As desktop as a service (DaaS) continues to mature as a potential option for enterprises, service providers are attempting to automate and optimise their DaaS offerings, which officials at Citrix say will ultimately lead to lower costs and more choices for end users.
DaaS is a cloud-based compute platform that allows businesses to easily manage a suite of desktops that are used by employees. Today, Citrix announced three updates to its platform that service providers use to create DaaS offerings for end users.
One of the new features is an app orchestration technology that allows service providers to automate the design, configuration, maintenance and launch of cloud services through a single console.
"Basically, they can manage more customers with less effort," says Calvin Hsu, a senior director of product marketing at Citrix. Traditionally, many providers have to manually configure various aspects of a DaaS offering, such as how much compute power, memory and which applications are installed on the desktops.
Automating this process through a console allows service providers to customise DaaS offerings for specific industries or clients, which Hsu says can lead to more tailored projects for specific end users.
A second feature is what Citrix dubs seamless app technology, which optimises the delivery of local desktops being delivered through a cloud-based interface. This allows users to have one desktop that displays both cloud-based applications and those from a local or home desktop. For example, a home version of an application can now be displayed on the user's work desktop, alongside applications that are hosted in the cloud.
The third feature optimises DaaS offerings for touchscreen devices, including tablets. The software converts features of a Windows 7 desktop, for example, that are meant to be used with a mouse into larger icon displays that are touch-friendly.
For enterprises considering a DaaS offering, Hsu says it's important to look for service providers that offer more than just hosting a few applications in the cloud. Many providers, he says, offer hosting of specific applications that can be accessed via cloud-based offering. Other providers though, will provide desktops that include not only applications, but compute power as well.
"If all the provider is doing is hosting an application, that's not necessarily a real strategic partnership with the customer," Hsu says. "DaaS is a complete workspace environment."
Citrix announced the new features today, but they should be publicly available by the end of the month.