New industries are adopting Cloud technology everyday. Even industries that are traditionally cautious are beginning to turn to the Cloud. Some maritime shipping services have recently made this leap as well. They are using SaaS to make operations, communications and collaboration easier among their global workforce. http://www.wsj.com/articles/cloud-computing-gains-traction-in-cargo-shipping-industry-1430860672
Some shipping companies are using SaaS to help reduce their fuel costs, which is the single largest costs for shipping companies. There are cloud based programs that allow them to access up-to-date prices from various sources with an estimated cost reduction of 3-5%.
The Cloud has also proved itself useful when a company needs to add to a fleet. The construction of these massive container ships is usually outsourced and can take two years to complete. Cloud based systems give the contractor a way to keep companies up-to-date on construction and receive feedback or make changes.
New companies are constantly moving to Saas, Software as a Service and DaaS, Desktops as a Service along with various other Cloud services. Businesses are finding that this technology is a way to gain better control of costs and have the most current view of their company. The Cloud gives companies a chance to expand like never before.
Technology terms are often broken down into acronyms to make things easier. Cloud based services have become known as “aaS” or “as a service” offerings. It is the letter before aaS that tells you what is being hosted and as a group they are know as XaaS or “Anything as a Service.” Unfortunately, it is often difficult to know which service is right for you. http://searchvirtualdesktop.techtarget.com/feature/XaaS-products-at-your-service
IaaS is Infrastructure as a Service. This is when all hardware, software, servers, storage and other parts of infrastructure are provided for you by a hosting company. Your provider can offer desktop virtualization and manage administrative tasks while scaling to fit your needs.
PaaS or Platform as a Service delivers applications via the Internet. Your provider will host all of the hardware and software needed for the development of your application.
For Software as a Service, SaaS providers host applications for your customers to access via the internet. Users receive only the application and will not have a full desktop.
DaaS is Desktop as a Service. A cloud service provider will supply you with data storage, backup, security and upgrades. Your hosted virtual desktop is available anytime and from anywhere.
This variety of services allows for maximum customization. These services are available on a subscription basis so that you pay for only what you need.
Citrix recently surveyed more than 2,000 partners in over 25 countries. They asked about the trends that they are seeing among their customers. The responses give us a view of the future of DaaS and the growth of virtual desktops. Over 30 percent of these service partners are projecting growth between 16 and 50 percent over the next 12 months. http://www.crn.com/slide-shows/cloud/300073813/citrix-survey-is-daas-the-next-big-thing.htm
Small Business Boom
“The appeal of DaaS for smaller businesses is driven by the ability to outsource line-of-business applications and desktop management to a service provider, combined with the fact that DaaS-hosted workspace packages can be delivered for a predictable monthly cost,” Citrix reported.
Small businesses are embracing virtual desktops in a big way. Among the responding MSPs in Citrix’s survey, 70 percent say that their average customer is from a company of less than 100 employees and 40 percent of those companies are even smaller at less than 50 employees.
The markets that are most widely using DaaS are varied and somewhat surprising. Citrix revisited results from a similar December 2011 survey. At that time, DaaS was most widely used by healthcare, legal, public sector/government, and manufacturing. The results are even more varied in the most recent survey and show the vast appeal of hosted desktops. Financial Services currently make up 13 percent with Healthcare, Manufacturing, Construction/architecture/engineering, and Government/Public Sector rounding out the top five.
Is DaaS The Next Big Thing?
The survey results show that the DaaS market is rapidly expanding and is global. As the market grows, so do the offering from Service Providers. The ability to customize and bundle DaaS products is opening the doors for new vertical markets to adopt these practices and rapidly expand the customer base.
OK, so many of you have seen this picture circulating around the web recently and the point beyond the humor is that many Mac users also need access to Windows applications because there isn’t a Mac or web based application available or the Mac version lacks the full features of the Windows version. Not a slam to Mac users/lovers just a reality to common applications like Quickbooks or even addins for Salesforce.com.
- Client Hypervisors
Traditionally some have run applications like Parallels or VMware Fusion (see a comparison here published by Parallels) but these require a separate virtual machine running on your Mac. These applications are not for the non-technical user since they require installation of their virtual machine on your Mac along with a full Windows installation. And yes, there’s the license of their app along with the rather expensive full Windows OS license cost as well.
- Hosted Virtual Desktops
A hosted virtual desktop approach may be a simpler approach since there is no client hypervisor to install and no Microsoft OS installation or license cost. Yes, there are separate DaaS (Desktop as a Service) costs but access from the Mac is a simple browser login making it very simple for Mac users. The hosted virtual desktop is also available from multiple devices including Macs, PCs, iPads, and Android tablets making the application access available from anywhere and not just installed on a single device.
Real world examples
Many of our customers at ICC Global Hosting are using their Macs to access their hosted virtual desktop or hosted application and for most of these their Mac is their primary but not only device with commonly a secondary iPad device for mobile or home use. In some cases these are BYOD users who prefer to use their own personal Mac at home but more often just people who have selected a Mac as their primary device at work and need to get to core Windows based line of business applications or applications that only run on Internet explorer. I have previously discussed the benefits of a Hosted IE browser, “Running Internet Explorer on your iPad or Android Tablet for Apps that require specific browser settings”.
Gartner study sites hybrid cloud growth
In the October 3, 2013 FierceCIO article “Hybrid cloud deployments on the way up, says Gartner” author Paul Mah cites the recent Gartner study where Gartner’s analyst, Thomas Bittman, states “nearly half of all large enterprises will have a hybrid cloud deployment by the end of 2017.”
Bittman also states, “While the majority of midsize and large enterprises will build and deploy private cloud services over the next few years, private cloud will only be used for specific, appropriate services.”
What’s a hybrid cloud?
According to SearchCloudComputing “a hybrid cloud is a cloud computing environment in which an organization provides and manages some resources in-house and has others provided externally. The hybrid approach allows a business to take advantage of the scalability and cost-effectiveness that a public cloud computing environment offers without exposing mission-critical applications and data to third-party vulnerabilities.”
Hybrid clouds are great for Hosted Virtual Desktops and Hosted Virtual Applications?
Now that the Cloud is not a new concept and Enterprises are starting to adopt use of the Cloud, organizations are choosing the best solution for wide adoption. Most organizations cannot make the numbers work on an internal VDI implementation, and why would they if they can go buy DaaS as a more cost effective solution and focus their internal resources on higher value key applications. Common line of business apps are better hosted in the Cloud. The ease of implementation without acquired assets more than justifies the Cloud for line of business apps. Often, a LOB manager can make a Cloud decision with little or no IT involvement which is a win for everyone. Some large internal applications, for example ERP, are often so customized and delicate they’re better off running in a private cloud or on-site.
Our customers have seen tremendous advantages in using Hosted Virtual Desktops and saved tons of money compared to building their own VDI. We commonly host LOB Apps as Hosted Virtual Applications which eliminates the need for building servers, getting IT approval, and keeps the application purchase decision in the LOB’s hands.
Small and medium businesses have already figured this out
Enterprises have been slow to adopt the Cloud and commonly the ones to misconstrue virtualization or co-location as the Cloud. I have previously written about this but Enterprises are starting to catch-up. Of course Gartner doesn’t generally write to or about the SMB or SME markets but many of these smaller organizations have found tremendous value in the Cloud with Hosted Virtual Desktops and Hosted Virtual Applications.
It’s great to see analysts predicting hybrid cloud growth but the key thing here is Enterprises are finally adopting the Cloud.
Why Small Businesses use Managed Service Providers
Small business runs on technology and in many cases it’s the technology that gives them a competitive advantage over their larger competitors so there’s a high value for IT and IT support for small businesses. However, most small businesses can’t afford a full time employee to manage their computers and servers so they turn to a local Managed Service Provider (MSP) to do what most people refer to as “Break / Fix” services. In other words, a person they can call to fix something when it breaks. That’s a pretty reactive approach and often by the time a computer breaks the business owner is in the lurch for a quick fix and may have already lost his data when the computer broke.Then at the mercy of the repair guy, the fix is always an unexpected and unwelcome expense. So the MSP industry has evolved to also provide a maintenance agreement to remotely monitor your computers to help predict when something may be going wrong and in some cases fix things without coming to your office and crawling under your desk.
So for the small business owner, the MSP is now engaged and watching out for them and paying the MSP for both the “Break / Fix” plus the maintenance agreement. Certainly more proactive but still stuck in the cycle of having desktops and servers in the office with updates, upgrades, and hardware replacement that needs to be done. And don’t forget the concerns about your business stopping when the server crashes, the power fails, or there’s some other emergency in your building. Things that keep you up at night.
Along Comes the Cloud
Cloud Computing is a topic at every trade conference and small businesses have been leaders in adopting the Cloud. As I have previously written, SMBs are embracing the Cloud, “SMBs are Winning the Cloud with Cloud Mobility while Enterprise Cloud Adoption Laggers“, and even more so are start-ups, “Start-ups use DaaS to start their business in the Cloud“. Just imagine the business agility a start-up has if they have no investment in servers and give their employees the choice of working from a PC, Mac, or any device they want to use. The biggest benefit of the Cloud is purchasing only the resources you need and getting rid of on-site servers and all of those server related things that keep you up at night. If you have a “server room” like the one in the picture, you could eliminate the tangle of wires and extension cords by moving to the Cloud. No more concerns about back-ups, power, security, or buying a new server. You may also gain some storage space.
What Your MSP Isn’t Telling You
What your MSP may not be telling you is you can simplify your life, reduce your exposure, increase your security and business continuity, and even reduce you costs by dumping your servers and moving your applications and desktop support to the cloud. This may not be good news for your friend the MSP since there will be less “Break / Fix” work to be done and much less management. For most SMBs the server in the closet is running Microsoft’s Small Business Server which is running a domain controller, Active Directory, Exchange, and acting as a file server. In addition, there may be a couple of applications like QuickBooks, CRM, or some other line of business application. This can all very simply be moved to the Cloud and none of this needs to be on-site. Once this is moved to the Cloud, these applications and your users won’t be tied to the office either with all of the applications security available from a Hosted Virtual Desktop on any device over the Internet. Your data and back-ups will all be managed in a secure data center and with the data center redundancies you don’t have to worry about servers crashing or ever buying another server, ever! All of your applications and desktop support managed in the Cloud by a Cloud Service Provider. Security, business continuity, and less stress all allowing you to sleep better at night.
Is Cloud Computing Right for Your Business?
Determining whether or not Cloud Computing is right for you is not too complicated and in a previous post, “How to Select a DaaS Provider“, I discussed some of the things to consider. However, your MSP might not be the best person to ask if they are not equipped to provide Cloud services. If they were the ones who turned your closet into a server room, you may need to look for a Cloud Service Provider who is used to managing clients from a data center. Hosted Virtual Desktops and Application Hosting can all be provided in the Cloud from a data center and you can eliminate servers and on-site support.
If you’d like to consider whether the Cloud is right for your business, please contact ICC Global Hosting at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website, at www.iccglobalhosting.com, to learn about how we have moved other small businesses to the Cloud.
ICC salutes the many Georgian telecommuters.
Once again this year we’d like to join the The Clean Air Campaign in promoting telecommuting across Georgia, and everywhere. The Fourth annual Telework Week runs from August 19th to 23rd, 2013. Over 260 Georgian companies have joined the effort to promote the benefits of telecommuting.
Attend a local Georgia Telework Summit event near you.
64% of managers surveyed agreed telework provides their organizations with a competitive advantage. Why? Because telework is a business strategy that can improve productivity and morale while reducing facilities costs. While companies like Yahoo! are suspending their programs, employers in Georgia are expanding their efforts, with access to free resources via Georgia Commute Options to help start, expand or refresh formal telework programs. Attend a summit to learn firsthand about the best ways to start or expand a telework program at your workplace. Hear from public and private sector employers about unique strategies that made their programs succeed. There is no cost to attend either event. For more details and registration go to http://www.gacommuteoptions.com/Employer-Services/Telework-Compressed-Work-Week-and-Flextime-Consulting/Telework/Support-Georgia-Telework-Week-2013.
Enable Telecommuting with Hosted Virtual Desktops
Of course the key to telecommuting is providing your employees with the tools to be productive from their home office and what better way than with a Hosted Virtual Desktop. A hosted virtual desktop provides a telecommuting employee with secure access to their full desktop, corporate applications, and all of their data for their home computer, laptop, or tablet. So whether your company supports full-time telecommuting, part-time telecommuting, or just a BYOD program for the occasional telecommuter, a hosted virtual desktop is a cost effective and secure solution.
ICC Global Hosting Supporting Telecommuters
Many of our customers’ employees telecommute as do many of ICC’s employees to some degree. We host desktops for several virtual companies, companies without a centralized office, and a see the demand for mobility and telecommuting as top drivers for our growth. For those of you considering a telecommuting program, ICC can help you with:
- Secure remote access to all applications and data otherwise available inside the office.
- A scaleable approach to offer our services for those who need it. You don’t have to virtualize everyone at once. You only pay for as many as you need.
- No upfront costs for infrastructure so you can start small and grow as you want one user at a time.
- A consistent end user experience. The hosted virtual desktop looks just like your office desktop which means no additional training.
- We can support almost any user device so you don’t have to buy everyone a laptop and we can support PCs, Macs, and tablets.
Leveraging the Cloud for Telecommuting
The employer incentives and employee benefits are great for everyone participating in telecommuting programs. Jump start and simplify your telecommuting program through leveraging the Cloud and using Hosted Virtual Desktops.