The Covid-19 pandemic continues to shape, rather dictate every aspect of our personal and professional lives. By now, we are well into the largest work from home exercise ever invoked in recorded history.
As the remote work practices across millions of businesses globally start to take a tangible shape, focus is quickly shifting to other key aspects of our daily lives. Education is perhaps one of the most important priorities as our very future depends on it.
In this post, we will try to address the question of which distance learning platform is best suited for educational institutions, Desktop as a Service (DaaS) or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).
To draw an objective comparison, we will cover both DaaS and VDI, along with their unique pros and cons. Towards the end, we will conclude which platform would be most suited to distance learning needs.
What is Desktop Virtualization
Virtualization of desktops is a revolutionary technology in which we create multiple virtual instances of desktop PCs over a server or data center. High tech software solutions are used to both create and manage these virtual desktop instances in a smooth manner.
How to Virtualize Desktops
When we talk of desktop virtualization, there are two basic deployment models. Desktop as a Service or DaaS and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure or VDI. Before we proceed, let’s briefly cover both these deployment models.
Desktop as a Service – DaaS
In this deployment model, an educational institution will source its virtual desktops from a third party Cloud Service Provider (CSP) like dinCloud. All the virtualized instances of desktop PCs will reside safely in the data centers of a cloud provider.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure – VDI
In case of VDI, the educational institution will set up a data center on campus and create virtual instances of desktop PCs over it. Students will be able to access their virtual desktops both on campus and also from the safety of their homes.
What’s Common b/w DaaS and VDI
Both DaaS and VDI can be deployed to deliver virtual desktops to students, as and when they need to access academic resources. All the students would need is a login device such as tablet, laptop or physical desktop and a stable internet connection.
How DaaS and VDI Differ
The key difference between DaaS and VDI lies in the way each will serve virtual desktops to students. In case of DaaS, the entire underlying infrastructure is provided and maintained by your public cloud provider like dinCloud.
In case of VDI, the students will access their virtual desktops by fully utilizing on campus resources. It is pertinent to clarify here that even in case of VDI, students will be able to access learning resources when away from campus, through the internet.
When to Prefer DaaS
You should opt in favor of a DaaS model if your educational institution has the following characteristics or circumstances:-
- The institution does not want to commit to the heavy upfront cost of an on campus data center.
- IT related expertise is lacking in house to manage the complex infrastructure.
- Enrollment in study courses is quite unpredictable, making it difficult to accurately forecast infrastructure demand.
- The distance learning initiative is being planned as a stop gap arrangement and the institution plans to revert to on campus learning in the near future.
VDI is Better If
You should prefer a VDI model if your educational institution fulfills the following conditions:-
- Finances are not a problem and the institution can easily afford the setup cost of an on campus data center.
- There is ample IT expertise in house that can manage the on campus data center and supporting hardware.
- Student enrollment levels are quite stable and healthy, enabling the institution to distribute costs over a large number of pupils.
- The educational institution plans to undertake distance learning programs on a regular basis and even scale down the trend of on campus learning.
Key Decision Factors
While the final decision regarding DaaS or VDI will depend on each individual educational institution, you should focus on these key metrics when making the final call.
At the end of day, it all boils down to end user experience, which in this case would be the students after all.
If setup properly, both DaaS and VDI have the potential to deliver a seamless end user experience to students, whether on campus or otherwise.
Security of E-Learning Platform
Whether DaaS or VDI, you have to ensure that your educational institution provides a distant learning platform that’s secure.
The security should not only protect the learning content made available for the students, but the safety of sensitive student records and data is also equally important.
Efficient Use of Resources
You will have to consider whether DaaS or VDI can deliver the most efficient use of available resources.
Although the answer to choosing between DaaS or VDI will vary with each individual educational institution, both platforms tend to offer their pros and cons. However, DaaS has more potential as a Cloud Service Provider like dinCloud does most of the heavy lifting.
dinCloud has some of the cloud industry’s leading DaaS solutions that can easily be tailored to the needs of the education sector. dinCloud has both a sound infrastructure and the requisite expertise to serve your distance learning needs over the cloud.