List of Specifics of a DaaS Solution
In this post, we will outline some specifics of a DaaS Solution so that your purchase decision becomes a lot easier. Please note that these factors are in no chronological order and the weightage of each factor will depend on each individual company prospecting for a DaaS Solution.
Just like your physical desktop, a Virtual Desktop (VD) also has technical specs. These specs will include the processing speed, RAM and virtual storage for each VD. Each organization should first compute the desirable specs for its VDs and then start prospecting for the DaaS Provider that offers VDs with those specs.
On the virtual environment, the type of storage solution will greatly impact the VD’s overall performance. Each company must clarify whether the virtual drives are created on HDD, SSD or Ultra SSD. This factor will determine the overall efficiency of the DaaS Solution.
As DaaS is a cloud based solution, the service provider’s overall network bandwidth will be important. What’s more important is that how will the Cloud Service Provider’s (CSP) network perform at peak hours. The prospecting company will also have to consider the adequacy of its own in house network capabilities for overall performance.
Scalability of the Solution
There are two key aspects of scalability. Firstly, how quickly and conveniently can new VDs be deployed or decommissioned. Will the CSP offer the cloud tenant some VD management interface. These aspects need to be clarified beforehand.
Another aspect of scalability of the solution is post VD deployment. In a lot of cases, a cloud tenant may want to upgrade the technical specs of its VDs to achieve better performance or handle more processor intensive tasks. Will the CSP provide this option to the company is an important question?
Mostly, the end users of VDs have little I.T knowledge. Customer Support is a key aspect of the solution as issues are bound to arise. The cloud tenant must clarify from the CSP whether round the clock customer support is available. Secondly, this support should be available across multiple media such as phone, email or video call etc.
Virtualization of Applications
A VD in its simplest form is of little use. Most cloud tenants will also need virtualized productivity applications to execute their day to day tasks. Does the CSP offer app virtualization and if so, what is the pricing mechanism for these apps. Another aspect of such apps is whether they are properly licensed from the source company.
Security and User Authentication
In a DaaS solution, the business critical data of a company will reside in the data center of the CSP. It is important to clarify about all the physical and cyber security measures that are in place for the CSP’s data center. Some additional aspects to clarify are data encryption, firewalls and user authentication.
In the absence of user authentication protocols, the data of any cloud tenant is highly vulnerable to deletion, theft or unauthorized access. It is imperative that there are elaborate user authentication mechanisms installed by the CSP so that a cloud tenant has peace of mind about its critical data over the cloud.
A host of factors will collectively impact the overall lag or latency in the VD environment. Although each VD infrastructure will definitely carry some degree of lag, what’s important is to ascertain that would the network lag be in line with the expectations of the solution employing company.
Some of the factors that need to be clarified in-depth from the CSP are its bandwidth, storage type and VD RAM. It is also important to note that the network health of the cloud tenant will also be an important factor for the overall performance of the DaaS solution.
Most cloud tenants would be more than happy to compromise graphics quality in favor of better speed. However, this may not apply to all companies prospecting for a DaaS solution. Superior graphics quality and GPU intensive tasks may be a requisite for some DaaS employing organizations. This issue also needs serious thought.
Data Center Proximity
When selecting among DaaS providers, the prospecting entity must also consider the physical proximity from the service provider’s data center. This factor will greatly impact the overall performance of the DaaS solution. Proper disclosure of the data center’s location will also give additional peace of mind to the cloud tenant.
Flexibility of Pricing Plans
CSPs may flex their pricing mechanism for a good client. Two key factors that will put the cloud tenant in a strong negotiating position are the scale of the DaaS solution and its planned timeframe. Generally, pricing of the DaaS solution is inversely proportional to both the above factors.
Uptime is the availability duration of VDs to the end user. Although the desired uptime for any DaaS solution is 100% but this is not practically possible. CSPs have to perform certain upgrades and troubleshoot problems for which the service may remain suspended and the VD may not be available to the end user.
Each cloud tenant must seek the estimated uptime for the DaaS solution from the CSP. The closer this figure is to a 100%, the better. Market leaders boast an uptime of over 99% as they have a large support infrastructure. Lastly, the claimed uptime must be clearly jotted down in the Service Level Agreement (SLA) which is covered in the end.
Disaster Recovery (DR) and Business Continuity (BC)
Both factors are extremely vital for the cloud tenant organization because unforeseen disruptions can never be completely ruled out. What needs to be thoroughly clarified is that whether the solution provider offers a robust disaster recovery and business continuity plan.
Even if a DR and BC mechanism is in place, what will be the estimated timeline for the DR site to become functional? Another aspect of this plan will be the level of functionality that will be offered to the VD end user during the BC phase. The cloud tenant will have to ascertain whether the reduced functionality meets their minimum needs.
Persistent v/s Non-Persistent
This should also be an important consideration before selecting a solution provider. In a persistent VD, all the user’s personal preferences will remain intact till the next login. If the VD is non-persistent, a different VD would be served to the end user in its basic form, on any subsequent login.
The cloud tenant should first consider which form of VD is best suited to its needs. From the standpoint of end user experience, the persistent model is much more preferable. The downside however is that these take up additional storage and may cost more.
The availability or otherwise of a sound data backup plan must be considered before finalizing a DaaS provider. If a company goes for a DaaS solution that does not offer backup, it would be compelled to maintain in house backup of its business critical data.
The preferable option is that the CSP should incorporate a robust data backup plan in its DaaS solution. This will absolve the cloud tenant from the hassle of maintaining dedicated hardware for backups. The modalities of data backup plan should also be an integral part of the SLA.
Service Level Agreement (SLA)
Perhaps this is the most critical aspect before finalizing any DaaS solution with a Cloud Service Provider (CSP). Here are some of the key aspects to consider about the all-important SLA.
- It should clearly state all the agreed aspects of the service in complete detail.
- All details such as technical specs, figures and timelines must be clearly jotted down in the SLA.
- SLA should clearly outline all the responsibilities of the DaaS provider.
- Detailed pricing of each and every service should be clearly stated in the SLA.
- The language and drafting of the SLA should be simple and clear.
Once a draft outline of the SLA has been prepared, the cloud tenant should thoroughly review the SLA and verify that all the pertinent details are part of the agreement. Any additional items that need clarification must be sorted out before committing to the SLA.
The time and effort that goes into the SLA will go a long way to safeguard the best interests of the company going for the DaaS solution. The time, effort and hassle that goes into finalizing a DaaS solution is way too much to go back to the drawing board every now and then.