When in September 2009 the startup tuCloud entered the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) market, virtualization.info reported the news with skepticism.
The startup was challenging bigger players like IBM in being the first to offer a Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) cloud: a form of IaaS where the virtual machines host a client guest operating system rather than a server OS.
A DaaS cloud can also be considered a VDI deployed on a hybrid cloud architecture, where the virtual data center that hosts the virtual desktops is at a cloud provider, while the thin clients are of course at the customer site.
The key problem at that time was that Microsoft licensing terms for VDI, defined in the now defunct Virtual Enterprise Centralized Desktops (VECD) license, were not exactly DaaS-friendly.
tuCloud solved the problem in a simple way: while the company is technically offering DaaS, its cloud is not multi-tenant. This means that portions of the tuCloud cloud infrastructure are exclusively assigned to the customers, and therefore can be considered as extensions of their on-premises data centers. In this scenario, while tuCloud only acts as a Managed Service Provider (MSP) of the cloud infrastructure, a customer can extend his existing Windows Client SA or Volume license.
Despite the complexity of Microsoft licensing, tuCloud managed to grow healthy and closed important partnerships with key vendors, like Virtual Computer, Kaviza and EMC.
The company is doing so well that yesterday announced an impressive price reduction for its DaaS service: $29.99 per desktop per month. The launch pricing was $120 for the first virtual desktop plus $65 for each additional one.
This has been possible thanks to the adoption of the Kaviza VDI-in-a-box technology which significantly reduced the cost of the back-end infrastructure.
To remain compliant with the Microsoft terms, tuCloud verifies that its potential customers’ license is applicable, and sells only on those customers that have at least 50 desktops.
Their new offer, which is only available in North America at the moment, already attracted a high profile customers: the US Department of Energy, which is using tuCloud Desktops on Demand for over 5000 concurrent users.