A usual adoption
pattern for cloud computing are desktops. It's really straight
forward because in general each company has standardized desktops:
only some specific version of the operating system are supported,
only specific flavours, only some applications are allowed and
typically everything is managed by the IT team.
If we think at the
benefits of adopting desktop cloud, some of them really jump
powerfully in front of the eyes: the IT team can really enforce
standardization (e.g. you can select as desktop only one of the
proposed flavours); the maintenance of the hw becomes far easier
given its consolidation; old, out-dated PCs can be used just as
connectors to the desktop hence gaining new life. From the desktop
user point of view he does no longer need to carry on some company
asset to work: healthier (no more heavy hw to take home or
travelling); safer (data is in the cloud).
But this is
nothing new, desktop cloud solution are already on the market, so
let's see if IBM SmartCloud Provisioning can bring additional
benefits to the desktop world.
What if we start
dealing with non-persistent desktop images?
images are the ones that disappear once you shut them down. You might
be asking yourself “well, that's not so clever, what about my data?
Are they lost?”. This is actually a very good point and this is the
keystone of the benefits coming with the adoption of non-persistent
The idea is that
all user data get stored into external (persistent) volumes that can
be attached/detached on demand to the non-persistent image.
If we now apply
this technology to the desktop world, it shed an interesting new
light on some typical and painful scenarios:
System or Software patching
the compliance of the desktops
changes in the amount of desktop users
In a traditional
infrastructure, when the operating system goes or is getting close to
go out of maintenance, a massive migration campaign starts: all
desktops need to be migrated. Now the migration statistically does
not go smoothly for all users and hence some of them will be stuck
even for days. If you use non-persistent images, you can easily
overcome this either creating a new master image with the new
operating system or upgrading a single instance of the image, do your
test campaign to make sure everything keeps working, then deploy it
in as many instances as the desktops you need to upgrade are, attach
to the new images the volumes with the user data and get rid of the
old images. If you leverage the incredible deployment speed of IBM
SmartCloud Provisioning, you'll have a brand new set of desktops in
Analogously we may
think about patching the operating system or a software running on
the desktop: they key idea behind this is that you're always going to
patch either the operating system or a specific software, never the
user data that keep living into separate volumes.
If we think at the
compliance aspect, remember that the user cannot save any change he
does on the boot disk of the image since nothing gets ever stored on
the disk. He is only empowered to write his own stuff on the
additional volumes. This should discourage him from even trying
installing new software or editing the operating system
configuration, since everything will be lost at the first shutdown.
I know in your
company you may have different configuration flavours of the same
operating system according to the department for which the desktop is
tailored. For example you may need to have different firewall
configurations according to the security level the end user is
entitled to. Well, with IBM SmartCloud Provisioning you can leverage
the User Data field at deployment time to specify these special
configurations. Of course this may even not be shown to the end user,
but you may mask it enlarging the list of the offering with the
specific configuration. Under the covers the instance is launched
with the proper parameters: no master image duplication, no manual
configuration; everything is automated and standardized.
optimizing resources? Desktops by their nature have all the same
operating system and configuration (at least for department),usually
they come also with the same applications installed on top. If you
deal with non-persistent images you are just saving lots of
duplicated, useless copies of the same operating systems and software
on the disk. Then, if you think that once the desktop is shut down,
its resources are released (i.e. cores and memory), you can better
optimize your hardware using those resources for other
applications/users (they may even be server application or desktops
for users residing in a different timezone).
coming on board? A project outsourced to an external work-force?
You may want to
have this people productive more than immediately. With IBM
SmartCloud Provisioning, their desktops will be up and running in
information about IBM SmartCloud Provisioning can be found in IBM
SmartCloud Provisioning WIKI and in IBM
SmartCloud Provisioning infocenter
See IBM SmartCloud Provisioning working
in a recorded