Category: Hosted Virtual Desktops

Case Study: Dant Clayton

Background

Headquartered in Louisville, KY, Dant Clayton is a leading designer and manufacturer of aluminum bleachers, grandstands, stadium structures, and accessory products. The company has provided aluminum bleachers for the stadiums of leading sports programs like the New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, the University of Oklahoma, and Ohio State.

The Challenge

High cost of CAD workstations, decentralized IT, reliability, and security

Dant Clayton felt it was spending too much on purchasing and maintaining expensive local hardware. Its high-powered CAD workstations cost an average of $3,000+/unit, for example, and needed to be replaced every 3-5 years.

The firm also wanted to improve its disaster recovery setup. They wanted to be able to quickly and fully recover their systems and data in the event of a disaster. Their need to store a lot of CAD data locally, as well as workers only being able to access their CAD applications from workstations at the office, made this difficult.

“With IronOrbit’s GPU Cloud desktops, every user now has the power and functionality of a high end CAD station while taking advantage of the latest in Cloud security, accessibility and cost-efficiency. The customizability & scalability of the platform have made it easy for us to add employees & expand as needed, as well as attract & retain the best engineering talent with a work-from-home option.” – Matthew Harper, VP of Technology

The company also desired anywhere, any device CAD access, which would allow it to attract and retain engineering talent with a work-from-home option, and to maintain a consolidated IT between its two locations. This capability would also make it easier for them to share their CAD assets with remote contractors and project stakeholders.

In addition, Dant Clayton needed the solution to be reliable and secure enough for their needs as a manufacturer, since any downtime could severely impact their operations, and they had to worry about intellectual property (IP) theft and sabotage. They also had to maintain consistent records for legal and compliance reasons.

The Solution

INFINITY cloud-based CAD workstations

A cloud-based CAD infrastructure would reduce Dant Clayton’s local hardware costs and provide it with a robust, multi-site disaster recovery setup.

Setting up a cloud-based CAD infrastructure can be extremely difficult, however, due to the power and complexity of the applications and the sizes of the files involved (often 100 MB+). Only a small number of cloud providers offered the service at the time, including IronOrbit.

Reliability, security, and compliant data storage would not be such a challenge, since these features come standard with all IronOrbit solutions.

In the end, IronOrbit provided Dant Clayton with a 114-user cloud-based CAD infrastructure that supported all its applications, including AutoCAD, SolidWorks, and Bluebeam.

IronOrbit’s cloud CAD solution helped Dant Clayton helped Dant Clayton lower its costs, enhance its disaster recovery setup with multi-site replication, consolidate its IT across multiple locations, and maintain its records.

It helped them avoid spending tens of thousands on new onsite hardware, reducing their future hardware costs as well.

It also provided them with protection from disasters by:

  • Hosting their business-critical IT assets at a secure, highly-resilient data center in Virginia
  • Replicating their data locally at this facility to enable quick restores (minimum RTO & RPO of 4 hours)
  • Backing up their systems and data to another facility in Dallas, TX, to guarantee against data loss and ensure full restoration

Our cloud CAD solution helped Dant Clayton enhance IT reliability and security by:

  • Providing a highly-resilient infrastructure backed by a 99.999% uptime guarantee
  • Including 24/7/365 monitoring and maintenance by a 22-person Network Operations Center (NOC)
  • Including security measures such as antivirus, firewall, IDS/IPS, anti-DDoS, content filter, DNS filter, and data-at-rest encryption

Said Mathew Harper, Dant Clayton’s VP of Technology: “With IronOrbit’s GPU Cloud desktops, every user now has the power and functionality of a high end CAD station while taking advantage of the latest in Cloud security, accessibility and cost-efficiency. The customizability & scalability of the platform have made it easy for us to add employees & expand as needed, as well as attract & retain the best engineering talent with a work-from-home option.”

Hosted Desktops for Travel Agencies: The Features

There are many ways that travel agencies can benefit from signing up for hosted desktops from an IT hosting company.

Before we discuss the benefits of hosted desktops for travel agencies though, let’s clarify exactly what travel agencies, or any other type of business, get when they sign up for this solution:

  • Hosted desktops
  • A desktop management portal
  • Application management services
  • Infrastructure management services
  • 24×7 performance and security monitoring
  • Data security
  • Data backups
  • 24×7 technical support

What are the benefits of hosted desktops for travel agencies?

Hosted desktops

These are basically Windows desktop operating systems that the IT hosting company hosts on its servers, and that users access via the Internet.

These desktops look and perform exactly the same as the Windows desktop operating systems that you would install on your PC. For example, they have GUIs with desktops, icons, windows, taskbars, and Start menus, and you can use them to run applications, store files, send and receive emails, and browse the Internet, among other things.

Each hosted desktop is assigned to a specific user, and any changes that the user makes to his or her desktop are saved, so that all of the applications, files, and settings that are on the user’s desktop when he or she logs out will still be there when he or she logs back in.

Most hosted desktops are either Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 desktops. They’re usually accessed via a web browser or a no-cost client such as Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Connection.

A desktop management portal

Most IT hosting companies provide their hosted desktop customers with access to an online portal that allows them to monitor and manage all of the desktops in their deployment.

The portal may allow customers to add and delete desktops, add and delete Exchange mailboxes, shut down and restart desktops, and reset passwords, among other management features.

Application management services

You can easily install, uninstall, and update applications on an infinite number of your hosted desktops simultaneously.

Want Microsoft Excel installed on all of your hosted desktops? Or do you just want it installed on the desktops of your accountants? Just contact the IT hosting company, and they’ll deploy the application for you.

Infrastructure management services

The IT hosting company will handle purchasing, setting up, and maintaining all of the following:

  • Hardware (including servers and storage devices)
  • Software (including hypervisors, server OSes, and VDI management software)
  • And networking equipment used to host the hosted desktops.

24×7 performance and security monitoring

The IT hosting company will monitor your desktops 24x7x365 for performance and security problems and will respond to any problems that it finds as quickly as possible.

Data security

With the help of an IT hosting company, you are able to protect your desktops and their data from unauthorized access with security measures such as authentication systems, firewalls, IDS/IPS, gateway antivirus, and spam filters.

Data backups

Plus, your IT hosting provider will back up all of the data on all of your hosted desktops on a regular basis (usually at least once per day).

24×7 technical support

The IT hosting company will provide you with 24x7x365 technical support for problems related to your hosted desktops.

In addition, it will help you resolve problems such as:

  • Being unable to connect to or log in to your desktops
  • Being unable to launch or use applications,
  • Needing to restore accidentally deleted files
  • And integrating your desktops with printers, scanners, and other local devices

If you’re interested in learning about the benefits for travel agencies of signing up for hosted desktops, check out our follow-up article, “Hosted Desktops for Travel Agencies: The Benefits.”

Hosted Desktops for Travel Agencies: The Benefits

In a previous article, “Hosted Desktops for Travel Agencies: The Features,” we talked about the features of hosted desktops that are most relevant to travel agencies.

Now, in today’s article, we’re going to talk about how travel agencies can benefit from signing up for hosted desktops.

The main benefits of hosted desktops to travel agencies are that they:

  • Allow travel agencies to become better businesses overall—more streamlined, efficient, and agile and better coordinated
  • Allow travel agencies to serve their customers better
  • Provide travel agencies with a competitive advantage over agencies with different IT setups

How They Turn Travel Agencies into Better Overall Businesses

Let’s start with the first point, how hosted desktops make travel agencies better businesses overall.

Hosted desktops are accessible from anywhere with any Internet-connected computer, tablet, smartphone, or thin client.

They’re also highly centralized, and even a large deployment of thousands of hosted desktops can be managed relatively easily from the hosting provider’s online management portal.

Furthermore, hosted desktops are scalable, so you can add or delete any amount of hosted desktops at any time. The setup, management (including backups and security), and maintenance of the hosted desktops is mostly the responsibility of the hosted desktop provider.

Hosted desktops allow travel agencies to provide all of their employees with access to all of the applications they need, no matter where these employees are located.

This makes it easier for the travel agencies to open offices in new locations, as well as hire employees that work from home.

Which may allow the travel agency to hire employees located in other states or countries that are more talented and/or will accept lower wages than locally-based workers. Subsequently, it also helps the travel agencies minimize their real estate costs. But, without decentralizing the agencies’ IT.

Security and scalability for travel companies

Hosted desktops are highly centralized and are secured and maintained by the hosting provider. They are safe from expensive and highly-disruptive security breaches and downtime and data loss incidents.

The scalability of hosted desktops makes it easier for travel companies to add and subtract employees. Which in turn allows them to easily add temporary workers during the busy travel seasons.

As well as permanently increase their workforce without having to worry about stuck with a bunch of expensive, unused hardware if the expansion doesn’t work out.

Also with hosted desktops, travel agencies can put all of their internal resources and focus into providing travel services to their clients and not have to worry about setting up, managing, or maintaining their IT.

Most hosted desktop providers will set up, manage, and maintain your desktops for you. It also costs much less than it would cost you to hire your own IT employees.

Hosted desktops make monitoring and managing employees easier. This is possible because supervisors can monitor and control the desktops via the hosting company’s online administrative portal. It’s where they can check if an employee logs in to his or her desktop, reset passwords, block access, etc.

The applications which employees get to install on their websites and what websites they can visit also depends on the Supervisors.

Hosted Desktops for Travel Agencies Allow Businesses to Better Serve their Customers and Give Them a Competitive Advantage over Other Agencies

Of course, hosted desktops making travel agencies better businesses overall also improves their ability to serve their customers. And provide them with a competitive advantage over agencies that don’t use hosted desktops.

Hosted desktops also improve travel agencies’ ability to serve their customers by being more reliable. Your hosting provider manages and maintains them 24x7x365. This capability minimizes downtime and allows the agencies to provide 24x7x365 travel services.

In addition, the anywhere-accessibility of hosted desktops allows the travel agency to hire more agents in more locations. This helps improve customer satisfaction by allowing customers to get travel planning services in person (which some consumers prefer).

Or by allowing customers to get travel support after normal working hours. Since the travel agency will be able to hire travel agents in different time zones or overseas, ensuring that there will always be a travel agent available at all times of the day.

Meanwhile, the market for travel agency services has shrunk significantly over the decade or so. This is because most consumers now plan vacations and make reservations themselves using self-booking sites like Hotwire or Priceline.

Summary

Hosted desktops can help them gain a competitive advantage in a difficult market by:

  • Increasing their agents’ productivity (with anywhere-accessibility and support for multiple offices and telecommuting)
  • Maximizing their availability and responsiveness to customers (by minimizing downtime)
  • And making it easier for them to adapt (by being scalable)

To get the process of signing up for hosted desktops started, travel agencies should contact your preferred IT hosting company.

How to Connect to a Hosted Desktop

In previous blog posts, we’ve mentioned how most hosted desktops can be accessed from anywhere with almost any Internet-connected computing device, including Windows and Apple PCs, Android and iOS mobile devices, and thin clients.

What we haven’t really described at length yet, though, and what we’ll be covering in today’s blog post, is exactly how you access your hosted desktop from all of these different types of devices.

There are two primary ways to access a hosted desktop: via a standalone remote desktop connection client, or via a web browser.

In most cases, how you access your hosted desktop will be up to your hosted desktop provider. Your hosted desktop provider will usually provide you with detailed instructions on how to access your hosted desktop when you sign up. It may also include this information in the automatically-generated email invite you get when your account administrator assigns a hosted desktop to you.

You should follow the instructions of your hosting provider and not attempt to connect to your desktop by any of the other methods described here, since these methods may not work with your provider’s specific desktops.

If your hosting provider tells you to connect to your hosted desktop via a remote desktop connection client, it will probably tell you to use one of these two clients: Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Connection and Citrix Receiver.

Remote Desktop Connection

It comes preinstalled on all recent versions of Windows, including Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. You can find it by typing “Remote Desktop Connection” in the search box of your OS. There are also versions of Remote Desktop Connection for the OS X, iOS, and Android operating systems that can be downloaded for free from the App Store and Google Play.

Citrix Receiver

Meanwhile, Citrix Receiver can be downloaded for free from the Citrix website or your device’s respective app store. There are versions available for a number of platforms, including the Windows, OS X, iOS, Android, Linux, and Chrome OS operating systems.

Both of these clients are pretty simple to set up and use. To connect to your hosted desktop from one of them, you just have to enter a username, password, and hosted desktop address (info that should have been provided to you by your hosting company).

It should take you no more than 2 minutes to connect to a hosted desktop for the first time from one of these clients. After you’ve connected to your hosted desktop once, reconnecting to it should only take a click or two.

To connect to a hosted desktop via a web browser, you usually just have to navigate to a login page on the website of your hosting provider and input your credentials; your desktop will then launch in a new window.

You should be able to access your hosted desktop from any up-to-date version of any web browser, including Google Chrome and Microsoft Internet Explorer and Edge. You may or may not have to download additional applications or browser plugins to be able to access your desktop this way; it depends on the provider.

Some providers require you to download and install the aforementioned Citrix Receiver, for example, though instead of connecting via the standalone client, you’ll connect via your browser, and the Receiver will operate in the background as a browser plugin.

If you need help connecting to your hosted desktop—perhaps you never received your connection instructions from your hosting provider, or you don’t understand the instructions, or you understand the instructions but still can’t connect—just contact your IT provider for support.

Hosted Server Migration: The Basics, Part 2

This is the second and final part of an article about how to perform a hosted server migration. This was the first part.

Selecting a Server OS

In general, the migration process is the easiest when the old and the new server have the same OS, and hardest when they have different OSes (especially if one is Windows and the other is Linux).

If you’re going to use the opportunity of the migration to switch from an older version of Windows Server on the old server to a newer version (such as from Server 2003 or 2008 to 2012) on the new server, you might want to make sure beforehand that all of your applications are compatible with the newer OS.

Unless you’re planning to switch to new applications, too, or know how to host applications on OSes they aren’t compatible with.

If you end up selecting a hosted server with a Windows OS, then you’re going to need a Windows Server license. You may be able to transfer the license from your onsite server to the new server if they have the same OS version.

Many hosting providers also offer hosted Windows servers that include the cost of the license in the monthly price of the server.

Performing the Migration

Now that you’ve got the hosted server set up, you’re ready to start transferring over the data from the old server and then configuring and integrating the hosted server. First, though, you’re going to want to back up all of the data on your onsite server just in case something goes wrong.

One option when migrating to the new server is to transfer only the assets you need or want (the applications, files, users, etc., that you selected in the planning phase) from the onsite server to the hosted server.

This will prevent your nice new server from being cluttered with a lot of old, useless applications and data, though it also increases the possibility that important data will be left behind.

Alternatively, you could simply copy the onsite server as a whole to the hosted server, which will ensure that all of the data from the old server is transferred to the new one, as well as make it more likely that the new server will function exactly the same as the old one.

The exact method that you use to transfer your assets from the onsite server to the hosted server will depend on factors such as your server OSes, your hosting company, whether your onsite server is virtualized or not, and whether or not you use server management software.

If your migration method prevents users from being able to access the server while the migration is taking place, you’ll probably want to perform the migration before or after regular working hours or over the weekend to minimize the disruption to your business. Also, ensure that you perform the migration over a secure connection.

Final Steps & Further Info

All that’s left to do now is integrate your hosted server with the rest of your IT and decommission the onsite server.

If you need any assistance with migrating from an onsite to a hosted server, simply contact your hosting company. IronOrbit can be reached at [email protected], or (888) 753-5060.

For more information about the benefits of switching to a hosted server, check out one of the hosted server offerings on our site: Citrix servers, terminal servers, application servers, managed servers, and virtual private servers.

Hosted Server Migration: The Basics, Part 1

Today we’re going to be talking about what you need to do to migrate an onsite server (as in a physical server that you keep at your office) to a hosted or cloud-based server.

We’re not going to get too technical here; the purpose of this article is to give you a general overview of the onsite-to-cloud server migration process and provide you with a starting point for further research.

I’ll also mention before we go any further that many hosting companies, including IronOrbit, will perform your migration for you for a relatively small fee.

This not only lets you avoid having to perform the migration yourself but also usually results in a much faster and problem-free migration.

Due to the fact that the hosting company’s personnel have a lot more experience at performing onsite-to-cloud migrations of all types, have more advanced migration tools, and are more familiar with the ins and outs of their own hosting platform.

Plan Your Migration

operating system

For those still interested in performing their onsite-to-cloud server migration by themselves, let’s start by figuring out what you want to move, as well as what needs to be moved, from the onsite server to the cloud server: applications, databases, files, settings, users, permissions, etc. Plan to leave behind any applications or data that you won’t need on the new server, such as unused applications and inactive user accounts.

Note the dependencies between different assets on the server, and make sure that the migration won’t prevent any of these dependent assets from communicating with each other.

For example, if your onsite server has an application that relies on a database, ensure that you migrate the database along with the application (which may require the purchase of an additional hosted server) because otherwise, the application might not work.

Select a Hosting Company

Another preliminary step is to select which cloud provider/IT hosting company you want to host your hosted server for you. Then, depending on the types of servers that the hosting company offers, you’ll have to figure out which type of server you want and then set it up.

You have a lot of options when it comes to selecting a hosting provider for your hosted server, though of course, we’d recommend that you go with IronOrbit.

We specialize in fully-customizable and fully-managed hosted solutions, all of which cost a flat monthly fee and come with services such as 24x7x365 technical support, managed security, automatic OS and application updates, and managed backups.

Our fully-managed and -supported solutions let you stay focused on your business and not have to worry about monitoring and managing your IT.

Select Your Hosted Server Type and Features

Many hosting providers will also give you a lot of options when it comes to selecting your type of server and the features of your server, too. The two main types of hosted servers are hosted virtual servers and hosted dedicated servers.

The main difference between these two is that with virtual servers you share a single physical server with one or more of the hosting company’s other clients, while with a dedicated server you get your own private physical server.

The advantages of virtual servers include increased scalability and flexibility and lower costs, while the advantages of dedicated servers include increased performance and reliability and regulatory compliance.

Other aspects of a hosted server that hosting providers often let you select include the server’s operating system (most hosting providers offer several different versions of Windows Server, as well as several different versions of Linux), its resources (CPUs/vCPUs/CPU cores, GPUs/vGPUs, RAM, and HDD or SSD storage space), and its security and networking features.

We’ll explain how to complete a hosted server migration in the second part of this article.

The Benefits of Hosted Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office, as most people know, is a popular suite of business productivity applications such as:

  • Word (a word processing application)
  • Excel (spreadsheet software)
  • PowerPoint (presentation software)
  • And OneNote (note taking software)

These are the core applications that are included in all versions of the suite. For the other available versions of the suite, the applications also include:

  • Outlook (an email client)
  • Publisher (desktop publishing software)
  • And Access (database software)

As with Microsoft Windows, the main reason that Office is popular is precisely because it’s user-friendly and widespread in use.

Businesses select Office as their default business productivity software suite because their employees are already familiar with it from school or from previous jobs, and so don’t need to be trained to use it.

And also because most other businesses and consumers use it, and its proprietary file formats are best viewed and edited in the corresponding Office application.

Some of the things that the applications of Microsoft Office allow your employees to do include:

  • Composing, formatting, and spellchecking text
  • Creating professional-looking documents (both print and electronic)
  • Creating professional-looking charts
  • Maintaining and analyzing large sets of data and records
  • Creating professional-looking presentations
  • Sending, receiving, organizing, filtering, and archiving emails

There are three main ways to deploy Microsoft Office:

  1. One is to install it on each employee’s PC
  2. Another is to host it an onsite server
  3. And the last is to pay an IT hosting company to host it for you.

Here’s why we would recommend going with the latter option:

It increases the centralization of your company-wide Office deployment.

A hosted deployment of Microsoft Office is highly centralized—it can be hosted on a single server, or at most a small number of interconnected servers and storage devices.

You can also prohibit users from transferring their Office files to their devices’ hard drives (or any other local storage drive) so that all of your company’s Office files remain on the hosting company’s servers at all times.

It makes Office easier to manage (which helps you prevent downtime, data loss, and security breaches).

When centralized like this, a company-wide deployment of Office is easier to manage—it usually means that you can monitor and troubleshoot all of your instances and users from within a single dashboard; that you only have to update or “patch” a single deployment of the suite; and that you only have to set up and run a single recurring backup.

Meanwhile, if you sign up for a managed hosted Microsoft Office, you won’t have to worry about managing your Office deployment at all; instead, the hosting company will handle the monitoring, supporting, securing, updating, and backing up of your deployment for you.

It increases the security of your Office deployment.

The centralization of hosted Office also makes it easier to protect your Office deployment from inappropriate access, since it decreases the number of devices you have to protect and allows you to focus on protecting a small number of servers.

In addition, the hosting provider may also protect your hosted Office deployment for you with advanced security measures such as enterprise-level firewalls, gateway antivirus, and IDS/IPS. You also don’t have to worry about a security breach occurring as a result of a user’s device being lost or stolen with hosted Office, since your Office files remain on the hosting company’s servers at all times.

It allows your employees to access their Office applications and files from anywhere with any device.

A hosted Microsoft Office is pretty easy to access anywhere with these following devices:

  • Computer (laptop and desktop)
  • Tablet
  • Smartphone
  • Or thin client, including Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs, and Android and iOS mobile devices.

This allows businesses with multiple offices to provide Office to all of its employees with just a single deployment, instead of having to deploy it at each location. It also lets employees access their Office applications and files when they’re away from the office—whether they’re traveling, working in the field, telecommuting, or they’ve gone home for the day.

It can decrease your IT costs.

Hosted Microsoft Office doesn’t require the purchase of any expensive onsite servers or storage devices. You can also access it from low-cost devices as thin clients and old refurbished PCs.

To sign up for Microsoft Office hosting, contact your preferred hosting provider.

Why Call Centers Should Switch to Hosted Desktops

A hosted desktop is a Windows desktop operating system that you access via the Internet. You can access a hosted desktop from any Internet-connected computer, tablet, smartphone, or thin client.

In most cases, each user is assigned to a single, specific hosted desktop, and the desktop retains all of the user’s files and applications even after he or she logs out.

To sign up for hosted desktops, you usually have to contact an IT hosting company and ask them to deploy and set up the desktops for you. You usually pay for them by the month.

Call centers should consider replacing their current IT setup with hosted desktops for multiple reasons.

Cost

Because the main reason that businesses outsource their customer support operations to call center companies is to reduce their costs, it’s important for call center companies to be as cost-efficient as possible.

Hosted desktops can reduce a call center’s IT costs because they don’t require the purchase of any expensive onsite hardware or the hiring of any additional IT personnel.

Hosted desktops can be accessed from low-cost devices such as refurbished PCs and thin clients without a decrease in performance or reliability. Moreover, because hosting companies can provide hosted desktops to you at a lower cost than it would take you to deploy and maintain them yourself due to their economies of scale.

Manageability

Call centers tend to be difficult environments to manage, both for supervisors and IT administrators, because they usually involve large numbers of employees and desktops.

Hosted desktops make it easier to manage large numbers of call center employees and desktops. However, since unlike physical PCs they’re centralized onto a relatively small number of interconnected servers and are software-defined assets that are ready to integrate with a desktop management solution without any further customization.

Hosted desktops make it easier for supervisors to monitor their employees and set permissions and for IT administrators to perform management tasks such as security and performance monitoring, virus scanning, patch management, data backups, and remoting into computers to provide technical support.

Hosted desktops may also allow IT administrators to avoid having to perform these management tasks altogether if their hosting company is one that includes management and support services with their hosted desktops.

Security

Some call centers handle sensitive customer data such as payment card data, medical records, and social security numbers. Hosted desktops make it easier to protect this data from unauthorized access and inappropriate handling.

The centralization and virtualization of hosted desktops make them easier to protect, monitor, scan for malware, maintain an audit trail on, and disinfect than physical PCs.

And because hosted desktops are processed and stored on the hosting provider’s servers, call centers don’t have to worry as much about protecting end-point devices from cyberattacks and physical theft.

Scalability

Many call centers have relatively high employee turnover rates. Some also have to add or subtract large numbers of employees in a short period of time. They do it in order to fulfill the terms of a contract or to downsize once a contract has reached the end of its duration.

With hosted desktops, you can add or subtract as many desktops as you want at any time. This eliminates having to purchase or set up any hardware. Each desktop usually only takes a few minutes to deploy.

Ability to integrate telecommuters

Many call centers are hiring telecommuters these days instead of onsite workers in order to reduce their real estate costs. They also do it to hire more cost-efficient or higher-skilled employees that live too far away to commute or that prefer to work from home.

Hosted desktops make it easier for call centers to hire telecommuters. This is because they can be accessed from anywhere with any device. So, telecommuters can use their personal computer to connect to the hosted desktop. Call centers just need to provide telecommuters with their own hosted desktops in order to equip them with all of the IT resources they need to do their job.

Call centers can sign up for hosted desktops from IronOrbit by contacting us at [email protected] or (888) 753-5060.

Hosted Virtual Desktop: What Is It?

A hosted virtual desktop is a next-gen Windows operating system that you can access from anywhere, with any device, via the Internet.

It can do anything a Windows OS on a local PC can do. You can use it to run all your applications, store all your files, send and receive email, and browse the web. Plus, it’s faster and more secure than your local PC.

When you use a standard Windows desktop, you can only work on a single device, in a single location.

Not so with hosted virtual desktops. You can access them from any location, whether you’re at work, at home, or anywhere in between. You can access them from any device you want, including:

  • Windows desktops & laptops
  • Apple computers (MacBooks, Mac Pros, etc.)
  • iPads & iPhones
  • Android tablets & smartphones
  • Linux computers

With hosted desktops, or Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS), you have the freedom to work remotely. This technology eliminates the need to work on your office desk alone.

Hosted Virtual Desktops vs In-House IT

managed cloud services expert

With a traditional in-house IT, all assets, from desktops to servers, are onsite. Businesses with in-house IT solutions have a dedicated team of individuals responsible for resolving issues with the IT system and infrastructure.

Hosted desktops are the exact opposite of in-house IT. The IT hosting company will move your Windows applications into the cloud for remote access.

The process of shifting to a hosted virtual desktop involves installation of your OS on the server. This enables you to access your files, applications, and documents from any Internet-connected device.  So long as you have Internet access, you’ll be able to run applications with a hosted desktop.

Why Make The Switch?

More and more companies are now embracing digital transformation for a good reason: to reduce manual task and increase productivity. Having the ability to work anywhere helps you  accomplish tasks. Aside from flexibility, hosted desktops also offer these benefits:

Cost-Effective IT Solution

Hosted virtual desktop services no longer require you to purchase expensive PCs just to maintain workplace productivity. You can access hosted desktops even from an old PC. It doesn’t affect the user experience because your OS is stored on the server of your hosting provider. Managing email, applications, and file storage has never been this easy.

Improved Security

Hosting companies consider security a top priority. More often than not, the monthly fee you pay for a hosting company already includes patch management, data backups, and hosted virtual desktop security maintenance. That said, there’s no need to spend thousands of dollars on protecting your sensitive files and documents from threats.

Maintenance-Free

When your operating system is locally installed, you’re responsible for maintaining your PCs. A virtual hosted desktop spares you the headache of maintaining your servers and PCs because you can host your applications on the server of your hosting provider.

Hosted Virtual Desktops: The History

server hosting business

Virtualization existed even in the ’60s. However, it had some limitations that kept it from taking off. One was that hardware virtualization could only process one task at a time.

This meant that the rest of the tasks had to be queued in batches. Just like most inventions, it wasn’t long before experts came along to improve the functionalities of virtualization.

With the emergence of new features after a few decades, managing multiple computers became easier. Hence, the use of virtual machines. How did this innovation change lives?

Well, for one, it enabled businesses to increase efficiency, and address stability and security concerns. Imagine eliminating the burden of depending on one device. It’s a whiff of fresh air for everyone. You don’t have to think about the safety of your data, especially when machines have been compromised.

Imagine eliminating the burden of depending on one device. It’s a whiff of fresh air for everyone. You don’t have to think about the safety of your data, especially when machines have been compromised.

Sensitive data becomes impervious to natural disaster and human error because you’re not storing them on individual machines. It’s a clever way to ensure data is in good hands. You’re not using a shared network.

That said, only people who has access to your resources can view your files and applications. You decrease the likelihood of file corruption because employees access data from a separate operating system.  The VMware hosted virtual desktop is one of the providers that offer this feature.

The Rise of Hosted Virtual Desktop

Between the ’60s-’90s, you won’t notice any significant difference on hosted virtual desktops except gaining access to data, which is centrally stored. As the concept of hosted virtual desktops became popular in the late ’90s and early 2000s, the IT needs to kick the strategy up a notch to combat new security threats.

It’s a turning point for providers to implement cloud technology or cloud-hosted virtual desktop that will shield files and documents against complex security threats.

So when your files are stored in the cloud, you’re also reducing the likelihood of your sensitive data being hacked. Why? Simply because you could only access your files with an Internet connection.

In 2004, virtualization gained traction when new rules regarding management responsibilities were put in place. How did this come about? High-profile security threats paved a wider way for IT experts to come up with a more stringent rule that will not only increase the functionality of a hosted desktop but also create a security tool.

Providers are continuously releasing updates and revision up to the present. Each update will also require businesses to comply with the security requirement to cope with the changes in technology.

Who Can Reap The Benefits Of Hosted Virtual Desktops?

The primary purpose of hosted desktops is to remove time-consuming tasks by simplifying processes. Here are the key industries that can benefit from hosted virtual desktops:

Professional Services

If your company offers professional services, such as legal or financial, there are many ways your company can benefit from the hosted desktop software. You can migrate industry-specific applications into the hosted desktop software to streamline business operations and processes.

You don’t have to keep on reminding yourself to perform an upgrade because most providers will update the applications and software for you.

Law and accountancy firms store sensitive files, which require strict data management practices. An advanced personal hosted virtual desktop has the ability to store data in a specific data center governed by data protection laws. With security measures in place, it will be difficult for hackers to steal your data.

Healthcare

In 2017, WannaCry ransomware crippled the healthcare industry due to its unpatched system. With more than 230,000 Windows OS computers affected across 150 countries, such damages incurred billions. This hacking scandal only proves that you need to be one step ahead of cybercriminals.

Data breaches occur when unauthorized individuals can freely access your files when the staff connects to unsecured networks. Hosted virtual desktop providers can lock down files as a way of protecting your data from being stolen. Hospitals also have heaps of paperwork that medical staff has to carry to consultations or around campus. Why risk losing some of these essential files when you can reduce the paper trail by moving important files into the cloud?

New Businesses

Running a small or start-up company is no excuse to let data security to take a backseat. This is one misconception that has led many small businesses to fall victim to cyber crimes. Your files are important even as a startup.

A hosted virtual desktop for small business gives you a significant amount of savings because you’ll no longer have to worry about hiring a support staff to maintain your IT environment or pay upfront server costs.

Both of these services have a comprehensive hosted virtual desktop pricing and they can be outsourced at a flat monthly rate. Scalability is one of the stand-out benefits of hosted desktop service. You can also consider hosted virtual desktop free of charge, but it has some limitations.  It makes your IT environment more sustainable with the option to scale up or down your service.

Hosted virtual desktops help you streamline business processes to accomplish tasks in a timely fashion. You’ll also gain greater peace of mind because the minimal IT management responsibilities allow you to focus on other aspects of your business that matter.

Scalability in Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing Scalability

Scalability in cloud computing is the ability to quickly and easily increase or decrease the size or power of an IT solution.

A scalable cloud is why you can sign up and use most cloud solutions in just a few minutes – if not seconds. It’s why you can add resources like storage to an existing account just as quickly.

There are usually two ways to scale a cloud solution up or down:

  1. Contact the cloud provider to request it
  2. Add the resources yourself via an online portal

Some cloud solutions can also be auto-scaled. This means you can set them up to scale up or down automatically based on certain conditions, like when your cloud solution is running out of storage space.

Key Features of Cloud Scalability

cloud scalability

1) Grow or shrink. Scaling is a change in size. It can mean increasing or decreasing.

2) Sizeable difference. You don’t use a cool word like “scalability” to describe a minor change. It should mean adding a significant amount of users or data, or hardware-like assets such as vCPUs and vRAM.

3) Non-disruptive. Scaling doesn’t mean replacing. You’re adding resources to an existing deployment, so there should be minimal downtime or learning curve. Adding seats to your Google Apps deployment as you grow – that’s scaling. Switching to Office 365 because Google Apps can’t support you any longer, not so much.

4) Relatively fast. Not at all cloud solutions scale up in minutes or with the click of a button, but scaling with the cloud should at least be faster than buying and setting up the hardware yourself.

5) Relatively easy. If scalability was easy in every case, we’d all be AWS Architects making a sweet $100,000+ per year. But the architecture of the cloud still makes things easier than scaling locally. Without virtualization, you’d have to run your largest apps on expensive, difficult-to-maintain mainframes.

You Already Know, You Just Don’t Know It

define scalability in cloud computing

Even if you’ve never heard the term scalability before, you’ve probably done some scaling of your own without realizing it. If you’ve ever done any of these things:

  • Created a Gmail account
  • Added storage to your Dropbox account
  • Watched something on Netflix

Then you’ve done some scaling, at least in a limited, frontend sense. What you’ve done is create an IT resource – an email account, storage, or a streaming video – without buying any additional hardware.

There’s a lot happening behind the scenes here, too. With the Gmail example, Google’s cloud automatically sets aside space for your new email account – which it probably does millions of times per day, for its millions of other new users. Google is probably doing this without purchasing any new hardware, either. It probably has a surplus of hundreds or thousands of servers, all set up and ready to host millions of Gmail accounts.

6 Key Benefits of Cloud Scalability

cloud computing scalability

It makes you feel like a god. There’s something pretty cool about being able to deploy thousands of servers or terabytes of data with a single click. You start to think, “Today, I deployed and configured all the servers I needed. Tomorrow…the world.”

It makes your job easier. Don’t tell your boss about this one, but adding resources with the cloud takes less time than doing it locally with physical hardware – a lot less time. You can then spend a lot of this extra time “working.”

Its makes disaster recovery easier. Not every business can afford a hot or cold site. But scalability allows any business to rebuild their IT in just a few hours; you just have to deploy new servers and copy over your data. It can take weeks, on the other hand, to rebuild your local IT with new physical servers.

It gives your business incredible speed and flexibility. Want to open a new branch? Add a new team? Start a new project or campaign? Scalability lets you add the IT resources for initiatives like this in minutes, not months.

It lets you avoid costly, disruptive migrations. You don’t want to deploy your IT on a platform, only to find that it can’t support you after several years of solid growth. With a scalable platform, you only migrate when you want to – not when your underlying platform lets you down.

It saves you money. There are no large upfront costs with the cloud. No $5,000+ servers, SANs, or networking equipment to buy. And you only pay for what you use. On a large scale, scalability reduces waste. It’s why cloud providers can offer secure, reliable business email hosting for $5 per month and still be in business.

Why Cloud Computing Is Scalable

scalability cloud computing

Virtualization is what makes scalability in cloud computing possible.

Virtual machines (VMs) are scalable. They’re not like physical machines, whose resources are relatively fixed.

You can add any amount of resources to VMs at any time. You can scale them up by:

  • Moving them to a server with more resources
  • Hosting them on multiple servers at once (clustering)

The other reason cloud computing is scalable? Cloud providers already have all the necessary hardware and software in place.

Individual businesses, in contrast, can’t afford to have surplus hardware on standby.