SaaS, DaaS, and VDI – What are Their Differences?
Keeping up with technology can sometimes feel like staring into a bowl of alphabet soup. Some acronyms, like PC, USB, and AI, have become so ubiquitous that we don’t even think about it, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. We’re here to revisit some key TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) that have recently resurfaced in the industry, so that you can spend less time thinking “WTF!?” and more time on “IKR?!”
What is SaaS? Is it Like DaaS?
Very similar to the DaaS acronym – Desktop As A Service – SaaS is “Software As A Service.” For SaaS, think of programs that you probably might use pretty often: Microsoft Office, Zoom, Salesforce, Adobe Creative Cloud, most antivirus software, etc. How SaaS works is that basically, customers pay a recurring subscription fee in exchange for access to and regular updates for an application or software suite. Instead of the old way where companies would ship a new release every couple years and then customers would have to buy it, download it (or pop in the disk), and install it fresh… software providers can now iterate faster and push out automatic updates, all while guaranteeing themselves a reliable source of recurring revenue. Many SaaS applications are also hosted in the Cloud. Not only does this allow users to access it from any device at any location, but it also simplifies the software maintenance lifecycle and takes some burden off of IT staff.
What is DaaS? Is it Like SaaS?
Like SaaS, DaaS offers something “as a service.” Specifically, DaaS offers Desktop As A Service. With DaaS, it takes the fully managed and subscription aspects of SaaS and applies it to the entire desktop, from provisioning the underlying hardware, to desktop operating system, to full lifecycle software management. Essentially, this means that instead of buying physical desktops consisting of physical hardware and desktop operating systems, as well as hiring professionals to manage them, organizations are instead paying for access to the service of fully functional desktops. While it’s possible for DaaS to be an entirely local platform, many DaaS providers use Cloud Services to provide their users with a virtual desktop. This means that instead of having programs, data, and operating systems running on the user’s local hardware, the user instead connects to their virtual desktop via a network connection that provides an entire desktop experience to the user over the internet. The virtual desktop can be accessed freely from varying types of devices, including Thin Clients, Tablets, and Laptops. DaaS is highly scalable and takes an agile and modern approach to today’s corporate computing environment, particularly for decentralized, remote and/or hybrid workforces.
What is VDI and What is the Difference Between it and DaaS?
VDI is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. The main factor that distinguishes DaaS and VDI technologies is who is responsible for what. In particular, where DaaS leverages Cloud infrastructure and is typically priced based on consumption, VDI on the other hand, typically requires underlying server infrastructure to host the services, applications, desktops, and data required for user consumption. With VDI, your organization’s IT staff is responsible for hosting the services, configuring the software and settings, and making sure that users have the services, applications, desktops, and data they need to get their jobs done. Organizations will host the virtual desktops in an on-premises server, on a Cloud instance, or using a hybrid configuration. While this means more responsibility on their shoulders, it also means more control in their hands. DaaS, on the other hand, shifts the burden onto the Cloud Service Provider. VDI offers predictable costs, scalability, and the ability to easily provision desktops, applications, services, and data to users. Focusing more on the price structure, VDI is a larger upfront investment because you need to buy the physical hardware, software, licenses, and dedicate resources to setting it up. However, over the long term, it may save money when compared to paying an endless recurring subscription fee for DaaS. Exactly like DaaS, VDI can be accessed freely from varying types of devices, including Thin Clients, tablets and laptops.
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