Remote Windows apps and desktops as a service are getting cheaper and easier to provide.
Desktop as a service, or DaaS, is the perfect pairing for Chromebooks, MacBooks and even iPads, which are all becoming more mature endpoints in their own right.
The result is these two trends can come together and allow organizations to offer users more diverse endpoint device options.
What's changing to enable this?
The idea of using app and desktop remoting to enable non-Windows endpoints certainly isn't new. This has always been a central tenet of remote computing. Specifically, the idea of combining VDI or DaaS with Chromebooks has been the subject of several partnership announcements.
Today, however, there are several trends that are injecting new life into this idea.
First, DaaS is more viable than ever. DaaS itself takes the benefits of VDI and remote apps and offloads the infrastructure and hosting to a service provider. This brings a range of benefits, especially the ability to get into desktop virtualization without the big upfront costs of traditional VDI and the ability to scale deployments linearly.
The announcement of Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop has accelerated the DaaS market. Microsoft has made its biggest gesture ever in support of desktop virtualization, and the licensing terms for Windows Virtual Desktop encourage almost any organization to give it a try.
Second, non-Windows endpoints are maturing. IT can now manage Chromebooks through unified endpoint management (UEM) platforms, such as VMware Workspace One and Citrix Endpoint Management, and hardware OEMs are offering new business-grade devices under the Chromebook Enterprise program.
The MacBook management space is growing rapidly, as well, and the expansion of mobile device management APIs in macOS make it easier for established mobile device management teams to start managing Macs, too. The multitasking features in the new iPadOS make iPads attractive for some users, and dealing with iPads is no problem for established mobility teams.
Third, as organizations adopt more SaaS apps, they will be less tied to Windows clients. Many SaaS apps emphasize support for diverse client platforms, with support for HTML5, Apple iOS and macOS, and Google Android clients, in addition to Windows clients. Microsoft Office has especially strong support for mobile devices, and the Office clients for macOS are now available in the Mac App Store.
To go along with these trends, UEM products from VMware and Citrix are integrated with their respective desktop virtualization products, enabling the concept on any type of device.
Finally, some organizations are paying more attention to end-user computing products as part of efforts to emphasize employee experience. Giving users a choice of their preferred endpoints can be a big part of this.
The time is right for diverse endpoints
In the past, an IT department may not have gone to the trouble of publishing remote Windows desktops and apps simply so a user could choose a different type of laptop or tablet. Even when they did, some shops thought in terms of paving over the native Mac, Chromebook or iPad experience with a full remote desktop.
But, today, once organizations adopt mobile management, it's easier than ever to support diverse devices. And remote Windows app delivery is also getting easier, thanks to DaaS.
Organizations will have to take a careful look at their strategies to see what makes sense for them. No matter what, now is a good time to have that discussion.