Today marks a milestone for Service Providers who are seeking to enter the public cloud market, or to expand and enhance their current offerings. Together with our key Partners Desktone by VMware, Cisco and Equinix we are launching the Desktops-as-a-Service (DaaS) OneStep Program at the VMware Partner Exchange in San Francisco.
Our goal is to provide a completely turnkey best-of-breed option for Service Providers globally who want to offer a DaaS service to their customers. So what is it all about? Well, there are two components to the story. One is a story about taking the concept of partnering to a whole new level. The second one is about building a technology infrastructure for a specific workload in a specific use case environment.
In the past year cloud-based hosted virtual desktops, now commonly known as DaaS, have rapidly emerged as the next high-growth cloud service workload. Service Providers are seeing increasing demand from their customers for a better way to manage their desktop experience from any device. Smartphones, tablets, super-thin laptops, in-car technology and even wearable technology has provided an ability to be “always connected”, however, this has placed significant pressure on IT departments and self-supporting end-users to create a high-quality, consistent, device independent desktop experience. Cloud-based DaaS can alleviate this burden and provide additional benefits to both the end-users and IT support personnel.
DaaS is based on a virtualized technology platform and takes advantage of the performance, scalability and cost-efficiency that virtualization is renowned for. It is, however, a workload that needs to leverage a best-of-breed technology “stack” in order to maximize the value it provides to end users. Service Providers who seek to build a DaaS offering for their customers generally focus first on the software that enables the desktop to become virtualized in a multi-tenant cloud delivery model. This is often a relatively simple exercise as there are a limited number of vendors to choose from who specialize in this area. The choices become a lot broader when identifying the appropriate infrastructure to incorporate into the final DaaS production design. Furthermore, the data center requirements to house a cloud-based service with strict Service Level (SLA) and non-disruptive operations (NDO) expectations create a scenario that can often overwhelm the Service Provider.
One low-risk place for a Service Provider to start when considering building any cloud service offering is with converged infrastructures. Significant advances have been made in the development of converged infrastructures in the past few years. The fewer architectural customizations or design decisions that need to be made, the faster sourcing and implementing processes can be, resulting in an accelerated time-to-market. The challenge presented by some converged infrastructures is that they are not workload optimized. In the quest for infrastructure convergence and standardization sometimes the trade-off can be a diluted ability to align workload-specific requirements to technology features. The ideal scenario is a best-of-breed converged infrastructure purpose-built to meet the unique characteristics of a specific workload, in this example, DaaS. To date “nirvana” has not been very elusive, however, a unique technical collaboration between four leading technology vendors has now changed that.
NetApp, VMware, Cisco and Equinix all have Service Providers as customers. Independently, they all provide key components that enable Service Providers to build and operate successful cloud services. All four organizations have a culture of innovation, listening to their customers and partnering to achieve successful customer outcomes. Each organization has been hearing the same message from Service Providers; building cloud services is harder than it should be. This message has resulted in a unique collaboration to create a best-of-breed technology solution designed specifically for DaaS. Problem identified. Problem understood. Problem solved.
Working together to achieve a common goal, NetApp, VMware, Cisco and Equinix have created a purpose-built, cost-effective, validated and globally available option for Service Providers to launch a DaaS offering with the security of knowing that four highly reputable vendors have undertaken the “heavy lifting”.
With four sizing options to choose from, ranging from 1020 desktops to 5100 desktops, the DaaS OneStep Program achieves a true turnkey platform that can take a Service Provider from concept to full production in less than one hundred days. It leverages the IDC-rated No.1 Integrated Infrastructure (FlexPod by NetApp, Cisco and VMware) together with the winner of 2013 ‘Best Data Center Innovation’ (Equinix) and the pioneer of DaaS functionality (Desktone by VMware). The DaaS OneStep Program not only provides a best-of-breed technology “stack”, but it takes advantage of the latest in data center optimization, management functionality and global network interconnectivity.
In brief, the technology “stack” is built around:
- VMware ESXi hypervisor,
- Desktone by VMware virtual desktop multi-protocol software, Connection Broker and Resource Manager,
- Cisco Unified Computing System,
- Cisco Unified Data Center architecture incorporating Nexus access layer,
- NetApp secure multi-tenant virtualized FAS storage incorporating FlashCache SSD and FlexClone
In order to put DaaS to the test, Service Providers can take advantage of a free Proof-of-Concept (PoC) trial in one of four state-of-the-art Equinix Solution Validation Centers around the world. Furthermore, at the completion of the PoC the Service Provider has the option to create a production environment in the exact image of the PoC design for a set monthly per-desktop fee. There is even a comprehensive financial model available that identifies clearly how competitive market pricing can be achieved whilst incorporating pricing metrics Service Providers need to operate a successful business.
The four partners behind the DaaS OneStep Program firmly believe that we have been able to address the problem statement articulated by Service Providers (building cloud services is harder than it should be). This has been achieved technically, financially and logistically and marks a true collaboration leveraging the concept of common goal partnering to achieve an outcome that Service Providers have been asking for. The DaaS OneStep Program showcases what can be achieved when innovators in specific fields combine their resources to achieve an outcome that could not be achieved independently of each other.
True partnering needs to be more than just words on a mission statement or a glossy brochure full of promise but vague on executable outcomes. It requires a shared understanding of the problems needing to be solved. It requires agreement of the benefits all participants can provide for their customers if the problems are solved. It requires a level of commitment that may need to last beyond the next month or the next quester. Lastly, it requires getting deep into the details to ensure that what looks logical and feasible will translate into something executable.
The DaaS OneStep Program provides Service Providers with a whole new reason to revisit their cloud services strategy and ask themselves a new question, “what if is wasn’t so hard to do?”
To obtain a more detailed understanding of why it is no longer “harder than it should be” to build a DaaS cloud offering, Service Providers simply need to contact their account manager from NetApp, VMware, Equinix or Cisco.
More information can be found at the following sources:
Video summary of the DaaS OneStep Program partner value: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVS425b-kRk
Forbes article on Common Goal Partnering: