Delivering the Promise of the Cloud: Desktop as a Service

By Anthony Foster, EMC Global Solutions, and Chhandomay Mandal, XtremIO Solutions Marketing

Today at VMware Partner Exchange 2015, (PEX), EMC and VMware together said that they plan to offer a Desktop as a Service (DaaS) Reference Architecture (RA) that will be available soon. The “EMC Desktop as a Service with EMC XtremIO All-Flash Array for VMware Horizon DaaS” RA shows the transformational DaaS  solution from the combination of VMware Horizon DaaS Platform and EMC XtremIO All-Flash Array to deliver rapid deployment of DaaS environments while realizing increased operational efficiencies.

This RA demonstrates the ongoing commitment of both EMC and VMware to deliver the most flexible and agile solutions for cloud-based desktops.  It enables service providers (SPs) and organizations both large and small to take advantage of top of the line cloud-based desktops tailored to their needs and their budgets.

The RA helps SPs gain time to market efficiency with unmatched scalability and performance for new product and service levels that expand the DaaS market to even the most demanding enterprise knowledge worker desktops. For DaaS consumer organizations, they can respond with new agility to their changing end user computing demands. Perhaps most importantly, for end users, they can now connect to their desktops from any browser on any of their devices, and be productive from anywhere with unmatched user experience.

DaaS Platform: VMware Horizon DaaS

VMware Horizon DaaS simplifies desktops and applications delivery by removing the complexity of deploying and managing desktop virtualization infrastructure. It is possible to deliver cloud-hosted virtual desktops and RDS-hosted shared desktops and applications to end users with just a few clicks!

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By moving to cloud-hosted virtual desktops, costs become more predictable by reducing upfront expenditures. This allows organizations to move from a CapEx to OpEx model for desktops, making a clear impact on the bottom line.

VMware Horizon DaaS provides integrated security and control. IT can manage virtual desktop and hosted application security just like they manage their existing infrastructure today, with the same credentials and permissions. With built-in security capabilities like secure point-to-point network connectivity, and dedicated compute and network isolation, IT can have the confidence that their corporate data and applications are secure.

DaaS Infrastructure: XtremIO for Desktops, VNX/Isilon for User Data

The #1 XtremIO All-Flash array, with its scale-out architecture and always-on inline deduplication, compression and copy services, is the core building block of the EMC DaaS solution. The scale-out architecture reduces planning complexity – the DaaS providers can start small and grow non-disruptively as the demand increases. It delivers high performance with consistently low response time, delivering uncompromising user experience – at scale, all the time, and for all user types.

EMC DaaS with XtremIO solution is not only powerful but also simple to use from the ground up.  XtremIO delivers radically simple administrative experience – intuitive, easy-to-use interface and zero tuning enables smooth roll-outs as well as live upgrades, patches, and rollback for desktops.

XtremIO’s exceptional performance, capacity savings from unique data reduction capabilities and ease of use lead to low $/desktop and breakthrough total cost of ownership in the DaaS environments.

The RA design supports the XtremIO Starter X-Brick up to a six X-Brick cluster (each active-active dual controller X-Brick is the building block of XtremIO storage.) The Starter X-Brick can support up to 1,250 full-clone virtual desktops which can be upgraded with zero downtime to a full X-Brick supporting up to 2,500 full-clone virtual desktops. Additional X-Bricks can be added to scale out performance and capacity linearly as demand increases while still meeting SLAs.

For user data, either EMC VNX or Isilon storage is used providing the end users with a reliable location for all of their files, whether in the datacenter or in the cloud.

Tenants groups using DaaS can each have their own access zone on EMC Isilon storage without the cost and complexity of setting up virtual file servers. This allows users to access data more efficiently making them more productive and providing a better user experience. This also allows cloud providers a faster, more efficient way to deliver file storage for DaaS for tenants, which in turn helps keep storage and administrative costs low.

Many paths to DaaS


There are several ways organizations can leverage this reference architecture. Desktops can be consumed from a service provider’s cloud, a hybrid cloud, on premises cloud managed, or an on premise solution. The first three of these solutions are managed by service providers and the last one is managed by the organization.

In a cloud solution, the service provider manages 100% of the infrastructure, allowing organizations to create DR solutions for the desktops in the cloud while still having all the benefits of EMC storage with no hardware or other upfront CapEx costs.

With a hybrid cloud model the infrastructure can exist both on premise and in the cloud. Organizations can leverage the operational advantages of both. This also enables elastic growth that is ideal for seasonal businesses. This provides all of the advantages of EMC XtremIO in the cloud and datacenter.

Using an on premise cloud managed solution alleviates the management constraints and is ideal for remote sites, lights-out locations, and for mergers and acquisitions (M&A). This can make it ideal for organizations looking to take on the role of an internal service provider.

On premise solutions offer the power of the cloud without the need for a service provider. This gives organizations maximum flexibility in their DaaS design while leveraging the advanced features of EMC XtremIO.

Journey to DaaS: The Service Provider Perspective

EMC continues to work with service providers helping them deliver comprehensive DaaS offerings that can provide a full range of services for their existing and new enterprise customers. As an example, ScanPlus, a managed service provider in Germany, collaborated with Deutsche Telekom to launch an innovative VDI offering, “Büro-To-Go” (Telekom Managed Workplace), leveraging the company’s own business cloud services, VMware Horizon Suite and EMC XtremIO.

They needed a competitive DaaS solution that can be deployed quickly and effectively. ScanPlus had to deliver a no-compromise, highly responsive, fully-customizable cloud desktop solution while achieving a lower cost per user than traditional managed desktops.

XtremIO played a pivotal role in ScanPlus’ success with its unmatched scalability, performance, and cost-effective data reduction. In the words of CEO Jürgen Hörmann:  “[XtremIO] is very compact in the data center, very energy saving, and the user experience with essentially a zero latency system is unbeatable both in the server and desktop environment. In addition, because of inline deduplication and compression we can achieve a financially viable storage price, and that is fantastic. It is a high-performance environment that delivers a very competitive price per gigabyte. What’s more, I can scale horizontally, so I can expand the system in the current operation without any performance problems.”

What’s Next?

In addition to the RA, EMC is developing sizing tools for costing and pricing of different DaaS configurations. These tools will enable SPs and organizations considering DaaS to deliver sensibly priced desktops that are responsive and efficient.

The “EMC Desktop as a Service with EMC XtremIO All-Flash Array for VMware Horizon DaaS” reference architecture, sizing guidelines, and other DaaS offering tools will be available soon. To learn more about VMware Horizon DaaS, visit To discover more about XtremIO, visit For an additional post about this RA, visit

About the Author: Chhandomay Mandal

Dr. Chhandomay Mandal is the Director of Solutions Marketing at Dell Technologies. He leads solutions across artificial intelligence, analytics, business applications, VDI and HPC as well as industry-specific solutions for healthcare, media & entertainment, semiconductors and smart manufacturing. Prior to his current role, he led Dell’s all-flash storage solutions marketing efforts for desktop virtualization, server virtualization and private cloud. Dr. Mandal has been awarded 13 patents. He has a PhD from University of Florida, MBA from Indiana University, and BTech from Indian Institute of Technology.