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By 10 October 2011 | Categories: news

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Internet Solutions (IS) today announced the launch of a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution that delivers Microsoft Windows desktops on a Desktop-as-a-Service basis. Delivered in partnership with Silicon Sky, the addition of this hosted desktop solution, called Desktop in the Cloud, positions the company as a complete end-to-end corporate cloud-based solution provider.

The Desktop in the Cloud solution uses a VMware virtualisation platform with a Microsoft Windows Remote Desktop Session (RDS) terminal to deliver virtualised desktops on demand, in a thin client environment and on a per user basis. The solution is managed centrally by IS and can be easily integrated with other backend application, database or ERP systems hosted with IS, offering seamless integration.

“While the focus of cloud computing has traditionally been on the mobility it enables, the advantages offered by cloud-based desktops extend much deeper,” explains Graeme O'Driscoll, innovation and technology manager: Cloud at IS. “The real benefit of cloud-based desktops lies in the reduced maintenance requirements and the enhanced capabilities that this technology offers.”

O'Driscoll explains that IS' ability to centrally manage thousands of desktops means that all software updates, security and troubleshooting can be managed remotely, as IS technicians can be granted access to the users' workstations in real time and access applications to sort out any issues. There is now also more control over what gets loaded onto a work desktop environment.

“This vastly reduces the human capital requirements within internal IT departments, as technicians no longer need to be on site to work on individual physical workstations when something breaks, which adds to the cost saving benefits realised from the reduced hardware needs,” he says.

“As the Desktop in the Cloud solution is a super-light application, user terminals no longer need a hard drive or moving parts, so there is very little that can break. This means that companies can now 'sweat' their assets and make them last longer, to significantly improves desktop lifecycle management.”

The solution also makes a user's desktop applications and functions automatically available on any device, regardless of platform. “This plays an important role in ensuring business continuity and disaster recovery, as all the company applications and information is now stored in the cloud,” explains O'Driscoll.

“Even if the physical building that houses the hardware is destroyed, all the data is stored off-site and is immediately accessible from another device. Backups of user data are also done automatically, so there is no longer a need for manual backups, which improves compliance.”

This also means that, should a device get stolen or the hardware compromised, information is protected and not lost, according to O'Driscoll. “This is an important aspect in light of the Protection of Private Information Act, which would require that a user contact every person who had personal information stored on a stolen or compromised device.

IS has ensured the delivery of this rich user experience through the reduced bandwidth protocol used by the solution. “It is common for other VDIs to have a high bandwidth requirement, of up to 160 kb/second, however we have managed to get ours down to 12 kb/second per session,” says O'Driscoll.

The Desktop in the Cloud solution will be available to IS clients from the 1st October and comes in two packages. The Lite package comes with the Microsoft Office suite and gives users access to internet, which is limited in total traffic to 100 GB per month. “Each user is also given 10 GB of storage that can be provisioned either as a quota per user or aggregate it across all users,” says O'Driscoll. The Lite version also comes with anti-virus and full backups of all user data.

The Pro package has a 2 GB hosted Exchange mailbox, with mail archiving and Symantec Mail Hygiene, and also offers clients the ability to connect with their BlackBerry Enterprise Server. It also comes standard with the Microsoft Office suite.

Both packages are billed on a per user basis, and includes all monitoring and support through the IS Global Service Centre. More information is available at www.is.co.za.

In related news, Internet Solutions is building a state-of-the-art green data centre, scheduled for completion in Q4 of 2011. 

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