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vCloud Powered Services

vCloud Powered Services

 

Organizations of all types can employ VMware vCloud Powered Services to create a true hybrid cloud environment. These services leverage the same VMware technology architecture and platform that many big enterprises have used to build their own virtualized data centers. Thus, vCloud Powered Services enable IT to provision public cloud resources easily that are compatible with their present infrastructure, in addition to securely and quickly extending their internal virtualized infrastructure into the public cloud.

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Creating a secure public cloud using vCloud Powered services

vCloud Powered Services are built using VMware vCloud Director and VMware vSphere. This distinct combination provides total multi-level security and a multitenant architecture that decreases complexity and ensures policy implementation that’s consistent with your internal datacenter.

When you consider the hypervisor level, VMware’s ESXi hypervisor guarantees complete isolation of virtual machines and storage. With respect to applications, VMware vCloud Security and Networking offers application-aware firewalling, access controls that are role-based, and zone as well as policy enforcement. When it comes to network-level protections, you get to enjoy web load balancing, comprehensive perimeter security, prevention of cross-tenant leakage, site-to-site VPN and other relevant services for streamlined operations. Another notable VMware benefit is vCloud Director’s Layer 2 isolation of application and network tiers, which allows vCloud Powered Services to run both next-generation and legacy applications.

Using vCloud Powered Services to enjoy compatible hybrid clouds

vCloud Powered Services can help enterprises handle their periodic spikes in demand, which could often be difficult to predict in advance. Thus, you can get ready resources, right when you need them, to deliver value to lines of business as well as the end users, in a much more affordable manner and with rapid speed by using vCloud Powered Services. With complete VMware compatibility, you can transport your applications and data between your vCloud Powered infrastructure and datacenter. Even administering your hybrid cloud would become easier, thanks to an integrated “single pane of glass” management structure. You can leverage VMware vCloud Connector console to move your vApps, virtual machines and templates back and forth quickly between your vCloud Powered Services and internal datacenter.

Other use cases

vCloud Powered services can be optimized to fulfill a wide variety of demands – starting from those related to testing and development to the ones in the domain of technical support, training, transient and seasonal workloads, disaster recovery, batch processing, start-up environments, and practically almost any other use case.

Assess your business demands today and search for a vCloud service provider that offers the kind of services you need.

Choosing PCoIP or RDP

Choosing PCoIP or RDP

 

Before choosing PCoIP or RDP, it’s important to know what they are and how they are different.

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PCoIP

PCoIP or PC-over-IP refers to a display protocol that permits total compression of a desktop, which is then displayed using a zero client device over a standard IP network. In desktop virtualization, there are a number of display protocols in existence such as ICA, RDP, PCoIP and RGS. Those looking for delivering remote desktops and applications to endpoints have shown preference for PCoIP. This technology is powering the new virtual workplace by promising to deliver state-of-the-art, uncompromising virtual desktop experience.

PCoIP technology eliminates the need for local CPU power, and just transports the image of software running on a central workstation or server to any end-point that’s PCoIP-ready. The image pixels are encrypted and compressed by the central source’s PCoIP, and then transmitted quickly to PCoIP end-user devices. These devices decrypt, decompress and exhibit the image on a screen. When you consider a user’s viewpoint, there is no differentiation between a zero client using PCoIP to receive the image of the software running, and using a local computer loaded with software to handle the work.

RDP

It is used for communication between the Terminal Server Client and the Terminal Server. With RDP or Remote Desktop Protocol, a remote user can add a graphical interface to another computer’s desktop. This secure network communications protocol is designed for Windows-based applications that run on a server. It facilitates encryption and application data transfer security between devices, client users and a virtual network server. Network administrators can use RDP to remotely identify and resolve problems faced by individual subscribers.

Which one to choose?

While the primary advantage of PCoIP is superior quality of display and speed, that of RDP is the availability of common protocol on some restrict network. Though they are different, you can’t call either to be better than the other when deciding on choosing PCoIP or RDP.

Your choice should be based on your requirements and how well either PCoIP or RDP meets them. You should opt for PCoIP if any of the following are applicable in your case:

  • You are using a high-speed connection and bandwidth isn’t a problem.
  • You want to display better quality videos, graphics and sound.

Choosing RDP would be a good decision if either of these is true for you:

  • You are unaware of your network quality; in such a case, set RDP would be a better choice than PCoIP.
  • Quality of sound, graphics and video isn’t an issue.

When Should You Use Thin Clients

When Should You Use Thin Clients

 

Despite many benefits offered by thin clients, not everyone can use them, especially where workers have mobility requirements or need local compute resources. Also, companies with an infrastructure, which is not VDI or Session based, and have limited capacity in their existing solutions, will need to consider these factors while planning deployment of thin clients.

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Question to ask

To decide the number of thin clients that need to be deployed, you should ask the following questions:

  • Will the targeted users stay connected to the network all the time?
  • What features will these users need (full audio and video, USB, 3D etc.)?
  • What’s the existing capacity of VDI and Session based virtualization infrastructure?
  • When the users aren’t connected to the corporate network, will they need to run local productivity based applications?
  • How will I manage (or what contingency plans do I have) to deal with a network outage?
  • Can I get thin clients from my existing vendors or do I need to consider additional partnerships for the purpose?

Depending on your answers to these questions, you can evaluate how many and which thin client devices will support the needs of your thin client users. It’s important to remember here that not all thin clients are fashioned the same way. Many hardware companies offer different models that support a wide variety of features, based on specific, support-only solutions, different OS etc, which are made available at varied price points.

Additional factors to consider

When assessing thin client devices, you should also consider the following factors:

  • Zero Clients: These are just I/O terminals with no local storage or operating system. They depend on the server for all their translation and computing capabilities.
  • Functionality: Traditional thin client and zero client devices are basically single purpose devices. They must always be network connected, and aren’t designed to run local productivity applications.
  • Management: As compared to a PC, thin clients need lesser management. However, they can’t be categorized as “nil management” since they also need security updates and firmware. Therefore, it’s wise to select a thin client that can be incorporated with your existing management tools and strategies.
  • Cost: Though conventional thin clients help you cut down on operational and management costs, they are still associated with an upfront acquisition cost and need VDA licensing for virtual desktop infrastructure. Based on the device and its capability, the cost of a thin client could be same as that of a low end PC. Also, your thin client would cost more if it has additional functionality suh as built-in multimedia capability to process high fidelity graphics locally.

Therefore, keep all these factors in mind while choosing a thin client for your company to ensure that it meets your computing and application needs.

Decreasing Hardware Management Problems with VDI Thin Clients

Decreasing Hardware Management Problems with VDI Thin Clients

 

The reasons driving the preference for thin client deployments have changed over time. While cost savings was a significant factor earlier, today’s enterprises are choosing thin clients because they want easier endpoint management. IT experts believe that in a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), hardware issues can be reduced by using thin clients to replace old PCs. Though some thin client device vendors may also promise cost reductions, it may not be always possible with thin clients’ additional back-end storage and network requirements. Still, VDI thin clients can decrease hardware management problems and make the job easier for IT to handle.

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Enhanced usability

Virtual desktop users and IT – both have an increasing need for greater convenience. Thin client devices available today can address this need. Be it USB-based peripheral support or empowering users to use authenticated smart cards for accessing the desktop and applications, a lot is made possible by the new-age thin clients.

Enhanced security

Many thin clients today just need the end users to simply log in with their credentials, and they aren’t involved in anything except that. For enhanced security, systems administrators can lock the device, thus ensuring that users are able to connect only to the corporate network.

With no OS, no user data is stored locally, which may later become compromised or vulnerable to threats like malware and virus etc. What’s more, users can’t download anything onto the device as there’s no local storage of data. This makes the device a highly secure one. For private and public deployments that need reliable data security, thin client devices act as highly secure endpoints.

Easier management

Since thin clients are normally configured by the OEM, IT can set them up quickly. They also have fewer management and security updates as local applications and data are limited. Thanks to the presence of fewer moving parts, thin clients are durable and less prone to failure, which ensures lower cost of ownership.

Flexibility

VDI thin clients have become more flexible, driven by the change in users’ needs. You can use management software for some devices to make them fit for handling jobs that require advanced capabilities.

As several IT shops these days are focusing on delivering individual applications instead of full virtual desktops, the thin client market too would benefit from taking this route and addressing such specialized needs. However, convenience and homogeneity are still the focal points for customers who choose thin clients.

Thin Client vs. Zero Client

Thin Client vs. Zero Client

 

Both zero clients and thin clients are solid state computing devices, which are especially designed for a server based typology, usually associated with desktop virtualization (VDI). But despite some similarities, they have many different characteristics which are important to distinguish.

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Let’s take a look at the differences between thin clients and zero clients:

  • Configuration: Generally, a template from previous thin client configurations is used to configure a current thin client. This makes device management simpler for a lone IT administrator. In comparison to thin clients, zero clients have a relatively simpler and shorter configuration. With respect to software updates, those for thin clients are more frequent and larger, thanks to their extensive features, while the ones for zero clients are typically minute.
  • Connection type: Thin clients typically have multiple VDI connection brokers, which are managed with a centralized utility to ensure efficient maintenance and application of updates to the connection brokers. Only one or two connection types (such as VMware or Citrix) are used to run zero clients.
  • Flexibility: For VDI implementation, many people opt for thin client devices as they offer great flexibility. Depending on your business’s quickly evolving desktop requirements, thin client devices are capable of changing connection brokers (for example, from VMware to Citrix). Zero clients, on the other hand, are preferred primarily for a robust video experience as they are finely tuned for the purpose.
  • Task capabilities: Thin clients, apart from being flexible, are designed to meet the requirements of the individual end-user. Depending on the end-user’s needs, IT managers can just drag and drop the proper applications to the thin client, which the former can access easily. Starting from simple Microsoft Office applications for the everyday user to complex graphic design applications for the advanced user, a lot can be handled easily by the end-user this way. Thin clients also have the ability for installed applications such as email clients, browsers and office/PDF viewers, apart from connectivity to any legacy client server application. However, zero clients will only have applications that the desktop server provisions to them. From handling the most graphic demanding applications to supporting the highest quality multi-media, these devices can do it all. Those who want to use quad monitors without sacrificing precision will find their ideal solution in zero clients.

Usually, people looking for the truest desktop experience opt for well-rounded, highly flexible thin clients, while those who want outstanding graphics capability along with easy management, fast boot-up and ultra-low power choose to deploy a zero client. 

Features of Thin Clients

Features of Thin Clients

 

Basically, all thin clients can be considered as diskless computers, which are linked to a server-based computing network. People using thin clients can experience the same level of flexibility and productivity as that of PC users.

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Here are some features of thin clients:

  • Integrated ICA (Independent Computing Architecture), RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol), or other protocol for server-based computing;
  • USB, optional I/O for printers, I/O for mouse and keyboard, in addition to other peripherals;
  • An Ethernet connection and optional support for wireless LANs;
  • A video processor ideal for working with strong graphics and colors, which is considered to be an important improvement from the dumb terminal;
  • Centralized software deployment and management, which makes handling IT administration easier and ensures better security;
  • Solid-state construction, with absence of moving sections such as disk drives or fans, which help in a higher degree of reliability and results in a longer life; and
  • Absence of disk drives and use of firmware-based software, which make thin clients less vulnerable to malware or viruses.

Let us take a closer look at some thin client terminals and their features.

  • Basic Thin Client Terminals: They feature a proprietary OS that delivers simple server-based computing in a thin-client setting. Here, all application processing, which include web browsing, takes place on the server. With no local processing, along with availability of limited peripheral options (and some terminal emulations), this locked-down operating system makes basic terminals the most safe thin clients. They are ideal for transaction-based or task-based users who have a persistent network connection (such as workers in the healthcare industry, or those working in kiosks in the service and retail environments).
  • Robust Thin Client Terminals: They feature all the capabilities of basic thin clients along with some extra power and functionality. Thanks to their performance and efficiency of a local browser, these thin clients function well for transaction-based or task-based jobs. Workers who need to access the Internet or web-based applications (such as call center employees, retail users and customer service representatives) can also benefit from such thin client terminals.
  • Flexible Thin Client Terminals: They are very powerful for local processing, thanks to a powerful OS, and can be used for top-line colors and graphics. They can be custom configured to meet the exact requirements of any application. They provide the perfect solution for users in businesses like retail operations, airlines and package delivery services.
  • Linux Thin Client Terminals: Due to the adaptability of open source operating system, they are the most flexible among all thin clients. While a basic terminal can be powered by an extremely thin version of Linux, a complete featured version can create a Flexible (Line of Business or LOB) terminal, which can be customized to meet most business requirements. Since the Linux OS is intrinsically internet friendly, the Linux Thin Client is easier to integrate into web-centric settings.

Benefits of Thin Clients

Benefits of Thin Clients

 

According to some recent studies, a steady surge in the worldwide use of thin clients has been reported. With the increasing emphasis on access to data anytime and from anywhere, while keeping the data secure and decreasing the costs, thin clients have come to the forefront as the perfect solution. If you too are worried about the expenses associated with security, data access and PC replacement, and have been thinking about desktop virtualization, you can consider using purpose-built thin client endpoints for the purpose.

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Here are some benefits that you can enjoy by choosing thin clients:

  • Keeping your users happy: With thin clients, even your biggest power users such as those working with data-intensive applications, can get their jobs done – securely and reliably. Thanks to the technological advancements, users anywhere in the world can, at any time, enjoy a desktop workstation-like experience.
  • Security: You can secure your data and applications stored on your server when using thin clients. This way, if these data and applications are lost, damaged or stolen, you can easily replace them. Since thin clients have no hard drive, they offer the perfect solution for businesses that need to comply with laws like Sarbanes-Oxley or HIPAA, or conform to certain security standards like those from Trusted Computing Group.
  • Proper control and management: With a centralized server in the datacenter, thin clients ensure proper management. This is because there are fewer points of failure and data as well as applications become less susceptible to malware and viruses. Since thin clients are easy to deploy (in as much as 10 minutes), you will just need a remote desktop software or web browser to connect thin clients to your server. What’s more, irrespective of whether you want a simple Windows environment or single-application kiosks, you can easily customize client desktops for your users.
  • Reliable: Thin clients can keep your business unaffected even when sudden events such as emergencies or natural disasters occur. Since they have no hard drive or other moving parts, they are more durable and have a comparatively longer lifespan than standard computers.
  • Energy-efficient: As compared to traditional, heat-generating desktops, thin clients have lower cooling costs and energy costs, which help you to enjoy significant savings in power usage. With a longer lifespan, easy management, greater degree of reliability and security, thin clients offer a lower cost of ownership. Thus, with lower TCO, you can enjoy big annual savings.

So, use thin clients to move your workload from a PC to a server and start enjoying the benefits as listed above.

Thin Client – Know All About It

Thin Client – Know All About It

 

A thin client refers to a compact endpoint device that uses a connection to a server to access data remotely and brings a virtual desktop to the user. Another way to describe a thin client is that it’s a fanless, stateless desktop terminal with no hard drive. All features that you would typically find on the desktop PC, including sensitive data, applications, memory etc., are stored back in the data center, when you are using a thin client.

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More about thin clients

Used as a replacement technology for PCs, thin clients help customers get immediate access to any virtualized application or virtual desktop. With thin clients, businesses can build a virtual desktop infrastructure in a cost-effective way. All over the world, various enterprises and industries use thin clients, as they are driven by some common benefits offered by them. Thin clients offer benefits with respect to security, cost, scalability and manageability, which make them a preferred choice for many IT personnel.

With the advancement of technology, the price for each seat of a thin client deployment has dropped so much over the past few years that it has now become more cost effective than regular PCs.

How do they work?

Rather than using a hard disk, thin clients carry flash memory and run an OS locally. Since they have no local storage or hard drive, a central server is used to store all data and applications. With advanced thin client technologies, users can still enjoy the same feel and look as they do with a PC. Using thin clients, you can browse the web, perform local printing, enjoy terminal emulation, audio and serial device support, along with combining local processing with network computing.

A key component of a thin client solution is the management console, which can be installed on your server to manage all the deployed thin clients remotely. It can then clone, create, and push out the customized image to the thin client devices that are deployed. This way, IT administrators can freely access any device that is connected to the server, and push through software packages and certificates, in addition to uploading full disk images.

The potential of thin client computing has developed a lot over the past few years. Though earlier thin clients often failed to deliver the power required for high performance demands, the ones these days are capable of delivering it, thanks to technological improvements in thin client software, hardware, server technology and connection protocols.

Benefits of Datacenter Virtualization

Benefits of Datacenter Virtualization

 

With data center virtualization, you can decrease your costs on power, facilities, hardware and cooling, apart from simplifying your administration and maintenance, thus enjoying a greener IT profile.

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Listed below are some benefits of datacenter virtualization:

  • Less heat in your data center: Data center virtualization helps you to use less physical hardware by virtualizing your servers. This reduces heat buildup in your data center and helps you steer clear of several heat-related issues.
  • Cost-effective: In the data center, a significant amount is spent on hardware. Since data center virtualization permits you to use reduce the amount of hardware used, you can cut down on your costs. Virtualization also ensures less consumption of electricity, easier maintenance and lack of downtime, all of which bring significant cost savings your way in the long run.
  • Quicker redeployment: Unlike a physical server, where redeployment, in case the server dies, depends on a lot of factors (such as if you have a backup server ready; have current data on your backup server; have an image of your server etc) and takes time, virtualization ensures faster redeployment – within minutes. You can enable virtual machine snapshots with just a few clicks. With some virtual backup tools, faster redeployment of images can be done as well. Often, all these happen at such a fast pace that your end users will barely notice that there was a hitch.
  • Easier backups: Apart from helping you perform compete backups of your virtual server, data center virtualization also enables you to do snapshots and backups of your virtual machines. You can easily move these virtual machines from one server to another and redeploy them quickly and easily. Since you can take snapshots throughout the day, it ensures much more current data. Since firing up a snapshot is quicker than booting a typical server, there is a significant decrease in downtime.
  • Better testing environments: While testing, if you make a grave mistake, you need not worry as you can simply revert to a previous snapshot and move forward again as if you didn’t make the mistake. Even isolating testing environments from the end users is made possible, while still keeping these users online. Once you have tested and perfected your work, you can easily deploy it as live.

Apart from these, easier migration to cloud, better disaster recovery and environment friendliness are other benefits of data center virtualization.

Mobile Virtualization vs. Desktop Virtualization

Mobile Virtualization vs. Desktop Virtualization

 

Despite some similarities, desktop virtualization and mobile virtualization doesn’t refer to the same thing. Though some people may mistakenly think mobile virtualization to be the same as delivering virtual desktops to mobile devices, it’s not so. Unlike the past when mobile phones were just stand-alone devices, they have evolved with time and can now act as enterprise application endpoints. No wonder that today’s mobile phones can host mobile virtualization platforms and offer several benefits to the users. With mobile virtualization technology, users can get device OEMs, along with license IP isolation, enhanced portability, security and reliability, as well as hardware consolidation.

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Let’s take a closer look at how these technologies are different from each other.

Difference

Though there exist some similarities between mobile virtualization and its desktop counterpart, there are some key differences as well. To begin with, mobile phones have smaller memory capacities, which make it essential for their embedded hypervisor footprints to be slimmer. Again, mobile processors that don’t offer virtualization support in hardware need para-virtualization, where a software interface to the mobile is delivered that’s similar, but not identical to that of the underlying hardware. In other words, with para-virtualization, the virtualized OS is modified to be used on mobile devices. For mobile virtualization, hosted guest software could be anything from embedded RTOSes and enterprise OSes to stand-alone device drivers.

Benefits

Unlike managing the entire VDI in desktop virtualization, which is often a task for the IT, mobile devices usually have a specific section of the device virtualized, which is used to store corporate data. Some mobiles may even have two virtualized sections, one earmarked for work data and another one for personal facts. Thus, the job of device management in mobile virtualization becomes simpler as IT just has to handle the virtualized section of a user’s device.

Delivering virtual applications and desktops to mobile devices offers an easier way of updating, unlike shared virtual desktops where making any updates to the base image would cause the change to be reflected to all your users. However, it’s important to remember here that full-fledged virtualized applications and desktops often offer more functionality as compared to mobile app alternatives.

Many IT experts also suggest that providing virtual desktop access on mobile devices improves security. This is because corporate data stays in the data center, and not on users’ devices. Additionally, hackers can’t use a virtualized application to push through a virus.

Drawbacks

Apps made for desktops may be difficult to work with 5-inch mobiles screens. Also, file storage can be a problem as apps running in a VM or the virtualized apps often lack similar storage options as physical desktops. Again, in case of no cellular or Wi-Fi connections, work isn’t possible as workers need an internet connection to access their virtualized desktops or applications.