaS or PaaS … or Both in One Package?

IndependenceIT recently announced that it has partnered with Verio to offer Desktop as a Service (DaaS) to the small/medium business market. While the announcement may not have caught your eye at first, there are some interesting undertones to this offering.

First, Verio was ranked #12 in Talkin’ Cloud’s Top 100 Service Providers list for 2012 (the 2013 rankings have not yet been released). Thus, Verio is a major player in the cloud industry, and one to watch.

The Cloud Workspace

More importantly, independenceIT has built its desktop virtualization business on its easy-to-use Cloud Workspace offering. While independenceIT describes itself as a DaaS provider, its offering is actually a combination of DaaS and PaaS (Platform as a Service); it effectively does both. It’s a one-stop shop for addressing the IT needs of small companies—i.e., those with fewer than three hundred users.

Cloud Workspace competes with vendors such as Citrix and Desktone, but not on the same scale. The independenceIT solution is targeted at and prepackaged to service small businesses. There aren’t a lot of options or customizations that can be incorporated, which keeps the configuration simple. It’s clear that independenceIT has defined its niche market as small businesses and aims precisely to address the needs of users in that space.

A Simple Administrative Interface

It’s refreshing to see that the independenceIT developers “get it” in terms of administrative interface. It has established an administrative interface that is easy to use and provides functionality that doesn’t require a new administrator to take extensive training. With just a few clicks, the administrator can absorb an existing AD structure, provision new users, select applications, and generate virtual desktops. All that’s left is to provide the initial login information to the user so that the new virtual desktop can be accessed, complete with email and business applications.

IndependenceIT has hundreds of applications that are predefined and available from a dropdown. After required applications are selected, they are automatically added to the virtual desktop. It’s that simple! If other applications are required, independenceIT will incorporate them upon request based on a five-day SLA.

Traditional Desktop Virtualization

Traditionally, barriers to success for desktop virtualization have included complexity as well as a multitude of moving parts. For those implementations comprised of multiple vendors and products, components include the hypervisor, storage, desktop virtualization vendor platform, provisioning mechanism, and much more. In these traditional virtual desktop deployments, multiple vendors and products demand that administrators learn and maintain a variety of technologies. IndependenceIT has succeeded in simplifying desktop virtualization to the extent that the full set of components is entirely incorporated into the unified platform and desktop.

Conclusion: DaaS or Paas?

Being known as a DaaS servicer provides more eye candy in the marketplace in comparison to the notoriety of PaaS providers, but independenceIT is cutting itself short by not outwardly claiming both. On first pass, it’s easy to assume that it’s just another DaaS provider, but that’s certainly not the case. IndependenceIT is indeed both a DaaS and a PaaS solution.

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