Desktop-as-a-service provider Desktone is introducing a new DaaS appliance designed to help bandwidth-constrained organizations implement DaaS on premise. While Desktone’s previous offerings the on-premise cloud-managed virtual desktop solution resides on the customer site, but is remotely managed by a cloud provider, giving customers more flexibility for public, private or hybrid clouds.

“Some customers are not ready to give up control,” Dave Grant, VP of marketing at the venture capital-backed six-year-old Desktone told me. “Or maybe there are technical barriers or bandwidth barriers. For all those reasons we felt that we wanted to deliver another option for them. “

New DaaS Delivery and Revenue Options

The new solution gives managed service providers some new options when it comes to delivering virtual desktops to end-customer organizations. For instance, MSPs can make a commission on the initial hardware sale of the appliance, and then receive recurring revenue from the sale of services. The price tag for the appliance will come to about $10,000 to $12,000, and the appliance will include the basic software required.  The device will support about 100 users on Windows 7.

Retail Prices and MSP Margins for Desktone's DaaS

Grant says in the end the retail price per user ends up at about $30 per user per month and MSPs can upsell various software and services (for instance, help desk)  and charge a retail price of $50 to $55 per user per month. Grant says these prices already incorporate a 30 percent margin for the MSP.

Grant told me that Desktone has seen interest grow in DaaS services recently. Drivers such as looming deadline for end to support for Windows XP and the growing bring-your-own-device movement have encouraged organizations to reconsider their traditional approach to client computing.

Some organizations are looking at repurposing old hardware or investing in thin clients, Grant told me.

Data Center Build Out Investments Discourage Some MSPs

While the market demand has been strong for DaaS, some MSPs have hesitated at diving into the market because they haven’t built out their own cloud data centers. There’s a great deal of complexity to navigate in putting together your own offering with VMware or Citrix, according to Grant. (MSPs, do you agree with this?)

Desktone has been working to remove this barrier to entry by partnering with other companies to make it easier for MSPs to jump in. For instance, a partnership with Quest lets MSPs white-label a hosted DaaS solution.  Such an approach lets MSPs try the DaaS business without making a big capital investment.

Another Avenue to Data Center Hosting

Grant acknowledged that Desktone has already received one inquiry from an MSP about purchasing the Desktone appliance as a way to get into the hosting business. That’s a business model that Desktone hadn’t initially anticipated, Grant told me, but one that the company will likely be working on in the months ahead.

Desktone’s new on-premises offerings offer the following enterprise and SMB/Branch Office configurations:

  • Enterprise customers can leverage existing private cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) environments or use the Desktone blueprint, which includes a choice of server hardware, NetApp or EMC storage, and desktop virtualization software.
  • SMBs and branch office deployments can deploy a pre-configured, all-in-one virtual desktop appliance, which includes GreenByte’s vIO virtual storage (via a partnership announced today), as well as compute and desktop virtualization software.

Desktone’s cloud provider partners include Dell, Fujitsu, Time Warner Cable and Dimension Data. The company was founded in 2007, has its headquarters in Boston and lists its investors as Highland Capital Partners, SoftBank Capital and Citrix.