With DaaS, the focus for many now is balancing simplicity, experience and cost.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

October 20, 2023

20 Slides

Desktop as a Service (DaaS) providers have had to adjust to changing customer demands and expectations that began during the COVID-19 pandemic and continue today.

The rise of remote work and the need for flexible work arrangements have been big drivers for the DaaS market. DaaS solutions allow employees to access their virtual desktops and applications from anywhere, accommodating remote work experiences.

Our latest CF20 focuses on DaaS providers. This is our first CF20 list highlighting DaaS providers. Analysts with Omdia, Forrester and S&P Global Market Intelligence weigh in on the latest DaaS market trends and what it takes to be a successful provider.

According to Custom Market Insights, the global DaaS market should grow from nearly $6.2 billion in 2023 to $18.7 billion by 2032, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21%.

Expectations of DaaS Providers

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Forrester’s Will McKeon-White

Will McKeon-White, senior analyst with Forrester, said the focus for many now is balancing simplicity, experience and cost.

“Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environments as a whole are straightforward to manage when the environment is static,” he said. “The pandemic forced organizations to move to dynamic environments, which DaaS and cloud VDI lent itself well to. However this often proved to be much more variable in cost, as it forced customer to adjust to a variable consumption model, pay for what you use instead of pay for a limit. The result is organizations have to not only manage VDI more, but continuously try to optimize their environment without tanking the environment. Its an extremely tricky balance to walk, but exacerbating this is all the solutions that make it easy to manage can cost three to four times more per user.”

Customers increasingly expect cloud-hosted, easy-to-manage VDI that improves on the security of their existing environment and saves them money, McKeon-White said.

“We’ve yet to see a single solution take the lead in this,” he said.

Fundamental Drivers Remain

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S&P Global Intelligence’s Eric Hanselman

Eric Hanselman, principal research analyst at 451 Research, a part of S&P Global Market Intelligence, said hybrid work is here to stay and the need for DaaS isn’t going away anytime soon.

“The requirements have evolved, but the fundamental drivers remain,” he said. “Whether it’s a security need for a managed execution environment for applications or a protected workspace for sensitive data, virtual desktops are a useful way to address them. DaaS is an effective way to gain access to virtual desktop benefits without the need to build out VDI infrastructure. The cost of deployment for VDI has been a limitation, historically. There has been growing acceptance of off-premises desktop hosting, as enterprise understanding of the security models involved have matured.”

Managed desktops can be an effective way to secure the use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools while limiting the possibility that sensitive information is exposed, Hanselman said.

“If the desktop is isolated from sensitive information, there’s greater certainty that sensitive data isn’t included in prompts,” he said.

What Successful DaaS Providers Recognized

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Omdia’s Roy Illsley

Roy Illsley, chief analyst for IT operations with Omdia, which shares a parent company with Channel Futures (Informa), said DaaS was pre-pandemic seen as a way to simplify the management of the desktop PCs, applications and operating systems.

“This was back when we were mostly office based with a small percentage of mobile and home workers,” he said. “The pandemic bought the challenge of all the office-based staff being remote, and hence we saw DaaS become a popular solution to dealing with the complexity. However, the most important lesson from the pandemic was the desktop is not what it used to be. Fewer apps are installed on the device as most apps are SaaS-based. The successful DaaS providers recognized the shift and identified the value proposition of DaaS was more than simplification of the management. It was about making the workspace (how people now see what we used to call the desktop) fit for purpose in a world where staff are more mobile, home and office, and have less definition between personal and business life. The use of streaming services for business and in personal life has exploded, and the endpoint (laptop, mobile, desktop or thin client) has become a window to many worlds.”

We’ve compiled a list in slideshow above, in no particular order, of 20 top DaaS providers. It’s based on analysts’ feedback and recent news reports. The list, by no means complete, includes a mix of well-known providers as well as lesser-known ones making strides in DaaS.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Edward Gately or connect with him on LinkedIn.

About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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