Cloud-based desktops a reality

Cloud computing can also include the desktop experience. IT Jedi Rick Vanover outlines how one company is providing a desktop cloud experience that is fundamentally different than other cloud offerings.

Whenever I mention cloud technologies, there are a few familiar retorts to the technologies. This is to be expected, as rarely can we advocate a technology that appeals to the broad TechRepublic family. Recently, I've come across a cloud-based virtual desktop offering that will make you think twice before shrugging off another cloud solution.

Providing the client computing environment is the fundamental obligation of an infrastructure group. Further, the client computing environment is a very sensitive nerve that must be delivered well. Considering that current desktop and notebook systems are quite powerful, this is a formidable task.

Recently, I came across iland's Workforce Cloud offering, and it changed my perspective. One of the obstacles with cloud offerings is the associated requirement to bolster connectivity to reduce latency to server resources that may be in the cloud. The iland approach is to put both the server and the desktop in the cloud. The connectivity between these two infrastructure zones can be Gigabit Ethernet or 10 Gigabit Ethernet. Between the two infrastructure zones, the latency is reduced with the rich connection. The experience from the virtual desktop hosted in the Workforce Cloud is delivered as a presentation technology to any endpoint.

Like any virtual desktop solution, not all situations are applicable for cloud-based presentation of a virtual desktop. The key examples are multimedia rich or graphic design situations where local video processing makes more sense for a high-quality experience.

The iland approach is to be different than other cloud offerings. Instead of being API-driven for its cloud solution, it is more of a co-located infrastructure solution. This extends to physical gear as well. One example of the increased level of engagement would be a mail-filtering appliance for an Exchange server. With iland's offering, you can put one of the mail-filtering appliances in both your own data center and the iland datacenter to make your disaster recovery or load-balanced cloud-hosted footprint carry the load. This allows hosted desktops to get the same end-to-end experience. The connectivity is driven by customer requirements for VPN for both client and site connections, frequently using SSL-based tunnels that iland has been offering for years.

Do you see this fundamental difference in hosted infrastructure? I am compelled to think that provided infrastructure is more attractive when an end-to-end solution can be architected in the cloud. Let me know if you want to see more of this solution, including a demo and screenshot. Also share your comments below on the thought of a cloud-hosted desktop? Bring your own PC (BYOPC), anyone?


Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

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