For the past few weeks I’ve been talking about the opportunity and excitement of Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) at Citrix Summit and Synergy 2011. What makes DaaS so interesting is that it pulls together disparate cloud technologies like SaaS, IaaS and virtualization into a complete cloud services solution built around the desktop. Together, this sum of the parts enables service providers (Citrix Service Provider’s) to easily deliver the power of hosted enterprise desktops and applications from the cloud to SMBs, offering them the services they want in a simple, pay-as-you-go model. Moreover, DaaS empowers service providers to expand beyond traditional service offerings—email, web portals, etc.—to a more comprehensive bundle built around the desktop that includes apps, data protection, IT services and business continuity.

For anyone interested in DaaS—partners or customers, service providers or enterprise—will be excited to know that there is so much in store next week at Citrix Summit-Synergy. The Roadmap to Summit and Synergy for Desktops in the Cloud outlined a full agenda of DaaS focused breakout sessions and activities. Today I’m excited to say that the roadmap just got a little bit BIGGER. That’s right, in the last few weeks’ we’ve added two more cloud hosted desktop sessions that you won’t want to miss.

You might be saying DaaS sound like a great opportunity for my hosting business or my employees, but I don’t want to build or invest in the infrastructure to support it. What if you could simply select the infrastructure services you need, turn them on and get rolling in hours not weeks, all without buying a single piece of hardware. Faster time to market, no CAPEX, rapid deployment—sounds pretty compelling. The good news is Rackspace and Citrix can do just that. To find out how, come to SUM 134 Get ahead of the curve with hosted virtual desktops (HVDs, Tuesday May 24 at 11:00 AM. You will also want to stop by the Rackspace booth in the Expo Hall, #416 to learn more and see how.

But in order to be successful with DaaS, one cannot simply think of the desktop as the equivalent of virtual servers and workloads in the IaaS world. Why? Because the subscriber who’s using the desktop doesn’t define their desktop like that. Their desktop is a personal and connected extension of their work and life and they care about what’s inside the desktop. And what’s inside nearly every desktop that lets people be productive? Microsoft Office.

Sounds simple, but even that can mean a lot of things. If you are confused about the different Microsoft Office hosting options that are available you will want to come to SUM 135 – Create a comprehensive hosted desktop solution around Microsoft’s hosted Office offerings, Tuesday May 24 at 4:30 PM. Here you will learn about the opportunities and methods for hosting Office in the cloud (including Office 365) and get ideas for how you can deliver a complete solution with Citrix cloud-based services.

In addition to these two new sessions don’t forget about the rest of the DaaS focused lineup:
SUM106 – Build a successful, profitable business as a Citrix Service Provider, Monday May 23 at 11:00 AM.
SUM205 – Reference architecture and design principles for large-scale hosting and cloud infrastructures, Monday May 23 at 12:45 PM and Tuesday May 24 at 2:30 PM.
SUM114 – Deliver managed hosted desktops as a service, Tuesday May 24 at 10:00 AM.
SUM 132 – Desktop virtualization in the cloud: new opportunities and solutions for partners, Tuesday May 24 at 4:30 PM
SYN316 – Hosting apps and desktops in the cloud: considerations for leveraging service providers, Wednesday May 25 at 4:30 PM and Friday May 27 at 11:00 AM.
SYN347 – Get your head in the cloud: manage the enterprise like a cloud service provider, Friday May 27 at 10:00 AM.

A few other stops to put on your roadmap are the Solutions Expo and the Partner Transformation Center. The Solutions Expo is bigger and more exciting than ever. Two must see demos at the Citrix booth are the Desktop Virtualization for Service Providers pod (#13) and the Cortex Cloud Control Panel from Citrix pod (#14). Here you can see the solutions you have learned about in action and talk to the product experts and engineers that make this all a reality. You will also want to visit the new Ask the Experts “Smart Bar” area to meet Kurt Moody and John D’agati—the heros behind the Citrix Service Provider Reference Architecture. Here you can talk tech till your heart’s content and learn more about the reference architecture.

See you next week!