• What are Hosted Desktops?

    Date: 2010.05.03 | Category: Hosting Services | Response: 0

    Before you read this post please see an overview of Hosted Desktops on our website. Please also note that the information in this article is in relation to secureVirtual Hosted Desktops hosted on our SVi cloud hosting platform and as such will have a higher resilience and performance level than the industry standard. Please get in touch and we can happily explain the differences.

    So, you have read about Hosted Desktops, you are starting to get a feel for what they might be able to do – but you still aren’t quite sure what they actually are or more importantly how they could help your business. That’s fine, because the truth is, most people don’t know what they are, or how powerful they can be. The aim of this post is to give you a little bit more information about Hosted Desktops and some of the main benefits. Of course, if you are interested in this subject, you can just give us a call and talk about them (UK only) – see our website.

    What are they called?

    In this article we are calling them Hosted Desktops. However you will often see them referred to as Remote Desktops, Virtual Desktops, Remote Virtual Desktops and DaaS (Desktops as a Service). These are all names for the same thing – a centralised desktop that can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.

    How do they work?

    This of course depends on the provider and the technology they have chosen. A very common method to follow is to use Microsoft Terminal Services (note: Other popular methods are available including Citrix) and connect to the desktop via a RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) on the client device (Client device could be a PC, Laptop, thin client etc) . So, as a business you have a server environment in a datacentre which has enough power to host multiple Windows desktops, then you have client devices in your office which have nothing on them and is connected to the internet. The user then uses the internet to connect to the server and login to their desktop. The user can now work as normal but instead of using a PC to run the applications (Word, Excel etc) they are being run by the server in the datacentre and just sending screen images and mouseclicks/keyboard presses back and forth.

    What are the benefits of a Hosted Desktop solution?

    Work from anywhere:

    By having the desktop hosted centrally it does not matter where the user is located they will always login into the same desktop. So whether a user is in the office, at home, on a train or in another country. They always access the same desktop, see the same programmes and work on the same documents. This means you get true remote working. It also means that there is no need to transfer documents around the place as you always login to the same desktop. Using Hosted Desktop solutions can therefore introduce a better working environment for employee’s at the same time as improving security.

    The speed of the system is dependent on the internet connectivity available to the user. However on a standard broadband connection the user will work seamlessly. Plus with the advances with wireless internet technology (3g) users are now able to work remotely using wireless 3g cards.

    Resilience:

    By being centralised the desktops avoid the usual problems faced by the traditional PC model. If there is a power cut in your office only the client device is affected – your desktop (And therefore your work) is happily sitting in the datacentre unaffected. You just reconnect when the power is back/you get home and carry on. This is also the case if a client device fails – just replace it/move desk and log back in. Hosted Desktops introduce a supperior level of resilience for businesses who can’t afford to be offline.

    Data Security:

    By putting all of your data in a centralised environment you eliminate a huge number of risks. With the data stored in a datacentre you are protected against office fire, flood or theft. If your office does suffer a loss you have only lost the client devices. The  Hosted Desktops (And therefore the data is still sitting in the datacentre). Plus with the data kept off of the client devices you don’t have to worry about employee’s losing their laptop or USB sticks. You can of course even control the files that are allowed to be removed from the environment. All files that get removed from the environment can therefore be forced to go through scanning processes to ensure that your environment stays completely virus free – and create an audit trail if you are worried about sensitive data being leaked.

    Disaster Recovery:

    One of the biggest risks with the ‘standard’ IT approach is the risk if you have an office failure. For example if you have an office fire, all of your PC’s and comms room is destroyed – what would you do? Using a Hosted Desktop solution would take care of this by default. If you use Hosted Desktops and you have an office fire you just need to find another location, client devices and an internet connection.

    Costs:

    There are many savings to be made. Firstly from using a predictable per user per month model for the desktops, having no CapEx, as you are not buying the hosting equipment, and because you are benefiting from the economies of scale achieved in a large infrastructure. Secondly because your client devices (thin clients) can use a fraction of the electricity needed by large power hungry PC’s. Although completely business dependent, it’s possible for Hosted Desktops to achieve a 40% saving. You also benefit from not having to depreciate hardware and prepare for the 3 yearly hardware replacement cycle. Your monthly fee covers hardware upgrades.

    Scalability:

    Another big feature is the ability to scale up and down by users each month. You can add accounts easily to your network. This means for fast growing businesses there is a simple and cost predictable process to follow. It also applies when shrinking.

    Flexible Resources:

    If you need more power for your applications – it’s just a press of a button. The same applies to data storage. As a company you only pay for what you need. So if you have 100GB of document storage – just pay for 100GB and then add more when you need it. There is no need to buy 500GB and leave 400 of it empty for a year.

    Disadvantages of Hosted Desktops:

    Internet connectivity:

    To connect to a hosted desktop you need access to the internet. Therefore you need good quality connectivity and you need resilient connectivity. Businesses should always ensure they have a secondary line in case of a primary line failure. This is a very important aspect of moving to Hosted Desktops. Check what connectivity you have and can get in your offices. Give us a call for more info. secureVirtual are an ISP (Internet Service Provider) for this reason. It allows us to provide a range of internet services in partnership with BT, Tiscali and others.

    Graphically Intensive:

    As Hosted Desktops work by sending screenshots from the server to the thin client they are not ideal for graphically intensive programs. The client device receives the screenshot and then draws it. Therefore they are not suitable for video editing, advance graphics programs or rich media streaming.

    secureVirtual SVi Guarantee

    securVirtual Hosted Desktops are hosted on our SVi platform. By using our VMware based virtualised platform we can offer a 100% uptime guarantee and ensure that a business using our Hosted Desktop services don’t suffer downtime due to hardware failure. As mentioned we are also an ISP and have a range of connectivity solutions to offer.

  • The First secureVirtual Blog Post

    Date: 2010.04.28 | Category: Blog | Response: 0

    Hello and welcome to our first blog post.

    Over the coming months/years we are going to be posting regularly about the subjects that mean most to us and our clients. Cloud hosting/SaaS is still a very new technology and as such we get lots of questions about different services we provide and technologies we work with. So I am going to use this post to introduce us and what we do and then future posts will be more subject specific.

    Who are secureVirtual?

    We are a UK company with our main office in London who specialise in hosting business applications and systems using our cloud hosting platform (SVi). We were initially formed as a spin off from a Software Development house back in 2005. While developing software it became apparent that businesses were lacking an option to outsource their critical applications to someone who could provide the reliability they needed. As such we started investing into our own hosting platform in 2003, testing the virtualisation technologies and then after two years of research – launched secureVirtual in 05.

    Nowadays we are a highly experienced VMware cloud hosting company with some big success stories under our belt. We offer a range of hosting and consultancy services and work with Businesses who have an internal IT team and our Channel Partners. As one of the first companies to create a cloud hosting platform we have become a leader in VMware hosting and infrastructure design and are very proud of our 100% uptime hosting platform – SVi.

    Find out more on our About Us page

    What do secureVirtual do?

    To put simply we are a Cloud Hosting company. The term Cloud is still not that well defined, but for us we see it as the ability to make things available via the internet. We offer a wide range of hosting and consultancy services. Including Hosted Desktops, Application Hosting, Dedicated CRM, VMware Virtual servers and the wide array of consultancy skills you need to be able to make the most of these services in business. For the enterprise class business (By enterprise I mean businesses that need 100% available IT and have an internal IT team) we focus on creating highly secure private networks and provide mission critical hosting. For other businesses that don’t have internal IT teams we use our Channel Partner network to help – providing the enterprise class technology of SVi with the first line support of an expert partner.

    We also help software developers put their software in the cloud and offer the SaaS model to their customers.

    Find out more?

    One of our biggest values is to ensure we stay a technical company. It’s why over 80% of our team are technical. As such we like to meet people for a coffee and just discuss their technical problems. We then give free advice and a no stings attached opinion. Sometimes we can’t help, sometimes we can. But so far we have not had anyone who has not taken at least a little bit of useful knowledge away.

    So, if this subject interests you and you work in the UK, why not arrange to meet one of us for a coffee?

    I hope our blog posts are useful to you and please if you have any feedback – send us a message.

    Thanks for reading.

  • Léon Crisp – The Introduction

    Date: 2010.04.28 | Category: Leon Crisp's Blog | Response: 0

    As soon as Leon finds time he will introduce himself and start writing his blog posts on a regular basis.