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May 18, 2011
Rich Cheston, chief technical architect at Lenovo, says cloud computing requires cloud-ready clients. But what exactly are cloud-ready clients? In simply terms, they are PCs whose physical attributes can be expressed to the cloud. Also, the cloud-ready client must offer secure cloud access, Cheston said during a session today at Lenovo Accelerate: Channel Partner Forum in Las Vegas.
Cheston developed his cloud perspectives by visiting a range of enterprise and SMB customers worldwide. While visiting Coca Cola, Cheston said, he rediscovered the beverage giant had 100 different applications. The goal was to find a simple way to enable those applications for the cloud — instead of rewriting them all for SaaS.
One potential solution — virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) — seems to be having scalability problems within organizations that Cheston has visited. In all of his travels, Cheston said he’s heard about only five companies that have done 1,000+ seat VDI deployments.
Instead of going to VDI, Cheston predicts customers will embrace cloud-ready clients. And in some cases, he sees customers eventually shifting from traditional PCs to thin clients (with thin operating systems) to so-called ZeroPC devices that have no local operating system and instead access servers to get all user credentials.
Instead of delivering cloud applications through a basic browser connection, cloud-ready clients will offer an even richer browser experience, Cheston predicted. All new systems that Lenovo has announced are essentially cloud-ready, said Cheston. But secure cloud access can work with legacy systems as well, he added.
I must concede: The cloud-ready client concept still seems a bit vague to me. Will certain PCs be labeled cloud ready? And will VARs be able to promote that richer cloud-ready browser experience to end-customers? If so: When? didn’t have a chance to ask Cheston those questions directly. But I’ll be following up in the weeks ahead.
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