26 Jan 2016

Power of HTML5

Many organizations have struggled with the cost and complexity of implementing Virtual Desktop platforms. Installing large Infrastructure to host all virtual desktops is quite expensive and complex. It would be fair to say that many VDI projectes have crashed over this cost. A hosted VDI or Desktop-as-a-Service (DAAS) is solving this issue completely by offering a cloud hosted desktop for a monthly fee.

All problems solved with Desktop-as-a-Service?

Unfortunately any DAAS still needs multiple devices that are used the access the individual virtual desktops. In quite a lot of cases, businesses use their normal desktop or notebook computer to access these virtual machines. This keeps IT expenditure at the same levels as before DAAS and even adds complexity by introducing software to establish the actual connections. With the introduction of the Google Chromebook line of products a lot of problems around costs and complexity have been addressed.

Google Chromebooks are designed to provide affordable computers that rely on a built-in browser to access applications and data in the cloud.  From an IT administration standpoint, Chromebooks are the ideal access device because there is no local administration needed, the operating system contains a built-in browser, and a minimal amount of malware targeting the Chrome OS reduces the need for security updates and anti-virus software.

Crucial to benefit from the Chromebooks or any other HTML5 browser technology is to have a cloud that is HTML5 ready. The Nuvolat Cloud is embracing the HTML5 technology completely and is equipped  with an HTML5 gateway allowing Chromebooks and other HML5 browsers to connect to virtual desktops and applications without the need to install additional tools or technology.

Adding this HTML5 gateway to the Nuvolat Cloud provides a true out-of-the-box experience, as it enables users with Chromebooks to access their desktops and applications directly through their web browsers.  Employees may bring in their Chromebooks or any other device that has an HTML5 browser on board and have access to their virtual desktops.  When a user with an HTML5 browser connects to the Nuvolat HTML5 gateway login page, he or she will automatically be presented with the virtual machines assigned to him or her and after selection the desktop will launch in a browser window.

 

04 Dec 2015

DaaS+DR

No, the title of this article is not referring to some sort of chemical formula or code for your bank’s vault. It simply talks about Disaster Recovery and what Desktop-as-a-Service means for it.

My IT infrastructure is full proof
Most companies think that disaster only strikes next door. In the unlikely event of a disaster next door having some effect on their own company, most of them believe that their disaster recovery (DR) plan will keep them up and running. Unfortunately disaster does not always strike next door, it can hit you right in the heart of your organization. If you add the fact that most DR plans are not really up to speed, you get a scary situation.
Most DR plans typically cover servers and networks and that is indeed important. Desktops however are often left unattended. A good DR plan that covers also your desktops is often so expensive that IT manager like to forget about it and opt to do nothing. But if your desktops go down, your employees could be out of work for days and you could loose valuable business.
With Desktop-as-a-Service, businesses now have an excellent tool to ensure worker productivity and business continuity, whenever or wherever disaster strikes.

Desktop DR is one of the most complex projects
Clearly, businesses need a disaster recovery plan for desktops. In a traditional approach this would mean setting up and maintaining a separate DR facility for your desktops. Unfortunately, such a second and separate facility is expensive and complex. Paying for, and maintaining, a second facility and duplicate desktop infrastructure is more than most companies can handle. On top, maintaining such a second environment is not enough. Your second environment needs to keep up with your production infrastructure. When the lights would go out, you cannot fall back on a secondary environment that is days or even weeks out of date.

DaaS = Your Desktop DR Insurance Plan
Desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) is increasingly being positioned as the smart DR strategy for desktops. Essentially, DaaS is a cloud-based service offering that delivers virtual desktops to end users on any device and in any location.
Although these virtual desktops can act as part of your corporate Infrastructure, they are running in a secure offsite datacenter. All the vital infrastructure in running in some ultra secure remote location that is not impacted by any disaster that might knock on your door. All you have to do is pay a monthly subscription fee.

In the unlikely event of a disaster taking out your office and the remote datacenter in one go, a solid Cloud Service Provider has deployed a grid-based DaaS platform in a multi-geography, multi-data center approach. This means that your virtual desktops are part of a grid spread over multiple locations and are able to survive virtually any disaster. No matter which disaster strikes, your desktops will always be available, your employees will always have access to their desktops. Wherever they are.

Here’s why DaaS makes sense for desktop DR:

• virtual desktops are always available, even when your internal infrastructure is flat out on the floor.
• All you need to access your Virtual desktop is an internet connection.
• Virtual desktops are available from any location.
• You do not have to maintain a plan-B infrastructure.
• Your DaaS subscription scales with just a few clicks

Conclusion

In an always-on world, business can’t afford significant downtime. Workers not “on the job” for hours and hours are meaning losses. If you want to install a solid DR plan for your desktops without complexity and large Capex, consider DaaS. It’s simple, affordable and without complexity. With DaaS you desktops will never go out of business and your employee’s productivity will not suffer from a small or even gigantic storm.

25 Feb 2015

True Value of Cloud

True Value of Cloud is most often expressed in the opportunity to shift Capex to Opex. Although this is a massive advantage and very often the number-one reason for companies to embrace Cloud, there is more than meets to eye.

 

The easiest take and the true Cloud USP is a focus on the old Capex versus Opex approach. Adopting Cloud and avoiding hardware and software purchases will save money, right? Yes it will! But there is more to look at. Real good things are not always obvious.

To determine true business value of Cloud there are no strict rules or solid models that apply everywhere and every time. As always, it’s a matter of understanding your business and the impact that any new technology can and will have on your business.

Cloud computing is no different.

 

The traditional Capex – Opex balance is loosing importance a bit. A Pure financial approach to Cloud is never a good one and is most of the time a too black and white reasoning.

Updated best practices for finding cloud value

For sure, the Capex – Opex balance still resides on the northern part of your list but when you start to determine how much value you gain from the increased agility and time-to-market, which are core benefits of cloud-based platforms, things really fall into place.

 

Companies too often look at Cloud as a pure financial or pure technical project. When you consider the value of agility and time-to-market as a value attribute to your business, this is when the picture starts to be more complete.  Surely, the value of agility and compressing time-to-market is dependent upon the type of organization you are and the weight your organization puts on it. But when you start to factor in the advantages of easy and flexible IT resource deployment the value of Cloud becomes different, even better than you ever imagined. Where traditional IT always was a burden and its inflexibility often delayed or even made projects impossible, Cloud lets you deploy IT resources when and where you need them without any limitation. Think about seasonal industries that are confronted with huge swings in activities and IT needs throughout the year. Or simply, companies that have to answer to market demands when the demand is there, not when their IT allows them to act. For these companies, Cloud is a true blessing and definitely brings a lot of value to the stand.

 

Finally, think about the additional security and comfort Cloud brings to your business.

With Cloud Solutions security is complete and present all the time. There is no need to install secondary IT platforms allowing you to overcome disaster. There is no need to install additional DR processes or even DR tools. Solid Cloud platform offer you a complementary DR process that basically brings the same value as having a secondary office with a secondary IT platform with a secondary IT staff. With that difference, you do not have to pay or manage all these secondary resources. With Cloud solutions, DR is just part of the game.

 

So do not get tempted to look at a Cloud migration from a pure financial or technical issue. If you take a step back and look at the total picture of Cloud solutions, you will find out that ease-of-use, flexibility and security are the real USPs of Cloud. USPs, that are key to any type of business. Also to yours!

 

25 Feb 2015

Virtual Private Cloud

Virtual Private Cloud: The Benefits

Cloud and Server/ Desktop Virtualization are considered great value drivers. These new techniques are great for IT managers that want to keep a lock on their IT costs but want to unleash power, capacity and flexibility.

So, can we consider Cloud as the solution that fixes everything? As always, things are not that simple. We all know that public cloud is the most cost-effective cloud solution, but what about your mission-critical data that needs more security? You might not want to store that in some leaky public cloud. There are plenty of examples where data that was deemed safe turned out not so safe in the end.

To really be sure you might want to consider virtual private cloud.

VIRTUAL PRIVATE CLOUD

Virtual private cloud is a private network within public cloud infrastructure. It lets you provision a private, isolated section of cloud infrastructure where you can launch compute and storage resources on-demand in a virtual network that you define and control. Using a public cloud environment gives businesses the flexibility and benefits of a cloud, such as scalability and reduced IT costs. Adding a private network within the public cloud environment adds enhanced security features to the public cloud for sensitive company data.

Public cloud allows users to maximize utilization of their server by sharing resources within the public environment. The use of Virtual Private Clouds can be the next phase as companies look for a way to host critical data in public cloud environments.

BENEFITS OF VIRTUAL PRIVATE CLOUD

There are many benefits to using virtual private cloud as your IT solution. It is a cost-effective solution that allows businesses the security they need without the expensive infrastructure.

Key benefits virtual private cloud gives users:

  1. Scalability –
    Allows you to add resources on-demand to accommodate additional users and allows you to scale up and down as workloads change and develop.
  2. Automation –
    Removal of manual processes to dynamically provision virtual machines.
  3. Security –
    Traffic to and from your cloud infrastructure stays within the corporate firewall without crossing the Internet. Cloud administrators are able to set policies to specify which users are allowed to access cloud resources.
  4. Performance –
    Enhanced performance is a direct result of the scalability and automation components because resources are available on-demand and the infrastructure necessary to support these resources is always available.
  5. Control –
    Virtual Private Cloud allows you complete control over the data stored in a public cloud as well as incoming and outgoing traffic. Monitoring programs facilitate an overview of your environment at all times.

Only designated users are able to access the cloud environment, giving you peace of mind that you have control over the traffic moving within their cloud. Due to a reduced number of named and dedicate users performance increases. In-and-out traffic in the cloud is reduced, which stabilizes the predictability of bandwidth and provides a better performing cloud environment.

HOW TO USE VIRTUAL PRIVATE CLOUD

While you may utilize the benefits from virtual private cloud internally, you may also choose to offer this to your customers as another source of revenue. Providing virtual private cloud services to existing customers is an easy way to give your customers accessibility to a cloud environment while using resources already at your disposal. Virtual private cloud also gives your customers increased levels of scalability and the ability to customize their solution.

There are three ways to provide virtual private cloud to your customers: white label cloud, using virtual private cloud for internal business purposes or purchasing cloud infrastructure.

  1. White label cloud provides a branded public cloud solution through a wholesale model that you can offer to your customers without purchasing infrastructure.
  2. Using virtual private cloud for internal business purposes allows you to purchase a cloud environment from a provider and reduces cost by helping you consolidate infrastructure. Further, it increases security in your cloud and provides scalability for your business.
  3. Purchase cloud infrastructure, from which your customers can directly purchase virtual private cloud environments. This option also gives you the flexibility to run your internal cloud applications and servers on the same infrastructure.

CONCLUSION

Virtual private cloud provides potential for companies as a viable IT solution. For companies looking to migrate toward the cloud in a safe and secure way, this is a flexible offering that can be used in any workplace. Using virtual private cloud helps you streamline your business processes in a secure environment. Additionally, offering it to your customers creates a new revenue stream for your business and offers another, more secure solution.

 

25 Feb 2015

Cloud on Your Desk

“Cloud” is probably the most misused word in man’s history. If you have to believe commercials and relate product presentations “Cloud” is something that cleans your house, does the dishes and lets you watch television at night. Some more “down-to-earth” communications talk about “Cloud” as an on-demand market place for compute and storage resources. Although the latter is probably closer to the true definition of “Cloud”, all this scattered communication makes it very difficult for one to make up his mind. Recently also one of the biggest Cloud authorities, David Linthicum, found it necessary to clear the mudded waters in his personal blog.

Messaging from IT giants like Western Digital or Lacie does indeed not contribute to a clear and unambiguous definition of “Cloud”. You probably did see the Western Digital “Personal Cloud” or the Lacie “CloudBox”. And just maybe, you even have one of these devices sitting on your desk.

Storage companies in general and companies like Western Digital or Lacie in particular have embraced the term “Cloud” already a while ago and ranked the term pretty high in their internal marketing vocabularies. Many storage companies have brought similar products to market that let you set up your own storage cloud at home with access to files using your home network or over the Internet, even when you’re away.

 

So that is Cloud? – An external hard-disk sitting on your desk, accessible over the Internet. That’s the cloud, right? Wrong.

 

As much as these products tend to make you believe that you just bought your own personal Cloud, these products are just network-attached storage (NAS) devices, not cloud storage. Of course the word “just” is not 100% appropriate as these “personal Clouds” are actually very handy, calling them “clouds” is a bridge too far. That is probably due to Marketing who always has a very loose view on reality and tends to creates its own reality in order to generate some demand. And most of the time this not-so-correct-representation wins from the 100%accuracy.

Of course, the word “cloud” has been so misused in the last years that it’s beginning to lose its true meaning. Indeed, the application of the term “cloud” to pretty much everything is adding to the confusion, mostly for those who don’t yet understand what a cloud is. And surprisingly there are still a bunch of us who do not yet see clear.

 

Cloud computing is about the ability to share compute, storage, applications, databases, middleware, and so on, using platforms that can share physical resources between many users (aka tenants). In a more simple approach you could say that Cloud Computing is a world in which you use somebody else’s software running somebody else’s computers using somebody else’s storage in somebody else’s datacenter.

What’s more, true clouds typically use auto- and self-provisioning, auto-scaling, and on-demand provisioning and de-provisioning of any number of resources. Cloud orchestration so to speak.

These features will typically no be available on the hard disk you just installed on your desk.

What about Private Clouds, you say? With Private Clouds you are not sharing with other tenants and you are not using somebody else’s recourses. If these are considered as Cloud as well than why can simple NAS storage not be considered a cloud? You are obviously free to call your NAS a Cloud, but again private clouds should have similar characteristics as public clouds. Some do, most don’t. The disk on your desk certainly does not.

All of the above contribute to the devaluation of the definition of “Cloud”. Unfortunately this trend will only become stronger with the buzz of Cloud getting louder.

 

Virtual Desktops

Virtual Desktops are often presented as the next best thing to sliced bread. You probably think that this is somewhat over the top. But if you look closer, Virtual Desktops can solve many of your today’s challenges.

As business owners demand a lower total cost of ownership, better security, greater mobility and a more agile IT infrastructure, the traditional desktop model is defaulting on most of these requirements.

Not identifying your exact requirements while moving towards Virtual Desktops is however your best recipe for failure.

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) hasn’t replaced traditional desktops and laptops in the way that server virtualization has replaced physical servers, but most industry observers acknowledge that desktop virtualization use cases do offer a large additional value compared to traditional desktop and laptop delivery.

To help you deploy virtual desktops for the right reasons, here are some examples of common desktop virtualization use cases.

Disaster recovery

As business continuity and disaster recovery plans are gaining importance, IT managers increasingly rely on desktop virtualization to provide on-demand access at a failover site. Traditionally, businesses looking at full disaster recovery would store PC inventory at a secondary, stand-by facility where users could come and work in the event that the primary location was unavailable.

With virtualization, IT managers can provision thousands of desktops in a virtual environment, quickly providing access to applications in the event that worker access to primary endpoints is not possible.

In addition, virtual desktops and modern remote display protocols enable users to gain access to their desktops and applications remotely. Now that mobile devices provide nearly ubiquitous Internet access, workers expect to be able to connect to corporate systems anywhere, anytime via multiple consumer devices.

Security

The increasing mobility of users and their devices makes it harder for IT managers to manage physical desktops and laptops. Viruses, to name one security treath have become more complex and difficult to detect. Pro+ Desktop virtualization can improve the security of data at rest.

Both physical and virtual machines still have the same Windows operating system, applications and network vulnerabilities. However, desktop virtualization can improve the security of data at rest. Company data on laptops or desktops is no longer stored in unsecured environments; it is now stored within the walls of the data center.

In addition, using multiple operating system instances or application virtualization technologies can isolate applications. Separate virtual desktop environments can be used to access sensitive data, providing an additional layer of separation and security.

Non-persistent desktops can revert the desktop operating system and applications back to a known-good state. IT-controlled virtual desktops in the data center can be more reliably updated with antivirus signature files, patches and updates. Data from desktops can be backed up or collected with electronic discovery systems.

Bring your own device

With bring your own device (BYOD), worker-owned, external devices are being brought into the company network, and some users prefer personal devices over corporate-provided ones. Desktop virtualization can provide an alternative path to accessing applications while relieving IT managers from having to support the endpoints themselves. Subsidizing partial costs for users who choose to bring their own devices could reduce the capital expense of user laptops and desktops.

Management

Reducing the total cost of ownership of desktops and laptops is a key objective for IT departments. Traditional desktop and laptop management systems can add significant complexity and increase the cost of supporting users. Plus, managing those desktops and laptops can require numerous applications, including those for application deployment, inventory, OS management and antivirus protection. Virtualization makes it easier to centrally manage and support users’ desktops. Plus, you have more control over app deployment, user access and other management tasks.