Monday, July 15, 2013

Cloud-Hosted Desktops: Real and Growing

A day doesn’t pass that I’m not asked (by a co-worker, partner or analyst) about whether hosted/virtual desktops delivered over the public Internet make sense.

My response usually takes an empirical approach, and cites the offers and business types that are already in-market and growing. (See related blog, How Big is the DaaS Market)

Insofar as economic pros/cons are concerned, there appear to be layers of arguments over what approach has a lower total cost of ownership, what performance is best, what infrastructure to use, etc. And I’ve decided not to pursue those areas for a number of reasons.

Why? The primary reason is because it simply doesn’t make sense to compare the capabilities of today’s cloud-hosted desktops to the capabilities of a traditional PC-delivered desktop. Believe it or not, it’s an apples-to-oranges comparison. Today’s hosted desktops enable delivery to any type of device (PC, phone, tablet, touch-device), permit device-to-device session roaming, provide superior data security/sandboxing, have global availability, and offer a great user experience to boot.  More than you get with a fixed PC.

So I decided to look at who’s currently offering what to whom… and what I found was pretty impressive.  Not only did I track a massive number of firms in the Desktop-as-a-Service (“DaaS”) market, but there were many in each geography even with vertical or industry-specific flavors (also see my Differentiate or Die blog)

Check out These Vendors

Follows are some examples of Hosted Desktop / DaaS vendors and their offers – regardless of the hardware/virtualization platform they use. (Disclosure: These are all partners of the Citrix Service Provider / CSP program)
GreenQubeHosted Office 
GreenQube offers SMBs and enterprises their GreenQube Hosted Office (desktop, apps and data) via a secure and cost effect subscription-based services. They pair the offers with a high quality customer service that monitors, manages and continually upgrades resources. The firm offers a variety of Desktop packages 
Intercept ITOnline Desktop 
Based out of the UK, Intercept IT offers a generalized DaaS offering. To paraphrase, OnlineDesktop delivers all crucial application and data needs via Intercept IT’s bespoke cloud. The remote desktop service is available anywhere there is an Internet connection. Rather than businesses having to manage a costly internal IT system, it becomes possible to effectively rent IT as a service, on a cost-per-user, per-month subscription basis. See their PDF Brochure 
MultrixHosted Desktops 
Based in Amsterdam, Multrix has a thriving business hosting 350 customers with more than 6,500 seats of their Hosted Desktop.  Their service provides all the standard applications users are accustomed to, such as Microsoft Office, Exchange, Internet Explorer (and other browsers), antivirus, antispam, WinZip, Adobe reader. In addition they support more than 350 business applications in the field of ERP, CRM, financial and more specific (industry) applications.  Multrix has an excellent case study published, courtesy of Citrix 
NasstarHosted Desktop 
Out of the UK, Nasstar’s Hosted Desktop is a generalized cloud computing solution which enables users to access their desktops, business apps and files in the cloud so they can work from anywhere on a wide range of devices. Their Hosted Desktop provides a single access point for many apps, ranging from the most commonly used - such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft Exchange email and Sage - to industry specific and bespoke apps. The company also offers a range of on-demand, published and web-based apps that can be delivered through their offerings. 
nGenx - nFinityDesktop 
Based in the US and focusing on workforce mobility, nGenx offers two primary types of desktops to SMBs and enterprises.  nFinity Advanced Desktop – powerful and fully functional desktop with user customization, streaming video capabilities, advanced productivity tools, and full access to nFinity Apps.  nFinity Basic Desktop – simple, yet effective HTML5 operability, core desktop functionality, user customization, and access to productivity apps as well as some nFinity Apps.
xCentric Managed workstations & hosted applications
One of my favorites in the US, xCentric focuses solely on one vertical: Accounting and CPA firms.  And I love their opening volley: “We focus solely on accounting firms - yes solely. We know your software, your associations, your deadlines... and are still investing in learning more about what makes a firm both tick and succeed in today's marketplace.”  And they do a great job of speaking to the firms’ business owners and administrators about why hosted desktops.   

More Resources & pointers

No comments: