What is DaaS?

Desktop as a service (DaaS)

Desktop as a service, or DaaS, is a cloud computing offering that securely delivers virtual apps and desktops from the cloud to any device. This managed desktop virtualization solution aka DaaS is used for provisioning secure SaaS and legacy applications as well as full Windows-based virtual desktops and delivers them to your workforce. With a predictable pay-as-a-go subscription model, DaaS makes it easy to scale up or down on-demand. It’s easy to manage and simplifies many of the IT admin tasks of desktop solutions.

How does DaaS work?

DaaS delivers virtual applications and desktop services via a public or private cloud service. Your workforce can access this service through an internet connection via an html-based web browser or a secure application downloaded to a device such as a laptop, desktop, thin client, smartphone, or tablet.

DaaS is offered as a subscription service and is multitenant in nature. The backend virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), including virtual machines that run desktop operating systems, is hosted by a third-party cloud service provider. The DaaS provider then streams the virtual desktops to the customer’s end user devices.

DaaS providers manage the VDI deployment as well as maintenance, security, upgrades, data backup, and storage. And the customer manages the applications and desktop images. DaaS is a good choice for organizations that don’t want to invest in and manage their own on-premises VDI solution.

Why DaaS?

Employees expect to access their work from anywhere on any device. And companies are looking for a low-cost, simple solution to securely deliver the apps and desktops people need to get their work done. Traditional PC environments are burdened with IT management challenges ranging from simple employee password resets to complex data security patches and updates. These not only take up valuable time for IT administrators, but can also impact the user experience and limit productivity.

While many customers are turning to virtualization, the process often requires capital investments and specialized IT skills. In response, many organizations are looking for a simplified solution that works within an operational expense structure. DaaS can be a viable option for customers that like the centralization, security, and management of VDI but are attracted to the simplicity of having a professional organization perform basic desktop management on their behalf.

What’s the difference between VDI and DaaS?

Both VDI and DaaS allow end users to access virtual desktops and save admins from having to install and manage operating systems on each individual device within the company. However, there are key differences between these two types of virtualization.

With VDI, an organization deploys virtual desktops from its own on-premises datacenters. In-house IT teams are responsible for deploying the virtual desktops as well as purchasing, managing, and upgrading infrastructure.

DaaS is essentially the same thing, but with cloud infrastructure is cloud-based. Organizations that subscribe to a DaaS solution don’t need to manage their own hardware. Instead, they use a pay-per-user subscription model to scale up or down as needed. This allows companies to rapidly roll out cloud desktops for temporary staff during peak seasons, for new users when working through mergers and acquisitions, or to accommodate a growing hybrid workforce.


Supercharge your virtualization agility with managed DaaS

Discover how you can save time and scale quickly with Citrix DaaS (formerly Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops service).

The top benefits of DaaS

DaaS has flexibility

Employees, seasonal workers, and contractors can securely access their applications, remote desktops, and sensitive data from anywhere on cost-effective devices. This helps people stay productive no matter where they work, and makes it easy for IT to support Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs.

Scalability with DaaS

Organizations can rapidly spin up apps and desktops based on business needs, without having to invest in additional infrastructure. This is particularly valuable during a merger or acquisition or when staffing temporary workers during peak seasons.

DaaS Security

DaaS provides a secure access point for users and simplifies management. With access to applications and desktops in the cloud, data is securely stored and protected against data loss or device theft.

Cost savings

With DaaS, you pay for only what you use through monthly or yearly subscription models. In addition, DaaS can be used to reduce capital expenses and gain a more predictable operational expense model.

Business continuity

DaaS can be a simple way to support disaster recovery and business continuity plans. Organizations can quickly enable secure remote access to apps and desktops, which allows the workforce to stay up and running in the event of a natural disaster, pandemic, or other unforeseen event. Users can be added quickly, and the organization pays only for it uses.


With DaaS solutions from Citrix, companies gain additional advantages from close partnerships with key players. You can quickly provision virtualized apps and desktops from Google Cloud without the need for additional IT resources, and seamlessly integrate with Microsoft 365, Teams, Skype for Business, and other daily apps.


With Citrix DaaS, customers can choose between managing cloud services themselves or having a Citrix service provider handle management on their behalf.

Citrix solutions for DaaS

Citrix DaaS solutions offer a quick, easy way to deliver cloud applications and desktops to users—without complicating IT or compromising security. Roll out fully managed cloud apps and desktops in minutes using Citrix DaaS, and then close them down at any time. Close industry partnerships make it easy to leverage your favorite public cloud provider—Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure—for secure, seamless access to applications and workspaces. You pay only for what you use, without having to invest in expensive hardware that sits idle during down times.

What is DaaS? Explore DaaS further

Download our comprehensive guide to see how you can gain more flexibility with the pay-as-you-go model for deploying virtual apps and desktops.