A new survey of IT service providers suggests that in the age of the cloud demand for desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) is finally set to take off.
The survey of more 500 service providers that use software from Citrix finds that 71 percent of them expect revenue growth in this service category in the coming year, and more than half (52 percent) expect that growth to range between 16 and 50 percent. Another 17 percent expect revenue growth to be over 50 percent.
In addition, 49 percent of respondents said they will be adding more DaaS services to their portfolio. That ranks ahead of both mobile device management at 34 percent and professional services at 31 percent.
Changing the way DaaS is delivered
There is, however, a significant shift underway in terms of how those services will be delivered. A full 79 percent currently use their own data center or a hosting provider to deliver their service. But only 50 percent expect they will continue to do so for the next 12 months. Plus, only 21 percent of those service providers are making use of the public cloud to deliver services today, but a full 50 percent expect they will be doing do a year from now.
That shift should set off a frenzy among cloud service providers that are looking to gain that business. Whether the shift to the cloud will result in any changes to the hypervisor that service providers rely on most remains to be seen. But, 66 percent say they primarily rely on VMware, followed by Microsoft Hyper-V at 19 percent, and XenServer at 13 percent. That would suggest that cloud service providers that support VMware hypervisors have the inside track when it comes to hosting DaaS offerings.
The real challenge, of course, is going to be getting end customers to actually shift desktops into the cloud. In addition to significant inertia that needs to be overcome inside internal IT organizations, many still have security concerns about all things cloud. However, the arrival of Windows 10 will convince many customers of the merits of treating an operating system like a service. As they get comfortable with that concept, many more will want to apply that approach to the entire desktop environment. After all, it should free up some IT resources to be applied in more critical areas.
Of course, while the DaaS market may finally be poised to become an overnight sensation that has been 10 years in the making, the number of IT service providers with the expertise required to manage increasingly diverse desktop environments remains relatively small. The good news is that the cost of capital associated with delivering DaaS continues to drop in the age of the cloud, so the number of service providers that can afford to compete in this space should increase substantially in the year ahead. What impact that will have on the pricing of those services is still unknown, but the one thing that service providers can count on is that the nature of that competition will be increasingly fierce.