The Future of Desktops? It's All in the Cloud.

April 27th, 2011

When explaining to friends that Desktone is in the business of delivering cloud-hosted virtual desktops the immediate return is that the term “cloud” is a wildly over-used buzz word and that it seems every company is attaching themselves to it. While I would absolutely agree that “cloud” and “social” are the buzz words of the day here is why I believe the cloud is ripe for desktop infrastructures.

Desktop management is ripe for change. The current model is broken and dated. For most, desktop strategies haven’t changed in 15 years. Companies buy desktops, image them with applications needed and send them out to their employees. They then get broken or maybe stolen and we repeat the same cycle. No wonder this can cost organizations anywhere from 7-10% of their IT budget. This is not strategic and is not a business process companies enjoy. Now introduce the upcoming ‘forced’ upgrade to Windows 7 and mobile demands from iPads in the corporate world and we have the perfect situation for companies to reevaluate what they are doing with desktops.

By moving desktops to the cloud businesses can realize all the benefits of virtual desktops—centralized management, improved data security and simplified deployment. The advantages of cloud-hosted Desktops as a Service include:

  • Reduced desktop costs – Cloud-hosted virtual desktops can be subscribed to at a set monthly rate, and businesses only pay for the virtual desktops that are needed.  All of this translates into reduced desktop total cost of ownership (TCO), achieved at the beginning of a cloud-hosted desktop deployment. Companies can now budget for a set a monthly fee without any hidden costs or surprises.
  • Ease of manageability, one-touch support – Cloud-hosted virtual desktops are easy to buy and implement.  This saves a lot of money that was traditionally spent on physical desktop maintenance, while minimizing the technical expertise businesses need to leverage virtual desktops.  Additionally, because desktops are delivered by a provider over a secure network and supported by a Service Level Agreement (SLA), end users can expect better availability of their desktops than can be delivered with physical PCs, which often require a desk-side visit when things go wrong.
  • Device and location independence – Businesses can embrace next gen workers by providing device and location independence.
    • Device independence: End users can work and access corporate applications and data from any device
    • Location independence: Because the service provider has multiple locations, proximity to the data center challenges are eliminated.  Users can work from anywhere – home, office or coffee shop.
  • Flexibility
    • Fast ramp up and down: Businesses can quickly scale up or down by adding or removing virtual desktops to the monthly subscription in minutes.
    • Geographic agility: Cloud-hosted desktops can be deployed by service providers with global scale. This allows users to gain access to their virtual desktop from just about anywhere, and businesses to expand the regions where they source talent, since they are no longer limited to corporate offices and internal infrastructure reach.
    • Easy to try and buy: Because there is no infrastructure or software to deploy, businesses can quickly and easily try cloud-hosted virtual desktops before buying.

Now the hard part – I would submit that the following attributes are the minimum requirements for build a true cloud-hosted virtual desktop environment....

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Posted by Peter McKay

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Peter McKay is VP Sales EUC Americas and GM DaaS for VMware. Before joining Desktone [acquired by VMware], Peter served as Executive In Residence at North Bridge Venture Partners in Waltham, MA and Insight Ventures in New York.
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