Cloud desktop – hype or hero?

The IT industry is now pretty comfortable with the idea of moving server and storage applications into datacentres, whether dedicated or virtualised. The question for the market-watchers and those tasked with divining the “Next Big Thing™” is what comes next? Clearly the move towards multi-tenanted applications, hosted voice and outsourcing infrastructure is delivering real operational and cost efficiencies. Many are now asking whether we can deliver the same value to the desktop experience.

For the mobile worker, you could argue that complexity is already moving to the cloud – with the user relying on their tablet or smart phone of choice, there is an increasing reliance on hosted applications and a ubiquitous network. There are still plenty of laptops sitting in docking stations or on train tables, and the complexity of supporting these devices remains.

For the desktop worker however, change may be coming around the corner.

Deployment of streaming desktop or VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) technologies is bringing the concept of Cloud Desktops to the mainstream. Previously only accessible to larger corporates, now SMEs are realising the operational advantage of server-based desktops. Thin clients or terminals are typically cheaper, diskless, and far more reliable. They consume less energy than a traditional desktop, and can even be powered over Ethernet making deployment quick, easy, and fault tolerant in the event of power outages where UPS cover can be provided to improve productivity.

With desktops deployed in the cloud from standard “images”, it means that if a user has any difficulty or a problem with installed software, that desktop can be reinstalled at the click of a mouse, reducing the support overhead, and the time it takes to get back to a productive desktop experience compared to sending teams on site or remotely logging into a PC (if it hasn’t come completely off the network!) to diagnose and resolve any issues. In addition, the deployment in private cloud environments mean that the SME can now benefit from the 80% carbon and 20% cost savings of virtualisation without compromising the security or diligence requirements that have prevented use of public platforms in the past.

With such cloud desktops, it makes hotdesking, flexible working, and disaster recovery a cinch.

So is a change coming for the desktop experience we all take for granted? With any luck, the experience should improve in reliability and performance, but with improved bandwidth, management tools and quality of service, the benefits of cloud desktops may reach us all soon, without the need to compromise.

If you are interested in engaging with Lumison on a cloud desktop or other private cloud initiative for your business, please call us on 0845 1199 911 or email [email protected]

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