The local operating system dies, long live the cloud desktop

Regarding the Post-PC era, the accompanying changes in the operating system market are not solely attributable to mobile devices. For some time, there are solutions that can represent an operating system in a browser or systems that make full-featured local systems obsolete. For example, mainframes, terminal servers and thin clients. This topic I discussed in the last year with the article. “Zurück in die Cloud: Terminals und Mainframes bekommen ihr Update 2.0” Also, Remote Desktop sessions are long-established ways for remote access. Projecting all these technologies into the present, we arrive at one of the next big trends in the IT business environment, the cloud desktop.

A desktop from the cloud

Not only in terms of location-independence and collaborate on projects is the cloud desktop a logical step and goes far beyond cloud storage services with value-added services for the parallel work on documents and other data. Cloud desktops or Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) are among the top issues for a company’s IT and eventually replace the “Virtual Desktop Infrastructure“. One can also say that cloud desktops respectively DaaS is the consistent further development of the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.

The ongoing development of cloud computing makes cloud desktops to an optimum platform for the enterprise. Cloud desktops allow the complete outsourcing of the desktop environment to a provider. The billing based on the needs. Afterwards the cloud desktop provider is responsible for the delivery and maintenance of the environment. These include inter alia to install updates, and upgrades, backup and providing storage space. Based on the spin-off to a single vendor, the cloud desktop can be accessed regardless of the geographic location, the structure of the company and the respective terminal.

Everything always and everywhere

Cloud desktops form complete work environments, as we know from the local desktop. Unlike ordinary cloud storage offerings here all the necessary applications for the location-independent work are available. The desktop is completely mobile, which is for employees working from home and in the field an advantage. Cloud desktops are the ideal solution when the underlying infrastructure is not necessary. Through the use of cloud desktops the company’s IT no longer needs to face with the purchase, installation and the additional topics that belong to the operation and maintenance of a desktop environment. Furthermore, the worldwide deployment of systems and software solutions to the employees is simplified.

Benefits and concerns

The benefits of cloud desktops are inter alia in the reduction of spending on hardware and maintenance plus the monthly flexibility as needed. Furthermore, the staff have the opportunity to access their work environment at any time and from any place. For this purpose, these virtualized desktops can be accessed from the corporate network, the Internet and on many platforms such as tablets, smartphones, thin clients and classic devices like laptops or desktop PCs.

Before using a cloud desktop environment, there are also a few things to note. One part is the provider and whether the offer meets your requirements. Furthermore, the themes service levels, safety, and laws and regulations have a great importance. But even how it looks to integrate with existing backend systems or already deployed software-as-a-service solutions. A not to be underestimated area is also the availability of a stable data connection. Because: “No cloud, no cookies.”

By Rene Buest

Rene Buest is Gartner Analyst covering Infrastructure Services & Digital Operations. Prior to that he was Director of Technology Research at Arago, Senior Analyst and Cloud Practice Lead at Crisp Research, Principal Analyst at New Age Disruption and member of the worldwide Gigaom Research Analyst Network. Rene is considered as top cloud computing analyst in Germany and one of the worldwide top analysts in this area. In addition, he is one of the world’s top cloud computing influencers and belongs to the top 100 cloud computing experts on Twitter and Google+. Since the mid-90s he is focused on the strategic use of information technology in businesses and the IT impact on our society as well as disruptive technologies.

Rene Buest is the author of numerous professional technology articles. He regularly writes for well-known IT publications like Computerwoche, CIO Magazin, LANline as well as and is cited in German and international media – including New York Times, Forbes Magazin, Handelsblatt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Computerwoche, CIO, Manager Magazin and Harvard Business Manager. Furthermore Rene Buest is speaker and participant of experts rounds. He is founder of and writes about cloud computing, IT infrastructure, technologies, management and strategies. He holds a diploma in computer engineering from the Hochschule Bremen (Dipl.-Informatiker (FH)) as well as a M.Sc. in IT-Management and Information Systems from the FHDW Paderborn.

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