At its annual event in Las Vegas yesterday, Amazon’s Andy Jassy desktop announced that he company would enter the virtualization market and offer Windows-based desktops from its cloud servers.
Burnaby-based Teradici, which recently secured the 12th position on this year’s Deloitte Technology Fast 50, may soon be helping you declutter your office.
The Bring Your own Device movement has thrown a wrinkle into the neat plans of companies who had already thought they solved problems of security and portability in their virtual private networks.
It was all well and good when employees were restricted to using a company’s intranet on site. Now that they’re required to access company email out of the office, at a conference centre or in a hotel room let’s say, the arrival of Desktop as a Service (DaaS) may mean the end of computer towers in the office.
Another problem is latency and bandwidth. To meet that challenge, Amazon’s WorkSpaces (AWS) cloud-based enterprise desktop solution has licensed PCoIP technology from Teradici. Replacing desktop towers and noisy office servers with workstations consisting of nothing more than a monitor and keyboard may seem like kind of a dream for most enterprises.
What does this mean for the enterprise? Picture fewer employees who can concentrate a lot less on the nuts and bolts of servers and failing hard drives and more on their jobs. Costs are further reduced in that you’re not running those servers in some hellishly overheated office broom closet.
PCoIP works in such a way that files and data are not kept locally. Pixels are transmitted instead. In transmission, PCoIP compresses as necessary the pixels from a cloud server and then decompresses, decrypts and displays the pixels on your local screen. What the end user is looking at on their monitor, then, are pixels, or a representation of each user’s desktop and files. And because it’s just pixels, the desktop virtualization is device agnostic (PC or Mac), although Amazon WorkSpace is built to resemble Windows 7, with Internet Explorer 9 and the latest version of Firefox. The compression can be lossless for files that require absolute fidelity, such as medical images.
We can all think of an office environment containing that one guy who can only use Windows XP, Service Pack 1, and IE 6. Handling custom jobs like him may be essential to the future success of DaaS, given that one-size-fits-all may not be workable across every organization.
Amazon WorkSpaces ought to come as a relief to most companies’ IT staff, though, providing as it does a plug-n-play solution to the previous model of each company buying and maintaining on-site servers and then having to deal with all the headaches around service interruptions and frustrated employees who simply crave a smooth end-user experience.
Essentially, you’re offloading these infrastructure concerns to Amazon. Once the Amazon Virtual Private Cloud is set up, the IT staff’s main job becomes one of administrative control, adding or subtracting authorized users and controlling their relative degrees of access via the AWS Management Console.