Implementing DaaS for project-critical workflows

Desktop as a service (DaaS) is a relatively new buzzword for a well-established technology – desktop virtualisation. Microsoft (amongst many others) have offered this valuable functionality as part of their higher-tier products since the 70s, and with Covid-related changes pushing ‘working from home’ over the traditional office environment, software companies such as Zoom and Frame are trying to capitalise on possibly the fastest growing sector within tech this decade. Perhaps now is the time to explore the plausibility of employing DaaS over traditional technologies? It’s worth noting we’re approaching this from a regular remote worker’s perpective rather an enterprise multinational. And let’s get something out the way off-the-bat – DaaS works great if you have a stable and fast internet connection. Seriously, it’s that black and white.

DaaS aims to provide access to a virtual desktop environment for a low monthly fee and (these days) is aimed at a wide range of markets; from enterprise-level global corporations to the average remote worker there’s a service out there for pretty much everyone. You’ll need a screen and method of interaction, so either tablet or mobile phone (we wouldn’t recommend mobile, though) or a computer monitor with keyboard and mouse. You’ll also need access to the internet. And that’s it – you’re now renting a brand new virtual computer. The immediate plus points are you haven’t just spent 1500 euros on a new laptop, you don’t need to set up and install any new software just yet, and all software updates are handled fast and efficiently. For most people we’d imagine a large tablet would do nicely paired with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. Fire up Chrome, login to your private DaaS session and voila, you’ll be presented with a full-fat Windows 10 desktop and various standard apps like Adobe’s CC pre-installed. Yes, you’ll need an Adobe license to open them up but the point is it’s all preinstalled and updated for you, and did I forget to say YOU’RE INTERACTING THROUGH A BROWSER?!! FROM ANY TABLET???!!!

So why DaaS at Red Nomad? We meet budding freelancers with stories to tell who don’t have access to traditional form-factor computers, and when they do they don’t have access to the industry standard software we’ve come to expect. We generally process images as PSD, documents as print PDF, and audio at 48k WAV all uploaded and shared from the Cloud. It doesn’t sound difficult but for many freelancers around the world having access to Photoshop and Audition just isn’t possible in their circumstances. But it is in ours. Whilst we could ignore interactions with those who don’t conform to industry expectations, we feel that is a grossly archaic mindset and are happy to disrupt the status quo. Experience teaches us that our freelancers often have access to android tablets, and that got us thinking. Enter DaaS. DaaS allows someone with even a low-end tablet to log in to a pre-configured virtual desktop via their tablet’s browser, giving them access to a standard Windows environment with software ready to go. Think of it as a streaming service and the DaaS desktop is the streamer – you, the user, fire up a browser, enter your unique DaaS session URL and login to your desktop. Not only can you then see a standard Windows desktop but you can interact with it, too, like a normal PC. Need OSX or Linux? No problem. Need Windows 10 Home or Pro? Easy. Need Adobe’s CC suite ready to go? Just buy a license code, the software’s already installed and updated. Speaking of which, software updates – the bane of our existence when volunteering in Africa for iNGOS. Every week Adobe seem to want to roll out another ten updates that take literally weeks to download if they download at all. DaaS handles updates with ease because the physical server that your shiny virtual computer is running on is located in a data centre somewhere with tier 1 internet access. You can run all the updates you want and they’ll take mere minutes to complete whilst you concentrate on actual work.

The future of DaaS seemingly offers a global freelance market access to the digital environments, software, and power they need to get their work done at a cost they can manage. This means no massive upfront layout and the availability of pay-as-go models. Not only does DaaS offer a level of redundancy never seen at this scale but a much-needed balance between class divides around the world, and, in turn, their ability to attract work.