NetApp Virtual Desktop Managed Services: DaaS at Enterprise Scale

[Advanced, 7 minute read, VDI]

Imagine a world where almost everything we do is done in a new world, joining everyone in a strategically developed virtual game, much like Ready Player One. If we worked that way. If we played that way. If we shopped that way. If we even had happy hours and met up with friends in that virtual world. It’s a world of gamers and fantasy. That would be crazy. The thing science fiction is built on.

Wait…we kind of live in that virtual world now. We have worked, shopped, socialized, and lived virtually for the last several months. It has been a world of change - and for some, it’s been difficult. Online retail is now the norm for everything from butter to toilet paper. Our local supermarkets, drugstores, and megastores now sport barriers, and we social distance with masks to help stay healthy. We order food with contactless pickup. We schedule virtual happy hours with our friends from our living rooms, without the need for designated drivers to get us home safely. And, most importantly, we have learned to work, advance our careers, and provide for our families- all virtually. Even children are learning in a virtual or hybrid educational environment. That is our new normal.

Hi all. My name is Cathi Allen, one of NetApp’s new cloud team members. I, like you, work in that virtual world. Luckily, I have been responsible for technology solutions that enable remote work, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), cloud, and new types of end user computing (EUC) for many years; and now I get to leverage that experience at NetApp. We have been saying it is the ‘Year of VDI’ for so many years. Now, thanks to the world climate and the changes in how we work, most industry pundits agree that it finally is the ‘Year of VDI’, or at least the ‘Year of Remote Working’ and whatever other phrase you want to call it. It all rolls up to true digital transformation in how we work, don’t you agree?

And it’s not just about ‘us’…think about the companies we all work for. All our companies had to, quite literally, enable us all to work in this new digital, virtual world. Companies executed quick investigation and immediate remote workplace deployment to enable employees to work securely, productively, and effectively, all while keeping their most valuable resource, employees, healthy and safe. Some may have dabbled in the VDI world. Many have private and public cloud(s) environments for some time and may even have allowed people to occasionally work remotely. I do not think that anyone would have imagined a world where we would be a totally remote workforce, basically overnight. VDI is now the norm, whether using on-premises systems (private cloud), or the public cloud (in the form of Desktop-as-a-Service aka DaaS), or a combination of technologies across a multi-cloud world.

Virtual desktop environments are no longer limited to a few, lower-level users in an enterprise. Businesses are evolving their VDI usage to ‘tier one’ levels of deployment as this becomes the primary approach to end user computing (EUC). This means that literally thousands of users can be concentrated into a single cloud workspace – bringing the problems of ‘scale’ never seen in the EUC contest. Microsoft 365 is an example of what has become an enterprise class EUC workload that businesses rely on – and users have come to demand the ‘always on’ infrastructure that was once the domain of SAP, Oracle, etc.

We are proud to have announced NetApp’s Virtual Desktop Managed Services (VDMS) this week. VDMS is a turnkey, enterprise-class, managed solution for the customer’s end-to-end virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). VDMS leverages NetApp’s suite of Public Cloud Services to ensure the most secure, scalable, and stable enterprise cloud operating environment for global users, including NetApp’s Virtual Desktop Services (VDS), our enterprise-grade Cloud Volumes platform, SaaS Backup for Microsoft 365, and Cloud Insights.

Now businesses have an option to reduce the complexity of VDI provisioning, orchestration, and management by outsourcing these functions to NetApp. With VDMS, your software updates, data orchestration, resource allocation, workload movement can be managed for you by NetApp. Even better, VDMS does not require additional IT staff nor incremental cloud investment to operate. All it takes to get world-class, cloud-driven modern workplace solutions is to subscribe to VDMS for a simple and predictable per-user monthly fee.

Why is it important to include enterprise-class infrastructure and storage in our DaaS solutions? Many DaaS offerings are built on commodity components using software-defined storage (SDS), in traditional or HCI infrastructure. Those commodity-based architectures were built for the old ‘VDI as a backup’ mentality, not for the thousands of enterprise users accessing petabytes of data 24x7 – which is our new reality.

VDMS leverages NetApp’s Cloud Volumes platform for enterprise-class cloud storage, enabling environments to scale incrementally over time as you grow, or in a large, rapid migration. Cloud Volumes can support this level of scale, while delivering exceptional performance and productivity avoiding the common VDI traps of boot storms, login storms, and I/O based resource contention. And it can do so in a moment’s notice, not requiring long procurement, deployment, and orchestration of SDS environments. Even more so, Cloud Volumes is the type of resource built for high-availability and resiliency, ensuring that as you put data from literally thousands of users into a single place, you are confident that it’s secure, stable, and protected.

Why incorporate enterprise-class Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) backup capabilities? According to 451 Research, 52% of users do not backup their SaaS data because they think their SaaS provider or hyperscaler does it for them. While Microsoft 365 provides resilience against disaster in the hyperscaler’s environment, it’s the user’s responsibility to protect against user-induced data loss scenarios such as insider threats, administrative error, ransomware, or applications run amok. Businesses cannot afford losing mission-critical data, which these days includes their Exchange, SharePoint, or OneDrive for Business content, as a result of it not being backed up in the current DaaS or VDI environments.

VDMS includes SaaS Backup for Microsoft 365 environments as a standard component of the offering. There are no hidden fees to have this mission-critical data protected. SaaS Backup automatically schedules all your M365 backups, protecting you and your business from a variety of threats and errors.

Integrating our cloud data services with a DaaS offering in the form of our VDMS goes beyond existing DaaS solutions. It provides a complete modern workspace managed solution that integrates a comprehensive portfolio of NetApp Public Cloud Service assets on top of DaaS capabilities.

At NetApp, we recognize that security is only escalating as a business requirement. Embedded security within the VDMS solution spans user identity, anti-virus protection, multi-factor device authentication, server authentication, data files, databases, storage, profiles, as well as allowing for unique role-based-access configurations across both individuals, departments, and organizations.

To let you plan and manage your business more easily, VDMS is built on a “Pay-as-You-Grow” model, that empowers your business to scale you modern workspace resources in alignment with your cost structure. As a managed service, VDMS is a predictable operating expense that is driven strictly by the number of users.

Imagine a world-class, complete modern workspace solution being available to you for just a single monthly user fee. Imagine freeing up your IT resources from having to build and support your users with virtualized infrastructure and directing that towards other mission-critical tasks. VDMS brings the power of VDI and cloud-managed services to your business in a unified solution.

NetApp VDMS is truly DaaS at enterprise-scale!

Thank you all for taking this journey with me today. I look forward to bringing you along on many future journeys that are the things science fiction is made from. Have a great day, week, month, and year! Stay healthy and prosperous. The force be with you, always!

Please check out Enterprise Storage Group (ESG) & NetApp Insights: The New Connected Workforce webinar on December 8th at 8 am PST. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about modern workplace industry trends, understand more about the lasting impacts of COVID-19, and prepare for the future state of the connected workforce.

For additional information on VDMS, please see the new VDMS page on Cloud.NetApp.com.

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