Desktop as a Service (DaaS) definition

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: What you need to know about cloud desktops and DaaS providers
Contributor(s): Bridget Botelho

Desktop as a Service (DaaS) is a cloud service in which the back-end of a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is hosted by a cloud service provider.

DaaS has a multi-tenancy architecture and the service is purchased on a subscription basis. In the DaaS delivery model, the service provider manages the back-end responsibilities of data storage, backup, security and upgrades. Typically, the customer's personal data is copied to and from the virtual desktop during logon/logoff and access to the desktop is device, location and network independent. While the provider handles all the back-end infrastructure costs and maintenance, customers usually manage their own desktop images, applications and security, unless those desktop management services are part of the subscription.

Desktop as a Service is a good alternative for a small or mid-size businesses (SMBs) that want to provide their end users with the advantages a virtual desktop infrastructure offers, but find that deploying a VDI in-house to be cost-prohibitive in terms of budget and staffing.

See also: hosted virtual desktop, persistent desktop, nonpersistent desktop

This was first published in November 2015

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