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DaaS hasn't found a place in the enterprise

DENVER — Considering all the attention desktop as a service has gotten in the IT world over the last year, the technology has been a big failure.

That’s what Brian Madden said in his welcome address at this week’s BriForum U.S. 2015. According to Madden, desktop as a service (DaaS) has gotten a lot of lip service, but no one is really doing it.

At first I was surprised to hear him say that DaaS just hasn’t taken off, but when I thought about it, it made sense.

You could argue that VDI hasn’t really taken off either. VDI might never crack a 20% adoption rate, and it would be logical to assume that DaaS will see similar rates. VDI has been around a long time, so you have to consider that any shop where desktop virtualization was the answer to a big problem would likely have rolled out a deployment by now.

Mark DeBord, a senior systems analyst for Eastman Chemical Company based in Kingsport, Tennessee, heads up a shop where VDI was the answer, so he’s not itching to do DaaS.

“We already do VDI on-premises, so I’m not sure [DaaS] would really do us much good,” he said.

But that hasn’t stopped management from putting heat on DeBord to move desktops and applications to the cloud.

“I’m getting a lot of pressure at work to use DaaS,” he said. “During my review, my manager actually asked me why I haven’t been looking into it more.”

But moving resources to the cloud just for the sake of joining the cloud trend isn’t a good enough reason to do DaaS. Eastman’s existing VDI setup works for its global workforce, and shifting to DaaS could result in a lot of money wasted on a thriving deployment.

“I have an open mind about it,” DeBord said. “Maybe I could use [DaaS] for disaster recovery or to support outside contractors or for cloud bursting.”

For some companies, DaaS may never be the answer to their employees’ needs. But as Madden said in his keynote, there are plenty of other rapidly advancing technologies available to help IT make its end users more mobile, virtual and productive: There has been a new focus from vendors on integrating cloud and on-premises infrastructure, as well as improved support for Remote Desktop Session Host. And virtual mobile infrastructure has the potential to find a home in enterprise IT shops, too.

Do you agree that DaaS hasn’t taken off? Has your organization deployed cloud desktops? Share in the comments.