The Cloud Desktop: Cut support costs while improving performance

Gabe Ferland, President, NetFidelis and Data Center Direct

Gabe Ferland, President, NetFidelis and Data Center Direct

How can the Cloud Desktop lower support costs, improve performance, and increase productivity for small and medium sized businesses?

I have been an IT support person for the past 15 years. It has been my passion to engineer solutions that lower my customer’s costs and make my job easier. I am always asking myself: How can I design a cost effective system that performs better than expected and limits a user’s need for support? The current answer is the Cloud Desktop. Why?

First, let me explain what I mean by the “cloud”. This term means different things to different people. I am talking specifically about a robust and secure datacenter to both store data and provide processing power.

The Cloud Desktop runs desktop applications on a shared Remote Desktop Server (RDS) running in the datacenter. Users are given a secure profile to access their data and applications on this RDS in the datacenter. The user’s local PC then becomes a “dumb terminal” that provides access to the desktop running in the datacenter.

Only the Remote Desktop Client (RDC) needs to be installed on the local PC. The RDC will run on any Windows PC or laptop, Mac PC or laptop, smartphones and tablet devices.

NOTE:  This is not virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). VDI is a technology that runs each user’s local PC desktop on a virtual machine in the datacenter. NO shared desktop resources.  Each user’s desktop is still managed as an individual system.

So, how can this lower support costs?

Security. Support related to security issues is reduced by having fewer PC’s to protect and troubleshoot. No more virus issues on local PC’s!

Performance. Support can be provided much faster to a single system than many systems and with better performing hardware (no slow PC’s that really cramp a support person’s ability to resolve an issue).

Admin overhead. Less support is required to implement and maintain software by managing a single instance and not many instances of an application.

Let me explain . . .

Security. By creating a single managed desktop that is shared by users, we can create more secure policies that are much easier to manage. One of the principles of warfare that I learned in the military is to limit the number of threats or engagements you are committed to at one time. This allows you to maximize the focus of all available resources to overcome the enemy. By consolidating users to one shared desktop we can focus our security attention in one place which increases our ability to maintain security. Managing security policies and software on many desktops is much more costly and time consuming than managing one desktop.  This is pretty obvious but still not practiced effectively in the IT world. Military training is very helpful with security related IT issues.

Performance. The first movement away from a consolidated computing environment occurred when applications could be deployed locally and, cost per cycle, PC hardware started to outperform large mainframes. These major factors, along with others, caused computing to become highly decentralized. This became an immediate support issue that most companies are still trying to resolve today.

With multi-core processors and virtualization technology, datacenter resources are now lower cost per cycle than PC hardware.  And, with remote desktop technology, all the benefits of local desktop functionality can be provided to users without installing any software on a local PC. This is the real win-win of the cloud desktop: You get all the benefits of a local desktop with greater functionality and performance while removing the support burden of decentralized computing.

Admin overhead. With the cloud desktop you only have to manage one instance of a program. In the traditional client-server model, every user that wanted access to an application and the associated data had to have the application installed on his local desktop. For example, if 20 users needed QuickBooks, it would have to be installed 20 times. With the cloud desktop you install it once. And, when QuickBooks needs to be updated, you only have to update it once.

Learn more about the Cloud Desktop.

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