Implementing DaaS for project-critical workflows

Desktop as a service (DaaS), a relatively new buzzword for well-established technology… virtualisation. Microsoft have offered this functionality as part of their higher-tier products since the 70s, and with COVID-related changes promoting working-from-home over the traditional office environment, companies like Zoom and Frame are trying to capitalise on the fastest growing sector in 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 perspective rather an enterprise multinational.

DaaS aims to provide remote access to virtual desktop environments for a low-cost monthly fee and, these days, is aimed at a wide range of markets; from global corps to the average remote Joe, there’s a service out there for everyone. Sure, you’ll need a screen and method of interaction, so either a laptop or tablet or even a mobile phone, and of course a solid internet connection. But that’s it – you’re now renting a brand-new, high-spec, virtual computer. Fire up Chrome, login to your private DaaS session and voila, you’ll be presented with full-fat Windows 10 and various standardised apps like Adobe’s CC pre-installed.

So why DaaS at Red Nomad? On our travels we meet budding freelancers with stories to tell who don’t have access to traditional form-factor computers or the industry standard software we’ve come to expect. We generally process images as RAW > PSD, documents as PDF, audio at 48k WAV all uploaded and shared through Cloud infrastructure. It doesn’t sound difficult, but for many freelancers around the world having access to Photoshop and Audition just isn’t possible. But it is in ours, and whilst we could ignore interactions with those who don’t conform to industry expectations, we feel that is a grossly archaic mindset and are eager to use the tech available to disrupt the status quo.

Experience teaches us that our freelancers often have access to android tablets which got us thinking. Enter DaaS. DaaS allows someone with even a low-end device to log in to a pre-configured, high-end virtual desktop via their device browser, giving them immediate access to a virtual environment with software installed and ready to go. 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. Just imagine the possibilities.

And what of our budding freelancers around the world often living and working in countries without a consistent internet connection. Surprisingly, DaaS is still usable on a slower connection, we just wouldn’t be the first the recommend it. But we have tried and do use it in east Africa where there is very little chance of downloading a multi-gigabyte Adobe update using a local hook up. DaaS handles updates with ease because the physical location of your virtual desktop is situated in a data centre somewhere in the world 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 the global freelance market access to digital environments, software, and power they need to get their work done at a cost they can manage. This means no crippling upfront costs and the benefits that the pay-as-go model brings to the market. Not only does DaaS offer a level of redundancy never before seen at this scale, but also a glimpse of a future where we finally see an open market accessible to all, and in turn a desperate balancing between class divides around the world.