We’ve been hearing for the longest time that public cloud poster-child AWS beats all comers hands down for a number of reasons, not least of all the fact that it’s more nimble than the allegedly bloated legacy vendors and hence can roll out innovations more readily. Given this perception, it was interesting to hear today that it is VMware, not AWS, that is first to fully launch a Desktop as a Service (DaaS) offering. This despite the fact that AWS announced a DaaS offering, Workspaces, a whole four months ago.
VMware’s Horizon DaaS offering mimics its vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS) approach in that it can be deployed either in a public or a private cloud (or, for those who like to mix it up, in both). While I’ve been critical about DaaS and its related product Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) I will agree that for enterprises with a particular problem set, DaaS provides a temporary fix to their critical need: namely the mobile-ization of existing desktop applications and paradigms.
Which is why, given AWS’ focus on being seen as a “real” enterprise vendor, it’s especially unusual to see them dragging the chain on this. Especially since their usual retort, that legacy vendors can’t or won’t match the AWS economics, doesn’t seem to be the case in this instance – VMware is offering Horizon from $35 per desktop per month – equal to the low-end price that AWS promised to the market.
Of course VMware’s acquisition of Desktone back in October helps them deliver the offering – notwithstanding that they didn’t actually have to build anything however, getting a new product integrated in terms of the sales force and other back office operations is no mean feat.
VMware really needed to deliver this quickly – AWS signaled an all out war against the VDI/DaaS vendors, especially Citrix and VMware, so delivering something to the market in a price-competitive and timely manner is a real coup.
Some would even suggest (sacre bleu) that the VMware offering is more “open” than AWS’ version. While it does rely on VMware technology, it gives customers the choice of on or off-premises along with VMware’s partners who deliver vCHS offerings – AWS on the other hand gives customers very little choice – it’s their way or the highway.
Something tells me we’ll see an AWS announcement of GA for Workspaces very soon – but in the mean time, chalk this victory up to VMware.