The Importance of Cloud Unification, by Danny Allan, CTO Deskttone

It was exciting to see Cisco and NetApp announce an expanded partnership to deliver converged infrastructure across the Branch Office, Data Center and Public Cloud.  This announcement validates a trend in the market which we have seen for specific types of cloud hosted solutions such as Desktops as a Service (DaaS) and Workspace as a Service to be unified across disparate data centers.

Traditional and current architectures for desktop management and delivery are based on decentralized models. Initially, the user desktop model called for individual elements of compute, with management platforms to deliver the centralized patching, updating, policy definition and data protection.  Given that desktops gave way to laptops which exhibited the mobility factors of their owners, the centralized management model caused IT challenges.  (It is hard to manage a laptop when it is at the employee’s home or at Starbucks.)  The natural response to this challenge was to centralize the desktop and workspace into the data center using Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), where comprehensive management policies could be applied.  The trouble with both of these traditional desktop delivery architectures is that they fly in the face of user mobility and cloud service models.

With traditional VDI platforms, large enterprises and service providers are forced into a model of building independent silos for desktop services in multiple data centers. Further, as users continue the trend of geographical mobility (workplace, home, travel, vacation), the trend toward mobility is further emphasized with the introduction of multiple mobile device form factors such as Macs, tablets and mobile phones.  The reality is that a single data center design, while providing great centralized management, fails in the inherent Cloud Concept of resource pooling defined by NIST whereby the user is abstracted from the actual compute resources but is able to consume the service from the best possible geographic location or most appropriate data center.  A desktop service model must support a user access fabric that provides the best possible user experience.  It might be on-premises at a branch office, or it might be from one or more Service Provider data centers.  Regardless of the desktop hosting location (branch office, private, or public cloud), a well-designed DaaS service will intelligently span and unify these disparate data centers.

Desktone and NetApp have long been working together as partners to address this specific challenge of delivering cloud hosted DaaS.  NetApp has a history of delivering storage and storage related services for Service Providers, while Desktone has focused on building a software platform for Service Providers to offer user desktops and workspaces.  Both partners have respectively focused on capabilities and features such as unifying capacity across datacenter locations – ultimately providing a premium DaaS solution today that is not constrained to a single location and offers a global access fabric.  The depth of the joint DaaS solution is such that there are comprehensive and detailed documents covering not only the solution architecture, but also step by step validated designs for deployment and operations. Our belief is that desktop services should not be constrained to a single branch office or data center, but that Cloud capacity and services should be unified.

For more information, watch this webinar where NetApp and Desktone and IDC discuss virtual desktop market sizing, growth rates, trends and how Desktone and NetApp have teamed up to provide a ready-to-deploy multi-datacenter virtual desktop solution for Service Providers.