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In 2012, Aetna began a major initiative to look at Desktop as a Service (DaaS) with a goal of a platform that was: Resilient Easily expandable Cost effective Today, we will discuss the growing pains involved in DaaS both from our experience and the industry as a whole.
Architect and implementer of Aetna’s 40,000 seat internal XenApp/XenDesktop platform Lead SME for Aetna’s 15,000 seat DaaS design 17 years working with Citrix products Author and editor Owner of CitrixTips.com
What is DaaS? Why did Aetna want to implement a DaaS program? What are some options for hosted DaaS? 5 keys we found to picking your DaaS provider Why we kept our DaaS in house and on site!
At the most fundamental level DaaS is a Windows desktop you pay someone else to provide. DaaS is just a business decision. “IDC expects the desktop-as- a-service market to grow to a healthy $661 million by 2016…” - Brett Waldman, IDC Analyst
DaaS is not Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) unless you pay for it to be DaaS is not a security tool DaaS is not always easier than doing it yourself DaaS is not necessarily cheaper… it is however a different kind of cost
When you talk to a DaaS provider these are the 3 “flavors” they are going to try and sell you:
SPLA – Service Provider License Agreement only covers Server OS!
The only licensed option to do a VDI setup in a DaaS implementation is to BYOL (Bring Your Own License). Microsoft requires you to maintain hardware separation if you want to BYOL. That means separating storage, servers, etc;
You need a VDA license. The only devices exempt from the VDA license requirement are corporate owned and managed Windows devices. Everything else needs one.
Microsoft doesn’t allow SPLAs to provide Desktop OSes SPLA for Office only applies on Server OSes BYOL requires you to use your own license infrastructure and maintain complete hardware isolation Only corporate owned Desktops have the requisite VDA license as part of SLA Everything else is going to cost you PER DEVICE Contact your Microsoft rep for additional licensing information
Reduce costs Speed to deployment Disaster Recovery Burst growth support Seamless integration As a project team beginning in 2012 we were tasked to find a DaaS solution that met the following goals:
Can purchase based on capacity requirements at a given point in time Don’t have to buy in bulk for capacity requirements 6 months out just to get a better price New technologies can be rapidly deployed on the DaaS infrastructure without impact to the production environment
Lack an existing DR for your VDI? DaaS might fit the bill! Fixed monthly costs Economies of scale On or off site DR Know your users!
Year round infrastructure is a waste of resources Burst or seasonal growth Overflow of internal infrastructure M&A Support Limited time frame projects
Worked within Aetna’s existing processes and procedures Could be presented at the user level seamlessly Did not require a radical architecture change Fit the continued goals we had around virtualization as a whole
DaaS providers that choose to be a part of the CSP program CSPs extend their SPLA features with Citrix products and special licensing Subject to SPLA Citrix + service provider working in concert Validated designs from Citrix
The first step in designing the appropriate DaaS solution is to prioritize your goals. Most important to us was the lack of user impact. Given our applications and data requirements the only solution was an on-premises DaaS environment.
Desktop as a Service very quickly became Infrastructure as a Service! But who owns what?
Pros Still get a per seat cost Still can offload support and infrastructure management to a 3 rd party Can grow at the pace you dictate 3 rd party expertise for new initiatives Local connection between the desktop and apps Gives you segregation from any other DaaS client Cons Requires good management and division of labor to actually save on soft costs You have to have the space to provide Requires a vendor willing to be flexible in the configuration and support Forecasting is MUCH more important Your infrastructure changes are THEIR infrastructure changes
Define your roles Test and test again Map out technology differences Marketing is important
23,000 in-house VDI we own and manage 15,000 DaaS VDI to provide new capacity and DR infrastructure Integrated XenDesktop 7.1 farms with management scopes defined for each supporting group Active user migration process to reduce the size of in-house managed VDI through 2016
My best guess… More hybrid solution focus Demand for Microsoft to change their licensing model DaaS quickly fades to a component of IaaS for large corporations The gradual decoupling of the apps from the desktop pushes us into a whole new model
Google “Project Mohoro” for Microsoft DaaS references Best guess – Will follow the model of VMware only with HyperV and allow Citrix integration
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