Hot on the heels of data in the cloud comes a Logicalis report and its revived notion of your entire desktop in the cloud.
One Vision, One Desktop
Our data is slowly ebbing away into the cloud, no doubt about it. It might have started with Hotmail or Gmail but now documents, databases and entire contact systems are all happily living off the desktop in their enterprise 2.0 worlds. But its not exactly a new idea, almost two decades ago there was a rush to the thin client solution that hoped to see lightweight computers on all our desks with all the data and OS lurking on a server.
While this dream, largely promoted by Oracle if memory serves, never really took off in an world-defining move, it still plays a role in the marketplace, but the market keeps moving. Now, there is an acceptance of cloud-based technology that is wide spread, and a generation of workers who treat the concept of virtualization as a natural state of affairs, perhaps its time has come again.
Logicalis offered five reasons in its report for why this could happen in a recent release. Two of them -- cost and productivity -- are pretty obvious. Thin clients, or your existing gadget substituting for a PC, are cheap, and having everything in one place saves on moving files around and looking for USB sticks to copy things over. Hotdesking becomes easier and, for big companies, it can mean a reduced office and energy footprint.
The most interesting reason, in the current climate, is regulatory compliance. All enterprises are being told to get a grip on their data policies and management systems. Running everything from a central source allows both data and application rules to be centrally set and enforced.
V for Virtual
If the desktop is virtual, then admins also have a lot more control over what can be installed, which ties up with the final reasons offered by Logicalis, central backups and improved management. That also means there is less chance of data theft.
To that list, we'd add virtual desktops, meaning that if a machine breaks down, you swap it out and carry on -- none of this traveling for an hour to tech support and waiting two hours while they rebuild your machine, or worse.
Finally, the raft of new tablet, smartphone and other devices hitting the market will mean a boom for developers creating these systems and offering them to enterprises under the banner of increased security and massive savings on cheaper hardware, another potential nail in the coffin of Microsoft and other giants.
Of course, the same threats to the original thin client architecture remain today. If the cloud service goes down, so does everyone's work, and suppliers will need lots of nines in their uptime offerings of the service-level agreement to attract customers.