Showing posts with label clients. Show all posts
Showing posts with label clients. Show all posts

Monday, March 25, 2013

As Indiana Health Care Provider Goes Fully Virtualized, it Gains Head Start on BYOD and DR Benefits

Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast on how Associated Surgeons and Physicians, LLC went from a 100 percent physical to 100 percent virtual infrastructure.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: VMware.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you're listening to BriefingsDirect.

Today, we present part one of a two-part sponsored interview series on how a mid-market health services provider has rapidly adopted server and client virtualization. In doing so, they've gained significant new benefits, including the ability to move to mobile, bring your own device (BYOD), and ultimately advanced disaster recovery (DR).

Today we'll hear how Associated Surgeons and Physicians, LLC in Indiana went from 100 percent physical to 100 percent virtualized infrastructure, and how both compliance and efficiency goals have been met and exceeded as a result.

Stay with us now to learn more about creating the right prescription for allowing users to designate and benefit from their own device choices, while also gaining an ability to better manage sensitive data and to create a data-protection lifecycle approach.

Here to share his story on the best methods and technologies for better IT and business results in the health care services sector, we're joined by, and we welcome, Ray Todich, Systems Administrator at Associated Surgeons and Physicians. Welcome, Ray. [Disclosure: VMware is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Ray Todich: Hi. How are you?

Gardner: I'm good. Let’s take this first at a high level. A lot of organizations are looking to improve their IT and expand their business. They have various goals for compliance and making sure that their users are kept up-to-date on the latest and greatest in respective client technologies. Yet I'm curious what attracted you, at the beginning, to go to much higher total levels of server -- and then client -- virtualization.

Todich: When I first started here, the company was entirely physical. And as background, I came from a couple of companies that utilized virtualization at very high levels. So I'm very aware of the benefits, as far as administration, and the benefits of overall redundancy and activities -- the software and hardware used to allow high performance, high availability, access to people’s data, and still allow security be put in place.

When I came in, it looked like something you might have seen maybe 15 years ago. There were a lot of older technologies in place. The company had a lot of external drives hanging off the servers for backups, and so on.

My first thing to implement was server virtualization, which at the time, was the vSphere 4.1 package. I explained to them what it meant to have centralized storage, what it meant to have ESX host, and how creating virtual machines (VMs) would benefit them considerably over having physical servers in the infrastructure.

I gave them an idea on how nice it is to have alternate redundancy configured correctly, which is very important. When hardware drops out, RAID configuration goes south, or the entire server goes out, you've just lost an entire application -- or applications -- which in turn gives downtime.

I helped them to see the benefits of going virtualized, and at that time, it was solely for the servers.

Technology more important

Gardner: So over the past 10 or 15 years, as you pointed out, technology has just become so much more important to how a health provider operates, how they communicate to the rest of the world in terms of supplies, as well as insurance companies and payers, and so forth. Tell me a little bit about Associated Surgeons and Physicians. How big is the organization, what do you do, how have they been growing?

Todich: Pretty rapidly. Associated Surgeons and Physicians is a group of multi-specialty physicians and practices in Northeast Indiana and Northwest Ohio.

It began at the practice level, and then it really expanded. We're up to, I think, 14 additional locations and/or practices that have joined. We're also using an electronic medical record (EMR) application, given to us by Greenway, and that’s a big one that comes in.

We're growing exponentially. It went from one or two satellite practices that needed to piggyback Greenway, to probably 13 or 14 of them, and this is only the beginning. With that type of growth rate, you have to concern yourself with the amount of money it costs to serve everybody. If you have one physical server that goes out, you affect hundreds of users and thousands of patients, doctors, and whatnot. It’s a big problem, and that’s where virtualization came in strong.

Gardner: When I go to the physician’s office, and I just happened to be there yesterday, they've gotten so efficient at moving patients in and out, that the scheduling is amazing. It has to be tight. Every minute is accounted for. Downtime is just very detrimental and backs up everything. You can think about it, I suppose, like an airport. If one flight gets backed up, the whole rest of the country does. Is that the case with you all there too, that this critical notion of time management is so paramount?
The ability that virtualization gives us is the core or heart of the entire infrastructure of the business.

Todich: Oh, it’s absolutely massive. If we have a snag somewhere, or even if our systems are running slow, then everything else runs slow. The ability that virtualization gives us is the core or heart of the entire infrastructure of the business. Without an efficient heart, blood doesn’t move, and we have a bigger problem on our hands.

Gardner: How about this in terms of the size of the organization? How many seats are you accommodating in terms of client, and then what is it about an IT approach to an organization such as yours that also makes virtualization a good fit?

Todich: Right now, we have somewhere around 300 employees. As far as how many clients this overall organization has, it’s thousands. We have lots of people who utilize the organization. The reality is that the IT staff here is used in a minimalist approach, which is one thing that I saw as well when I was coming into this.

One or even two persons to manage that many servers can be a nightmare, and on top of that, you try to do your best to help all the users. If you have 300-plus people and their desktops, printers, and so forth, so the overall infrastructure can be pretty intimidating, when you don’t have a lot of people managing it.

Going virtual was a lifesaver. Everything is virtualized. You have a handful of physical ESX hosts that are managing anything, and everything is stored on centralized storage. It makes it considerably efficient as an IT administrator to utilize virtualization.

The right answer

That’s actually how we went into the adoption of VMware View, because of 300-plus users, and 300-plus desktops. At that point, it can be very hairy. At times, you have to try and divine what the right answer is. You have this important scenario going on, and you have this one and another one, and how do you manage them all. It becomes easier, when you virtualize everything, because you can get to everything very easily and cover everyone’s desktops.

Gardner: And you have a double whammy here, because you're a mid-market size company and don’t have a large, diversified IT staff to draw on. At the same time, you have branch offices and satellites, so you're distributed. To have people physically go to these places is just not practical. What is it about the distributed nature of your company that also makes virtualization and View 5.1 a good approach for a lean IT organization?

Todich: It helped us quite a bit, first and foremost, with the ability to give somebody a desktop, even if they were not physically connected to our network. That takes place a lot here.We have a lot of physicians who may be working inside of another hospital at the time.

Instead of them creating a VPN connection back into our organization, VMware View gave them the ability to have a client on their desktop, whether it be a PC, a MacBook, an iPod, an iPad, or whatever they have, even a phone, if they really want to go that route. They can connect anywhere, at anytime, as long as they have an Internet connection and they have the View client. So that was huge, absolutely huge.
It helped us quite a bit, first and foremost, with the ability to give somebody a desktop, even if they were not physically connected to our network.

They also have the ability to use PC-over-IP, versus RDP, That’s very big for us as well. It keeps the efficiency and the speed of the machines moving. If you're in somebody else’s hospital, you're bound to whatever network you are attached to there, so it really helps and it doesn’t bother their stuff as much. All you're doing is borrowing their Internet and not anything else.

Gardner: Of course, we get back to that all-important issue for these physicians, surgeons, and practitioners about their time management, scheduling, understanding where they are supposed to be an hour from now, and in what office. All of that is now getting much more efficient as a result.

Todich: Yes, absolutely.

Gardner: Tell me a bit more about your footprint. We've spoken about vSphere 4.1 and adopting along the path of 5.1. You even mentioned View. What else are you running there to support this impressive capabilities set?

Todich: We moved from vSphere 4.1 to 5.1, and going to VMware View. We use 5.1 there as well. We decided to utilize the networking and security vCloud Networking package, which at the time was a package called vShield. When we bought it, everything changed, nomenclature wise, and some of the products were dispersed, which actually was more to our benefit. We're very excited about that.

As far as our VDI deployment, that gave us the ability to use vShield Endpoint, which takes your anti-virus and offloads it somewhere else on the network, so that your hosts are not burdened with virus scans and updates. That’s a huge.

The word huge doesn’t even represent how everybody feels about that going away. It's not going away physically, just going away to another workhorse on the network so that the physicians, medical assistants (MAs), and everybody else isn’t burdened with, "Oh, look, it's updating," or "Look, it's scanning something." It's very efficient.

Network and security

Gardner: You mentioned the networking part of this, which is crucial when you're going across boundaries and looking for those efficiencies. Tell me a bit more about how the vCloud networking and security issues have been impacted.

Todich: That was another big one for us. Along with that the networking and security package comes a portion of the package called the vShield Edge, which will ultimately give us the ability to create our own DMZ the way that we want to create it, something that we don’t have at this time. This is very important to us.

Utilizing the vShield Edge package was fantastic, and yet another layer of security as well. Not only do we have our physical hardware, our guardians at the gate, but we also have another layer, and the way that it works, wrapping itself around each individual ESX host, is absolutely beautiful. You manage it just like you manage firewalls. So it’s very, very important.

Plus, some of the tools that we were going to utilize we felt most comfortable in, as far as security servers for the VDI package, that you want them sitting in a DMZ. So, all around, it really gave us quite a bit to work with, which we're very thankful for.

Gardner: How long did it take you to go from being 100 percent physical to where you are now, basically 100 percent virtual?
VMware, in itself, has the ability to reach out as far and wide as you want it to. It’s really up to the people who are building it.

Todich: We've been going at it for about about a year-and-a-half. We had to build the infrastructure itself, but we had to migrate all our applications from physical to virtual (P2V). VMware does a wonderful job with its options for using P2V. It’s a time saver as well. For anybody who has to deal with the one that’s building the house itself, it can really be a help.

VMware, in itself, has the ability to reach out as far and wide as you want it to. It’s really up to the people who are building it. It was very rapid, and it’s so much quicker to build servers or desktops, once you get your infrastructure in place.

In the previous process of buying a server, in which you have to get it quoted out and make sure everything is good, do all the front-end sales stuff, and then you have to wait for the hardware to get here. Once it’s here, you have to make sure it’s all here, and then you have to put it altogether and configure everything, so forth. Any administrator out there who's done this understands exactly what that’s all about.

Then you have to configure and get it going, versus, "Oh, you need another server, here, right click, deploy from template," and within 10 minutes you have a new server. That, all by itself, is priceless.

Gardner: We've talked a lot about software, but tell me a bit about your partners. It sounds as if you went along a pretty comprehensive hardware upgrade path as well. Did you also go to things like solid-state drives? Did you look for storage efficiencies through modernization? Tell me a bit about the hardware infrastructure path.

Centralized storage

Todich: I'm a bit of a storage junky. I love storage and what it can do. I'm a firm believer that centralized storage, and even more the virtualized centralized storage, is the answer to many, many, many issues. So I did a lot of research on whose price was efficient and whose hardware and software packaging was efficient.

I came from an IBM storage background, but after doing a lot of research, I kept coming back to Compellent, which Dell had purchased. I really liked what Compellent was doing. Even more so, I started to do some research on EqualLogic, and that’s what we ended up going with. We ended up with Dell’s EqualLogic centralized storage, and I can't speak enough of how great that stuff is.

I believe they took some of the technologies of the Compellent storage and moved it down to EqualLogic. It’s highly intelligent storage. We're very happy with that. And we went with an entire Dell overall package. Our infrastructure in the data center is everything Dell, their simplicity and their efficiency.

They make great hosts. Right now for out hosts we use Dell R710 servers as our ESX host, and I believe we're going to move to 810 as well. They can expand a lot more.

As I said, we're using EqualLogic. We're even using Dell’s Force10 as our backbone iSCSI infrastructure. I'm a fibre guy by trade initially, and it just seemed more efficient to use iSCSI backbone, which has been priceless as well. It's cost efficient and the quality is just as good. I see no difference.
I'm a firm believer that centralized storage, and even more the virtualized centralized storage, is the answer to many, many, many issues.

Gardner: Okay. We've talked a lot about infrastructure and how you've set things up. Let's talk a bit more now about what you get for all that investment, work, and progress. One of the things, of course, that’s key in your field is compliance and there's a lot going on with things like HIPAA, documents, and making sure the electronic capabilities are there for payers and provided. Tell me a bit about compliance and what you've been able to achieve with these advancements in IT?

Todich: With compliance, we've really been able to up our security, which channels straight into HIPAA. Obviously, HIPAA is very concerned with people’s data and keeping it private. So it’s a lot easier to manage all our security in one location.

With VDI, it's been able to do the same. If we need to make any adjustments security wise, it’s simply changing a golden image for our virtual desktop and then resetting everybody's desktops. It’s absolutely beautiful, and the physicians are very excited about it. They seem to really get ahold of what we have done with the ability that we have now, versus the ability we had two years ago. It does wonders.

Gardner: Ray, are there any other aspects to compliance and being in alignment with what the market expects of you?

Todich: Upgrading to a virtual infrastructure has helped us considerably in maintaining and increasing meaningful use expectations, with the ability to be virtual and have the redundancy that gives, along with the fact that VMs seem to run a lot more efficiently virtually. We have better ways to collect data, a lot more uptime, and a lot more efficiency, so we can collect more data from our customers.

Exceeding expectations

The more people come through, the more data is collected, the more uptime is there, the more there are no problems, which in turn has considerably helped meeting and exceeding the expectations of what's expected with meaningful use, which was a big deal.

Gardner: I've heard that term "meaningful use" elsewhere. What does that really mean? Is that just the designation that some regulatory organization has, or is that more of a stock-in-trade description?

Todich: My understanding of it, as an IT administrator, is basically the proper collection of people's data and keeping it safe. I know that it has a lot in with our EMR application, and what is collected when our customers interact with us.

Gardner: I'm going to guess, Ray, that you have a variety of personality types, when it comes to IT adoption. I know people who are just dying to get the latest and greatest. And then I have folks who I know, where if it works, they don’t want to budge.

So given that you probably had a variety of cultural approaches to IT among your constituents, how have you been able to basically satisfy that diversity? How have you been able to keep everyone moving along toward some of these newer capabilities?
The more people come through, the more data is collected, the more uptime is there, the more there are no problems.

Todich: Just by exposing them to the ultimate efficiency that we are creating was a big thing to them. It still is and it always will be, especially in their field. These people are here to help other people and they have to be able to get their data. At some point, they have to be able to get it whenever, wherever, immediately.

Whether they were IT savvy or not, the ability to explain to them, anywhere, anytime, 365, 24x7, really seals the deal right there. It's the simplicity of, "Doc, you could be sitting at a coffee shop in New Hampshire, and if you need, for whatever reason, to be able to get into your computer at work, you launch your View client and away you go, as long as you have Internet" I think that spoke to them.

Gardner: Are there any milestones or achievements you've been able to make in terms of this adoption, such as behaviors and then the protection of the documents and privacy data that has perhaps moved you into a different category and allows you to move forward on some of these regulatory designations?

Todich: It's given us the ability to centralize all our data. You have one location, when it comes to backing up and restoring, versus a bunch of individual physical servers. So data retention and protection has really increased quite a bit as far as that goes.

Gardner: How about DR?

Disaster recovery

Todich: With DR, I think there are a lot of businesses out there that hear that and don’t necessarily take it that seriously, until disaster hits. It’s probably the same thing with people and tornadoes. When they're not really around, you don’t really care. When all of a sudden, a tornado is on top of your house, I bet you care then.

VMware gives you the ability to do DR on a variety of different levels, whether it’s snapshotting, or using Site Recovery Manager, if you have a second data center location. It’s just endless.

One of the most important topics that can be covered in an IT solution is about our data. What happens if it stops or what happens if we lose it? What can we do to get it back, and how fast, because once data stops flowing, money stops flowing as well, and nobody wants that.

It’s important, especially if you're recording people’s private health information. If you lose certain data that’s very important, it’s very damaging across the board. So to be able to retain our data safely is of the highest concern, and VMware allows us to do that.

Also, it’s nice to have the ability to do snapshotting as well. Speaking of servers and whatnot, I'll have to lay it on that one, because in IT, everybody knows that software upgrades come. Sometimes, software upgrades don’t go the way that they're supposed to, whether it’s an EMR application, a time-saving application, or ultrasounds.
If it doesn’t work out in your favor, you have the ability to delete that snapshot and you're back to where you started from before the migratio.

If you take a snapshot before the upgrade and run your upgrade on that snapshot, if everything goes great and everybody is satisfied. You can just merge the snapshot with the primary image and you are good to go.

If it doesn’t work out in your favor, you have the ability to delete that snapshot and you're back to where you started from before the migration, which was hopefully a functioning state.

Gardner: Let’s look to the future a bit. It sounds as if with these capabilities and the way that you've been describing DR benefits, you can start to pick and choose data center locations, maybe even thinking about software-defined networking and data center. That then allows you to pick and choose a cloud provider or a hosting model. So are you thinking about being able to pick up and virtually move your entire infrastructure, based on what makes sense to your company over the next say 5 or 10 years.

Todich: That’s exactly right, and the way this is growing, something that's been surfacing a lot in our neck of the woods is the ability to do hosting and provide cloud-based solutions, and VMware is our primary site on that as well.

But, if need be, if we had to migrate our data center from one state to another, we'll have the option to do that, which is very important, and it helps with uptime as well. Stuff happens. I mean, you can be at a data center physically and something happens to a generator that has all the power. All of a sudden, everybody is feeling the pain.

So with the ability to have the Site Recovery, it’s priceless, because it just goes to location B and everybody is still up. You may see a blip or you may not, and nothing is lost. That leaves everybody to deal with the data-center issue and everything is still up and going, which is very nice.

Creating redundancy

Gardner: I imagine too, Ray, that it works both ways. On one hand, you have a burgeoning ecosystem of cloud and hosting, of providers and options, that you can pursue, do your cost benefit analysis, think about the right path, and create redundancy.

At the same time, you probably have physicians or individual, smaller physician practices, that might look to you and say, "Those guys are doing their IT really well. Why don’t we just subscribe to their services or piggyback on their infrastructure?" Do you have any thoughts about becoming, in a sense, an IT services provider within the healthcare field? It expands your role and even increases your efficiency and revenues.

Todich: Yes, our sights are there. As a matter of fact, our heads are being turned in that direction without even trying to, because a lot of people are doing that. It’s a lot easier for smaller practices, instead of buying all the infrastructure and putting it all in place to get everything up, and then maintaining it, we will house it for you. We'll do that.
Something that's been surfacing a lot in our neck of the woods is the ability to do hosting and provide cloud-based solutions, and VMware is our primary site on that as well.

Gardner: Great, we've had a wonderful discussion, part one of a two-part sponsored podcast series, on how a mid-market health services provider has rapidly adopted server and client virtualization. We’ve seen how Associated Surgeons and Physicians, LLC has gained significant benefits from virtualization by extending the benefits to mobile, embracing BYOD, and then moving into advanced DR.

We've seen how they used a VMware-centric infrastructure approach to go from a 100 percent physical to a 100 percent virtualized infrastructure in less than two years, and in doing so, gaining compliance and efficiency goals that have met and exceeded their initial goals.

So a big thank you to our guest, Ray Todich, Systems Administrator at Associated Surgeons and Physicians in Indiana. Thanks so much, Ray.

Todich: Thank you for having me. I greatly appreciate it.

Gardner: This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks also to you, our audience, for listening, and don’t forget to come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: VMware.

Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast on how Associated Surgeons and Physicians, LLC went from a 100 percent physical to a 100 percent virtual infrastructure. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2013. All rights reserved.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Legal Services Leader Foley & Lardner Makes Strong Case for Virtual Desktops

Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast on how a major law firm has adopted desktop virtualization and BYOD to give employees more choices and flexibility.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Download the transcript. Sponsor: VMware.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you're listening to BriefingsDirect.

Today, we present a sponsored podcast discussion on how global legal services leader Foley & Lardner LLP has adopted virtual desktops and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) innovation to enhance end-user productivity across their far-flung operations.

We'll see how Foley has delivered applications, data, and services better and with improved control, even as employees have gained more choices and flexibility over the client devices, user experiences, and applications usage.

Stay with us now to learn more about adapting to the new realities of client computing and user expectations. We're joined by Linda Sanders, the CIO at Foley & Lardner LLP. Welcome to BriefingsDirect, Linda.

Linda Sanders: Thank you for having me.

Gardner: We're also here with Rick Varju, Director of Engineering & Operations at Foley. Welcome, Rick. [Disclosure: VMware is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Rick Varju: Thank you.

Gardner: My first question to you, Linda. When you look back on how you've come to this new and innovative perspective on client computing, what was the elephant in the room, when it came to the old way of doing client-side computing? Was there something major that you needed to overcome?

Sanders: Yes, we had to have a reduction in our technology staffing, and because of that, we just didn't have the same number of technicians in the local offices to deal with PCs, laptops, re-imaging, and lease returns, the standard things that we had done in the past. We needed to look at new ways of doing things, where we could reduce the tech touches, as we call it, and find a different way to provide a desktop to people in a fast, new way.

Gardner: Rick, same question. What was it from more of a technical perspective that you needed to overcome or that you wanted to at least do differently?

Varju: From a technical perspective, we were looking for ways to manage the desktop side of our business better, more efficiently, and more effectively. Being able to do that out of our centralized data center made a lot of sense for us.

Other benefits have come along with the centralized data center that weren't necessarily on our radar initially, and that has really helped to improve efficiencies and productivity in several ways.

Gardner: We'll certainly want to get into that in a few moments, but just for the context for our listeners and readers, tell us a bit about your organization at Foley. Linda, how big are you, where do you do business?

Virtualized desktops

Sanders: Foley has approximately 900 attorneys and another 1,200 support personnel. We're in 18 U.S. offices, where we support virtualized desktops. We have another three international offices. At this time, we're not doing virtualized desktops there, but it is in our future.

Gardner: So you obviously have a very large set of requirements across all those different users and types of users and you're dealing, of course, with very sensitive information, so control and compliance and security are all very top of mind for you.

Sanders: Absolutely.

Gardner: Okay. Let's move to what you've done. As I understand it, desktop virtualization has played an enabling role with the notion of BYOD or allowing your end users to pick and choose their own technology and even perhaps own that technology.

Going to you now, Rick, how has virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) been an enabler for this wider choice?

Varju: The real underlying benefit is being able to securely deliver the desktop as a service (DaaS). We are no longer tied to a physical desktop and that means you can now connect to that same desktop experience, wherever you are, anytime, from any device, not just to have that easy access, but to make it secure by delivering the desktop from within the secure confines of our data center.

That's what's behind deploying VDI and embracing BYOD at the same time. You get that additional security that wouldn't otherwise be there, if you had to have all your applications and all data reside on that endpoint device that you no longer have control over.

With VMware View and delivering the DaaS from the data center, very little information has to go back to the endpoint device now, and that's a great model for our BYOD initiatives.

Gardner: Just to be clear, of your 2,000 users, how many of them are taking advantage of the BYOD policy?

Varju: Well, there are two answers to that question. One is our more formal Technology Allowance Program, which I think Linda will cover in a little more detail, that really focuses on attorneys and getting out of the laptop and mobility device business.

Then there are other administrative staff within the firm who may have personal devices that aren’t part of our Technology Allowance Program, but are still leveraging some of the benefits of using their personal equipment.

Mobile devices

In terms of raw numbers, every attorney in the firm has a mobile device. The firm provides a BlackBerry as part of our standard practice and then we have users who now are bringing in their own equipment. So at least 900 attorneys are taking advantage of mobility connectivity, and most of those attorneys have laptops, whether they are firm issued or BYOD.

So the short answer to the question is easily 1,500 personnel taking advantage of some sort of connectivity to the firm through their mobile devices.

Gardner: That's impressive, a vast majority of the attorneys and a significant portion, if not a majority, of the rest. This seems to be a win-win. As IT and management, you get a better control and a sense of security, and the users get choice and flexibility. You don't always get a win-win when it comes to IT, isn't that right, Linda?

Sanders: That's correct. Before, we were selecting the equipment, providing that equipment to people, and over and over again, we started to hear that that's not what they wanted. They wanted to select the machine, whether it be a PC, a Mac, an iPad, or smartphone. And even if we were providing standard equipment, we knew that people were bringing in their own. So formulating a formal BYOD program worked out well for us.

In our first year, we had 300 people take advantage of that formal program. This year, to date, we have another 200 who have joined, and we are expecting to add another 100 to that.

As Rick mentioned, we did also open this up to some of our senior level administrative management this year and we now have some of those individuals on the program. So that too is helping us, because we don't have to provision and lease that equipment and have our local technology folks get that out to people and be swapping machines.

Now, when we're taking away a laptop, for example, we can put a hosted desktop in and have people using VMware View. They're seeing that same desktop, whether they're sitting in the office or using their BYOD device.
They're seeing that same desktop, whether they're sitting in the office or using their BYOD device.

Gardner: Of course, with offices around the United States, this must be a significant saver in terms of supporting these devices. You're able to do it for the most part remotely, and with that single DaaS provision, control that much more centrally, is that correct?

Sanders: Yes.

Gardner: Do you have any metrics in terms of how much that saved you? Maybe just start at the support and operations level, which over time, is perhaps the largest cost for IT?

Sanders: Over three years, we'll probably be able to reduce our spend by about 22 percent.

Gardner: That’s significant. I'd love to hear more, Linda, about your policy. How did you craft a BYOD policy? Where do you start with that? What does it really amount to?

Realistic number

Sanders: Of course, there's math involved. We did have our business manager within technology calculate for us what we were spending year after year on equipment, factoring in how much tech time is involved in that, and coming up with a realistic number, where people could go out and purchase equipment over a three-year time frame.

That was the start of it, looking at that breakdown of the internal time, selecting a dollar amount, and then putting together a policy, so that individuals who decided to participate in it would know what the guidelines were.

Our regional technology managers met one on one or in small groups with attorneys who wanted to go on the program, went through the program with them, and answered any questions upfront, which I think really served us well. It wasn’t that we just put something out on paper, and people didn’t understand what they were signing up for.

Those meetings covered all the high points, let them know that this was personal equipment and that, in the end, they're responsible for it should something happen. That was how we put the program together and how we decided to communicate the information to our attorneys.

Gardner: You've been ranked very high for client services by outside organizations in the past few years. You have a strong focus on delivering exceptional client services. Has something about the DaaS allowed you to extend these benefits beyond just your employees? Is there some aspect of this that helps on that client services equation? I'll throw that to you, Rick.
That does provide some additional benefit for our attorneys, when it comes to delivering the best possible service we can to our clients.

Varju: The ease of mobility and some of the productivity gains make a big difference. The quicker we can get access to people and information for our attorneys, no matter where they are and no matter what the device they're using, is really important today. That does provide some additional benefit for our attorneys, when it comes to delivering the best possible service we can to our clients.

Gardner: I know this might be a little bit in the future, but is there any possibility, of being able to extend the desktop experience to your actual clients. That is, to deliver applications data, views of content and documents, and so forth through some sort of a device-neutral manner to their endpoint device?

Varju: One of the things that we're looking at now is unified communications, and trying to pull everything to the desktop, all the experiences together, and one of those important components is collaboration.

If we can deliver a tool that will allow attorneys and clients to collaborate on the same document, from within the same desktop view, that would provide tremendous value. There are certainly products out there that will allow you to federate with other organizations. That’s the line of thinking we're looking at now and we'll look to deploy something like that in the near future.

Gardner: Before we get into how you've been able to do this, I'd like to learn a little bit more about the client satisfaction, that being your internal clients, your employees. Have you done any surveying or conducted any research into how folks adapt to this? Is this something that they like, and why? How about to you, Linda?

The biggest plus

Sanders: The biggest plus is, as Rick mentioned, for people who are mobile, is that they have the same desktop, no matter where they are. As I talked about before, whether they're in the office or out of the office, they have the same experience.

If we have a building shut down, we are not trapped into not being able to deliver a desktop, because they can’t get into the building and they can’t work inside. They're working from outside and it’s just like they are sitting here. That’s one of the biggest pluses that we've seen and that we hear from people -- just that availability of the desktop

Gardner: So flexibility in terms of location. I suppose also flexibility in terms of choosing what form factor suits their particular needs at a particular time. Perhaps a smartphone access at one point, a tablet at another time, or another type of engagement, and of course the full PC or laptop, when that’s required.

Sanders: Correct.

Varju: Before deploying VDI and VMware View, we delivered a more generic desktop for remote access. So to Linda’s point, being able to have your actual desktop follow you around on whatever device you are using is big. Then it's the mobility, even from within the office.

When an attorney signs up for the Technology Allowance Program, we provide them a thin client on their desk, which they use when they're sitting in their office. Then, as part of the Technology Allowance Program and Freedom of Choice, they purchase whatever mobility technology suits them and they can use that technology when working out of conference rooms with clients, etc.
The ability to move and work within the office, whether in a conference room, in a lobby, you name it, those are powerful features for the attorneys.

So remote access and having their own personal desktop follow them around, the ability to move and work within the office, whether in a conference room, in a lobby, you name it, those are powerful features for the attorneys.

Gardner: I have to believe that this is the wave of the future, but I'm impressed that you've done this to the extent you have done it and across so much of your user base. It seems to me that you're really on the forefront of this. Do you have any inkling to whether you're unique, not only in legal circles, but perhaps even in business in general?

Varju: We're definitely ahead of the curve within the legal vertical. Other verticals have ventured into this. Two in particular have avoided it longer than most, the healthcare and financial industries. But without a doubt, we're ahead of the curve amongst our peers, and there are some real benefits that go along with being early adopters.

Gardner: That provides us an opportunity to get a little bit more information about how you've done this. My understanding is that you were largely virtualized at your server level already. Tell me if that helped, and when you decided to go about this, without getting into too much of the weeds on the technology, how did you architect or map out what your requirements were going to be from that back end?

A lot of times people find that VDI comes with some strings attached that they weren’t anticipating, that there were some issues around storage, network capacity, and so forth. Explain for me, Rick, how you went about architecting and perhaps a little bit about the journey, and both good and bad experiences there?

Process and strategy

Varju: Your comment was correct about how server virtualization played into our decision process and strategy. We've been virtualizing servers for quite some time now. Our server environment is just over 75 percent virtualized. Because of the success we have had there, and the great support from VMware, we felt that it was a natural fit for us to take a close look at VMware View as a virtual desktop solution.

We started our deployment in October of 2009. So we started pretty early, and as is often the case with being an early adopter, you're going to go through some pain being among the first to do what you are doing.

In working with our vendor partners, VMware, as well as our storage integrators, what we learned early on is that there wasn’t a lot of real-world experience for us to draw from when designing or laying out the design for the underlying infrastructure. So we did a lot of crawling before we walked, walking before we ran, and a lot of learning as we went.

But to VMware’s credit, they have been with us every step of the way and have really taken joint ownership and joint responsibility of this project with Foley. Whenever we have had issues, they have been very quick to address those issues and to work with us. I can't say enough about how important that business relationship is in a project of this magnitude.

While there was certainly some pain in the early stages of this project and trying to identify what infrastructure components and capacities needed to be there, VMware as a partner truly did help us get through those, and quite effectively.
To VMware’s credit, they have been with us every step of the way and have really taken joint ownership and joint responsibility of this project with Foley.

Gardner: Rick, as we discussed, you're extending these desktops across hundreds and even thousands of users and many of them at different locations -- homes, remote offices, and so forth. How have you been able to manage your performance across all of those different endpoints, and how critical has the PC-over-IP technology been in helping with that?

Varju: PC-over-IP Protocol is critical to the overall VDI solution and delivering the DaaS, whether it's inside the Foley organization and the WAN links that we have between our offices, or an attorney who is working from home, a Starbucks or you name it. PC-over-IP as a protocol is optimized to work over even the lowest of bandwidth connections.

The fact that you're just sending changes to screens really does optimize that communication. So the end result is that you get a better user experience with less bandwidth consumption.

Gardner: I'd like to hear more too, Rick, about what you mentioned earlier, in that there are some adjacencies in terms of benefits. When you get to that higher level of server virtualization, when you start to identify your requirements and meet them to bring a full DaaS experience out to your end users, what were some of those unintended consequences that seemed to be positive for you?

Varju: I don’t know if they were unintended, but certainly it was the centralized management of the desktop environment, and being able to deploy patches and software updates from the centralized data center to the VDI infrastructure.

Finding different ways

t's a different way of doing things. Going back to Linda’s comments earlier, given the economic situation back in 2009 and 2010, we had to find different ways to do things. VDI just really helped us get there.

So for the centralized management, the secure benefits of delivering a virtual desktop from the data center, being able to deliver desktops faster, the provisioning side of what we do, we just saw great efficiencies and improvements there.

We had a separate production facility at Foley, where physical desktops and laptops were all shipped, set up, burned in, configured, and then shipped out to the offices that needed them. With virtualizing the desktop, we're now able to ship zero client or thin client hardware directly to the office from the manufacturer and eliminate the need for a separate production facility.

That was a benefit that we didn’t think about early on, but certainly something we enjoyed once we really got into our deployment.

Gardner: And how about the applications themselves, on an application lifecycle management (ALM) level? Have you been able to get a better handle on your lifecycle of applications -- which ones to keep, which ones to update or upgrade, which ones to sunset? Have you been able to allow your users to request applications and then deliver them at least faster? What's been the baseline impact on the application process?
You don’t have to be in the office to still be productive and serve our clients. You can do that anywhere.

Varju: I don’t think we have seen a lot of impact on the application delivery side yet, but we will gain more benefit in that area as we move forward and virtualize more of our applications. We do have a number of our core apps virtualized today. That makes it easier for us to deliver application, but we haven’t done that in any large scale yet.

Gardner: Anything on business continuity or disaster recovery that's easier or better now that you have gone to a more of a DaaS approach?

Varju: Absolutely. All you need is an Internet connection and the View client. It's that simple. Like many organizations, we've have had our share of natural disasters impacting business. We had a flood in our D.C. office, wildfires in California, and a snowstorm in the Midwest, and in each of those instances it resulted in shutting down an office for a period of time.

Today, delivering DaaS, our attorneys can connect using whatever device they have via the Internet to their personal Foley desktop, and that's powerful. You don’t have to be in the office to still be productive and serve our clients. You can do that anywhere.

Gardner: Linda, how would you characterize the overall success of this program, and then where do you take it next? Are there some other areas that you can apply this to? You mentioned unified communication and collaboration. What might be in the pipeline for leveraging this approach in the future?

Freedom of choice

Sanders: The success that we've had, as we have spoken about throughout this call, has been the ability to deliver that desktop and to have attorneys speak to their peers and let them know. Many times, we have attorneys stop us in the hallway to find out how they too can get on a hosted desktop.

Leveraging with the BYOD program helped us, giving people that freedom of choice, and then providing them with a work desktop that they can access from wherever.

We're really looking at unified communications. One of the things that I'm very interested in is video at the desktop. It's something that I am going to be looking at, because we use video conferencing extensively here, and people really like that video connection.

They want to be able to do video conferencing from wherever they are, whether it's in a conference room, outside the office, on their laptop, on a smartphone. Bringing in that unified communication is going to be one of the next things we're going to focus on.

Gardner: Rick, we hear so much these days about cloud computing. If you decide to exploit some of the cloud models or hybrid cloud, where you can pick and choose among different sources and ways of serving up workloads, might your approach be a stepping stone to that? Have you considered what the impact of cloud computing might be, given what you have already been able to attain with BYOD and VDI?
Any time we look at a change in technology, especially the underlying infrastructure, we always take a look at what cloud services are available and have to offer.

Varju: Cloud computing is certainly an interesting topic and one that you can spend a day on, in and of itself. At Foley, any time we look at a change in technology, especially the underlying infrastructure, we always take a look at what cloud services are available and have to offer, because it's important for us to keep our eye on that.

There is another area where Foley is doing things differently than a lot of our peers, and that's in the area of document management. We're using a cloud-based service for document management now. Where VMware View and VMware, as an organization, will benefit Foley as we move forward is probably more along the lines of the Horizon product, where we can pull our SaaS-based applications or on-premise based applications all together in a single portal.

It all looks the same to our users, it all opens and functions just as easily, while also being able to deliver single sign-on and two-factor authentication. Just pulling the whole desktop together that way is going to be real beneficial. Virtualizing the desktop, virtualizing our servers, those are key points in getting us to that destination.

Gardner: I'm afraid we'll have to leave it there. We've been talking about how global legal services leader Foley & Lardner LLP has adopted virtual desktops and BYOD innovations, and we have heard about how using a VMware centric VDI and BYOD approach has helped enhanced end user productivity, cut total cost, and extended their ability to leverage the future of IT perhaps much sooner than their competitors, and this all of course across many -- up to 20 remote offices.

I'd like to thank our guests for sharing their story. It's been very interesting. We've been here with Linda Sanders, CIO at Foley. Thanks so much, Linda.

Sanders: Thank you.

Gardner: And also Rick Varju, Director of Engineering & Operations there at Foley. Thank you so much, Rick.

Varju: Thank you.

Gardner: This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks again to you also, our audience, for listening, and don’t forget to come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Download the transcript. Sponsor: VMware.

Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast on how a major law firm has adopted desktop virtualization and BYOD to give employees more choices and flexibility. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2012. All rights reserved.

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Friday, June 04, 2010

Analysts Probe Future of Client Architectures as HTML 5 and Client Virtualization Loom

Edited transcript of BriefingsDirect Analyst Insights Edition podcast, Vol. 52 on client-side architectures and the prospect of heightened disruption in the PC and device software arenas.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Download the transcript. Charter Sponsor: Active Endpoints.

Special offer: Download a free, supported 30-day trial of Active Endpoint's ActiveVOS at

Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to the latest BriefingsDirect Analyst Insights Edition, Volume 52. I'm your host and moderator Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

This periodic discussion and dissection of IT infrastructure related news and events, with a panel of industry analysts and guests, comes to you with the help of our charter sponsor, Active Endpoints, maker of the ActiveVOS Business Process Management System.

Our topic this week on BriefingsDirect Analyst Insights Edition focuses on client-side architectures and the prospect of heightened disruption in the PC and device software arenas.

Such trends as cloud computing, service oriented architecture (SOA), social media, software as a service (SaaS), and virtualization are combining and overlapping to upset the client landscape. If more of what more users are doing with their clients involves services, then shouldn't the client be more services ready? Should we expect one client to do it all very well, or do we need to think more about specialized clients that might be configured on the fly?

Today's clients are more tied to the past than the future, where one size fits all. Most clients consist of a handful of entrenched PC platforms, a handful of established web browsers, and a handful of PC-like smartphones. But, what has become popular on the server, virtualization, is taken to its full potential on these edge devices. New types of dynamic and task specific client types might emerge. We'll take a look at what they might look like.

Also, just as Windows 7 for Microsoft is quickly entering the global PC market, cloud providers are in an increasingly strong position to potentially favor certain client types or data and configuration synchronization approaches. Will the client lead the cloud or vice versa? We'll talk about that too.

Either way, the new emphasis seems to be on full-media, webby activities, where standards and technologies are vying anew for some sort of a de-facto dominance across both rich applications as well as media presentation capabilities.

We're going to look at the future of the client with a panel of analysts and guests. Let me introduce them. I am going to welcome Chad Jones. He is the Vice President for Product Management at Neocleus. Welcome, Chad.

Chad Jones: Thank you, Dana. I'm glad to be here.

Gardner: We're also here with Michael Rowley, CTO of Active Endpoints. Welcome, Michael.

Michael Rowley: Thank you.

Gardner: We're also here again with Jim Kobielus, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research. Hi, Jim.

Jim Kobielus: Hi, Dana. Hi, everybody.

Gardner: And Michael Dortch, Director of Research at Focus. Hello, Michael.

Michael Dortch: Greetings, everyone. Thanks, Dana.

Gardner: JP Morgenthal, Chief Architect, Merlin International. Hi, JP.

JP Morgenthal: Hi, Dana. Hi, everyone.

Gardner: And Dave Linthicum, CTO, Bick Group. Welcome back, Dave.

Dave Linthicum: Hey guys.

Gardner: Let me go first to Chad Jones. Tell us where you see virtualization impacting the edge device, the client. Are we to expect something similar in terms of disruption there than the same as what we have seen on servers?

Time for disruption

Jones: Dana, in the client market, it's time for disruption. Looking at the general PC architectures, we have seen that since pretty much the inception of the computer, you really still have one operating system (OS) that's bound to one machine, and that machine, according to a number of analysts, is less than 10 percent utilized.

Normally, that's because you can't share that resource and really take advantage of everything that modern hardware can offer you. Dual cores and all the gigabytes of RAM that are available on the client are all are great things, but if you can't have an architecture that can take advantage of that in a big way, then you get more of the same.

On the client side, virtualization is moving into all forms of computing. We've seen that with applications, storage, networks, and certainly the revolution that happened with VMware and the hypervisors on the server side. But, the benefits from the server virtualization side were not only the ability to run multiple OSs side-by-side and consolidate servers, which is great, but definitely not as relevant to the client side. It’s really the ability to manage the machine at the machine level and be able to take OSs and move them as individual blocks of functionality in those workloads.

The same thing for the client can become possible when you start virtualizing that endpoint and stop doing management of the OS as management of the PC, and be able to manage that PC at the root level.

Virtualization is a key enabler into that, and is going to open up PC architectures to a whole brave new world of management and security. And, at a platform level, there will be things that we're not even seeing yet, things that developers can think of, because they have options to now run applications and agents and not be bound to just Windows itself. I think it’s going to be very interesting.

With virtualization, you have a whole new area where cloud providers can tie in at the PC level. They'll be able to bundle desktop services and deliver them in a number of unique ways.

Gardner: Chad, we're also seeing, of course, this welling of interest in cloud and SaaS, where services are coming off the Internet for applications and increasingly for entertainment, and to consumers as movies and video clips and full media. Is there something going on here between the two trends, where virtualization has some potential, but cloud computing is also ramping up? Is there some way that the cloud will be delivering virtualized instances of runtimes for client? Is that in the offing?

Jones: Well, number one, anything is possible out there. But, I definitely see that there's a huge trend out there in hosted desktops through virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), not only from a private cloud standpoint with an internal set of hosted desktops. Some companies are creating and working with some of the largest telcos to provide hosted VDI externally, so that all that infrastructure doesn’t have to be managed by the enterprise itself. It can actually be as a hosted service.

That would be an external semi-public, private cloud, and all the way down to full public clouds, where desktops would be hosted in that cloud.

Now, if you look at the trending information, it seems that VDI, in general, will niche out at about 15 percent of overall desktops, especially in the enterprise space, leaving still 85-90 percent of desktops still requiring that rich client experience.

But, with virtualization, you have a whole new area where cloud providers can tie in at the PC level. They'll be able to bundle desktop services and deliver them in a number of unique ways -- streaming or synchronization of VHD and things like that -- but still have them be compartmentalized into their own runtime environments.

Personal OS

Imagine that you have your own personal Windows OS, that maybe you have signed up for Microsoft’s new Intune service to manage that from the cloud standpoint. Then, you have another Google OS that comes down with applications that are specific from that Google service, and that desktop is running in parallel with Windows, because it’s fully controlled from a cloud provider like Google. Something like Chrome OS is truly a cloud-based OS, where everything is supposed to be stored up in the cloud.

Those kinds of services, in turn, can converge into the PC, and virtualization can take that to the next level on the endpoint, so that those two things don’t overlap with each other, and a level of service, which is important for the cloud, certainly for service level agreements (SLAs), can truly be attained. There will be a lot of flexibility there.

Gardner: Dave Linthicum, we're thinking now about cloud providers, not just delivering data services and applications, but perhaps delivering their own version of the runtime environment on the client. Is that in the purview of cloud providers or are we talking about something that’s perhaps dangerous?

Linthicum: I don’t think it’s dangerous. Cloud providers will eventually get into desktop virtualization. It just seems to be the logical conclusion of where we're heading right now.

In other words, we're providing all these very heavy-duty IT services, such as database, OSs, and application servers on demand. It just makes sense that eventually we're going to provide complete desktop virtualization offerings that pop out of the cloud.

The beauty of that is that a small business, instead of having to maintain an IT staff, will just have to maintain a few clients. They log into a cloud account and the virtualized desktops come down.

It provides disaster recovery based on the architecture. It provides great scalability, because basically you're paying for each desktop instance and you're not paying for more or less than you need. So, you're not buying a data center or an inventory of computers and having to administer the users.

That said, it has a lot more cooking to occur, before we actually get the public clouds on that bandwagon. Over the next few years, it's primarily going to be an enterprise concept and it's going to be growing, but eventually it's going to reach the cloud.

Gardner: This is something that might emerge in a private cloud environment first and then perhaps migrate out toward more consumer or public cloud environments.

Linthicum: Absolutely. Public cloud is going to be the destination for this. There are going to be larger companies. Google and Microsoft are going to jump on this. Microsoft is a prime candidate for making this thing work, as long as they can provide something as a service, which is going to have the price point that the small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are going to accept, because they are the early adopters.

Gardner: Michael Rowley at Active Endpoints, you're in the business of providing enterprise applications, business management, process management, and you have decided a certain approach to this on your client that isn’t necessarily a cloud or SaaS delivery model but nonetheless takes advantage of some of these technologies. Tell us what Active Endpoints did to solve its client issues with its business process management (BPM)?

Browser-based client

Rowley: When we talk about the client, we're mostly thinking about the web-browser based client as opposed to the client as an entire virtualized OS. When you're using a business process management system (BPMS) and you involve people, at some point somebody is going to need to pull work off of a work list and work on it and then eventually complete it and go and get the next piece of work.

That’s done in a web-based environment, which isn’t particularly unusual. It's a fairly rich environment, which is something that a lot of applications are going to. Web-based applications are going to a rich Internet application (RIA) style.

We have tried to take it even a step further and have taken advantage of the fact that by moving to some of these real infrastructures, you can do not just some of the presentation tier of an application on the client. You can do the entire presentation tier on the web browser client and have its communication to the server, instead of being traditional HTML, have the entire presentation on the browser. Its communication uses more of a web-service approach and going directly into the services tier on the server. That server can be in a private cloud or, potentially, a public cloud.

You go directly from your browser client into the services tier on the server, and it just decreases the overall complexity of the entire system.

What's interesting is that by not having to install anything on the client, as with any of these discussions we are talking about, that's an advantage, but also on the server, not having to have a different presentation tier that's separate from your services tier.

You go directly from your browser client into the services tier on the server, and it just decreases the overall complexity of the entire system. That's possible, because we base it on Ajax, with JavaScript that uses a library that's becoming a de-facto standard called jQuery. jQuery has the power to communicate with the server and then do all of the presentation logic locally.

Gardner: One of the things that's interesting to me about that, Michael, is that because we're talking about HTML5 and some new standards, one possible route to the future would be this almost exclusive browser based approach. We've seen a lot of that over the past decade or more, enough so that it even threatened Microsoft and its very identity as a client OS company.

But, we've run into some friction and some fragmentation around standards, things like Adobe versus Apple versus Silverlight, and the varying RIA approaches. Do you think that HTML5 has the potential to solidify and standardize the market, so that the browser approach that you have been describing could become more dominant than it is even now?

Push toward standards

Rowley: I think it will. I really do. Everybody probably has an opinion on this. I believe that Apple, growing dominant in the client space with both the iPhone and now the iPad, and its lack of support for either Silverlight or Flash, will be a push toward the standard space, the HTML5 using JavaScript, as the way of doing client-based rich Internet apps. There will be more of a coalescing around these technologies, so that potentially all of your apps can come through the one browser-based client.

Gardner: Of course, Google seems to be behind that model as well.

Rowley: Absolutely.

Gardner: So, here we have potentially two different approaches -- an HTML5 oriented world, more web-based, more services-based -- but also we have a virtualization capability, where we could bring down specialized runtime environments to support any number of different legacy or specialized applications.

Let's go to our panel. Michael Dortch, isn't this the best of both worlds, if we could have standardization and comprehensive browser capabilities and, at the same time, a virtualized environment, where we could support just about anything we needed to, but on the fly?

Dortch: Dana, my sainted, and very wise, mother used to say, where you stand depends on where you sit. So, whether or not this is a good thing depends entirely on where you sit, whether or not this is the best of both worlds or the best of all possible worlds. From a developer standpoint, I want one set of tools, right?

Gardner: Well, that's unlikely.

Dortch: Right, it's highly unlikely, but my mom also used to say, I was naively optimistic, so I am just going to plow forward here. Let me be more realistic. I want as few tools to manage and to learn as possible to reach the largest number of paying customers for this software that I'm trying to create. "Write once -- sell many times" is the mantra.

To get there, we're going to need a set of open standards, a set of really compelling services, and a set of really easy-to-use tools. If the model of the cloud has taught us anything yet, it's that, at the end of the day, I shouldn't have to care what those individual components are or even where they come from, but we know it's going to be a long, convoluted journey to get to that ideal space.

So the question becomes, if I am a developer with limited resources, what path do I go down now? I really don't think we know enough to answer that question. The Flash debate about Apple and its iPhone and its iPad hasn't seemed to shut down the Apple iTunes App Store yet, and I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Gardner: Adobe isn't going out of business either, nor is Microsoft.

Dortch: Exactly, exactly. Every time a Starbucks opens near me, none of the local coffee shops close. I don't get it, but it's the truth. So, at the end of the day, all that really matters in all of this discussion is a very short list of criteria -- what works, what's commercially feasible, and what's not going to require a rip and replace either by users or by developers. There's too much money on the table for any of the major players to make any of these things onerous to any of those communities.

Proprietary approaches

So, yes, there are going to continue to be proprietary approaches to solving these problems. As the Buddhists like to say, many paths, one mountain. That's always going to be true. But, we've got to keep our eyes on the ultimate goal here, and that is, how do you deliver the most compelling services to the largest number of users with the most efficient use of your development resources?

Until the debate shifts more in that direction and stops being so, I want to call it, religious about bits and bytes and speeds and feeds, progress is going to be hampered. But, there's good news in HTML5, Android, Chrome, and those things. At the end of the day, there's going to be a lot of choices to be made.

The real choices to be made right now are centered on what path developers should take, so that, as the technologies evolve, they have to do as little ripping and replacing as possible. This is especially a challenge for larger companies running critical proprietary applications.

Gardner: So, we've taken the developer into consideration. JP Morgenthal is a chief architect for a systems integrator (SI). What do you like in terms of a view of the future? Do you like the notion of a web-based primary vehicle for the new apps, and perhaps a way of supporting the older apps via virtualization services? What's your take architecturally?

Morgenthal: I like to watch patterns. That's what I do. Look at where more applications have been created in the past three years, on what platform, and in what delivery mechanism than in any other way. Have they been web apps or have they been iPhone/Android apps?

You've got to admit that the web is a great vehicle for pure dynamic content. But, at the end of the day, when there is a static portion of at least the framework and the way that the information is presented, nothing beats that client that’s already there going out and getting a small subset of information, bringing it back, and displaying it.

I see us moving back to that model. The web is great for a fully connected high-bandwidth environment.

I've been following a lot about economics, especially U.S. economics, how the economy is going, and how it impacts everything. I had a great conversation with somebody who is in finance and investing, and we joked about how people are claiming they are getting evicted out of their homes. Their houses and homes are being foreclosed on. They can barely afford to eat. But, everybody in the family has an iPhone with a data plan.

Look what necessity has become, at least in the U.S., and I know it's probably similar in Korea, Japan, and parts of Europe. Your medium for delivery of content and information is that device in the palm that's got about a 300x200 display.

The status thing

Kobielus: That was very funny. When people lose their fortunes, the last thing that the wives pawn is their jewelry. It’s the status items they stick with. So, the notion that the poor, broke family all have iPhones and everything is consistent with that status thing.

Morgenthal: Somebody sent me a joke the other day talking about how 53 percent of women find men with iPhones more attractive than those with Palm Pres and BlackBerry.

Gardner: So, JP, if I understand you, what you're saying is that the iPhone model, where you have got a client-server approach, but that client can come down freely and be updated as a cloud service to you, is the future.

Morgenthal: Yeah. And, on the desktop, you have Adobe doing the same thing with AIR and its cross-platform, and it's a lot more interactive than some of the web stuff. JavaScript is great, but at some point, you do get degradation in functionality. At some point, you have to deliver too much data to make that really effective. That all goes away, when you have a consistent user interface (UI) that is downloadable and updatable automatically.

I have got a Droid now. Everyday I see that little icon in the corner; I have got updates for you. I have updated my Seismic three times, and my USA Today. It tells me when to update. It automatically updates my client. It's a very neutral type of platform, and it works very, very well as the main source for me to deliver content.

Virtualization is on many fronts, but I think what we are seeing on the phone explosion is a very good point. I get most of my information through my phone.

Now, sometimes, is that medium too small to get something more? Yeah. So where do I go? I go to my secondary source, which is my laptop. I use my phone as my usual connectivity medium to get my Internet.

So, while we have tremendous broadband capability growing around the world, we're living in a wireless world and wireless is becoming the common denominator for a delivery vehicle. It's limiting and controlling what we can get down to the end user in the client format.

Gardner: Let’s go back to Chad Jones at Neocleus. Tell us how the smartphone impact here plays out. It almost seems as if the smartphone is locking us down in the same way the PC was 15 or 20 years ago, with some caveats about these downloadable and updatable apps or data. How does that fit into virtualization? Is it possible to virtualize the smartphone as well and get the best of something there?

Jones: First of all, I'm very happy to hear that women find guys with the iPhone more attractive, because I am talking on my iPhone with you guys right now. So, this is a good thing. I feel like I need to walk outside.

Virtualization is on many fronts, but I think what we are seeing on the phone explosion is a very good point. I get most of my information through my phone. Through the course of my day, when I'm not sitting in front of my PC, it almost becomes my first source of a notification of information. I get to get into my information. I get to see what the basics of whatever that piece of information is.

Normally, if I want to go start researching deeper into it or read more into it, then the limiting factor of that screen and those types of things that we were talking about drives me to my PC.

More coming through

think that you're definitely going to see more and more apps and those types of things coming through to the phones, but just by the sheer form factor of the phone, it's going to limit you from what you're able to do.

Now, what is that going to end up being? Is it going to be, yes, I am going to continue to have my laptop in my bag? I think that's going to be true for quite a while now. But, I certainly can see that, in the future, there could be just a sleeve that you throw your phone in and it just jacks up the screen resolution. Now, you have a form factor that you can work through.

But, to take it back to your whole question of virtualization on a phone, we haven’t seen the same type of platform-related issues in applications to a great extent yet, where it comes to conflicts and require a different phone, an OS version.

Is it readily working from app version to app version that you see on the PC. From an app virtualization standpoint, I don’t think that there is a big need there yet, until the continuation of those apps gets more complex. Then, maybe it will run into those issues. I just don’t see that that's necessarily going to happen.

From a multi-OS standpoint that virtualization would pull in, even from a management standpoint, I don’t think the platforms have the same issues that you're going to see inside of the PC platform. For me, the jury is still out on where virtualization and if virtualization would truly play on the phone model.

In the future, there could be just a sleeve that you throw your phone in and it just jacks up the screen resolution. Now, you have a form factor that you can work through.

Gardner: Let me flip it around then Chad. If more people like JP are getting more information and relying more on their phone, but they need that form factor and they need to support those legacy apps inside of an enterprise environment, why not virtualize the smartphone on the PC?

Jones: That would be interesting. Something from a reverse standpoint, absolutely. If it comes to a point where applications are primarily built for, let's say, the iPhone, you want to be able to have that emulator or something like that. That could definitely be a wave of the future. That way, you are crossing the bridges between both platforms. That could be an interesting approach at virtualization, but it's going to be on the PC side.

Dortch: I can't let this part of the conversation go by without raising a few user-centric concerns. Anyone who has done a webinar has clicked the button that says "Next Slide," and then died quietly inside waiting for the slide to load, because there has been latency on the net, some technological problem, or something like that -- whether you're an attendee or a presenter at one of these webinar conferences.

So, I'm thinking, if I am trying to do business-critical work under deadline, if it's the end of the quarter and I am trying to close a deal or something like that, and I click the button that's supposed to download the next virtualized client service that I am supposed to be using and it doesn’t load, I am going to start putting together a list of hostages I plan to take in the next few minutes.

Gardner: That's a point that's always there Michael. We all need ubiquitous broadband. There is no question about it.

Moving complexity

Dortch: Yeah, but I worry about what I've seen. When you talk about watching patterns, over the past 30, 35 years, one of the things I've seen is that complexity rarely goes away but it moves around a lot.

Is one of the thing that may be holding back client virtualization the simple fact that, when you look at the limitations of most client devices, especially hand-held client devices, even smartphones, and you look at the limitations, not only of the networks of the service providers but of their abilities to even monitor and bill accurately for such granular services, aren’t these things sort of like also slowing down the growth of these technologies that offer a lot of really great promise, but just don't seem to have taken off just yet?

Gardner: Sure there are going to be limiting factors, but we're trying to look at this also through an enterprise lens. We're thinking about how to support the old and the new, but do it in such a way that we're not tied to a client-side platform limitation, but we're really limited only by what we tend to do in terms of business process and applications and data.

Dave Linthicum, let's go back to you. The discussion about whether it's a PC or a smartphone, whether it's HTML5, web e-services, or a virtualized runtime environment, do these become moved pretty quickly when you think about the course of the application logic and that it's primarily becoming a business process across ecosystems of services and perhaps hybrids of suppliers?

It's the ability to put everything that I own and that I work with, and all my files and all my information, up into a provider, a private cloud.

Linthicum: Yeah, it's going to completely move. There are some prototypes today, such as the stuff Google provides, and they do it on mobile devices, as well as web, and they also provide their own OS, which is web-based. That, in essence, is going to be kind of a virtualized client, such as what we are talking about during this discussion. But, going forward, it's really not going to make a difference.

If you think about it, we're going to have these virtualized desktops, which come out of the cloud we talked about earlier, which communicate with our computers, but also communicate with cellphones any way in which we want to externalize those applications to us to become part of the process. That's where we are heading.

The power of the cloud, the power of cloud computing, the power of virtualized desktops such as this have the ability to do that. It's the ability to put everything that I own and that I work with, and all my files and all my information, up into a provider, a private cloud, and then have them come down and use them on whatever desktop, whatever device, that I want to use, whether it's pad computing, or whether it's on my TV at home at night. We're heading in that direction. We're getting used to that now.

As JP pointed out, we use our cellphones more than our computers every day. I guarantee you, half the guys on the call today have iPads. Admit it guys, you do. And, we're using those devices as well. We're starting to carry these things around, and ultimately, we are learning how to become virtualized onto itself.

I spent this weekend making sure I put up into Google everything that I have, so that I can get them to the different devices out there. That's where things are going to head.

Gardner: So, the synchronization in the config files, in the data files in the sky, that's the real lock in. That's where your relationship with the vendor counts, and increasingly, an abstraction off of the client allows you to have less and less of a true tie-in there.

Let's go to Jim Kobielus. Do you like the idea of a cloud-based world where the process and data in the sky is your primary relationship, and it's a secondary relationship, as JP said, towards whatever the client is?

Getting deconstructed

Kobielus: Yeah. In fact, it's the whole notion of a PC being the paradigm here that's getting deconstructed. It has been deconstructed up the yin yang. If you look at what a PC is, and we often think about a desktop, it's actually simply a decomposition of services, rendering services, interaction services, connection and access, notifications, app execution, data processing, identity and authentication. These are all services that can and should be virtualized and abstracted to the cloud, private or public, because the clients themselves, the edges, are a losing battle, guys.

Try to pick winners here. This year, iPads are hot. Next year, it's something else. The year beyond, it's something else. What's going to happen is -- and we already know it's happening -- is that everything is getting hybridized like crazy.

All these different client or edge approaches are just going to continue to blur into each other. The important thing is that the PC becomes your personal cloud. It's all of these services that are available to you. The common denominator here for you as a user is that somehow your identity is abstracted across all the disparate services that you have access to.

All of these services are aware that you are Dave Linthicum, coming in through your iPad, or you are Dave Linthicum coming in through a standard laptop web browser, and so forth. Your identity and your content is all there and is all secure, in a sense, bringing process into there.

A lot of applications will really mix up the presentation of the work to be done by the people who are using the application, with the underlying business process that they are enabling.

You don't normally think of a process as being a service that's specific to a client, but your hook into a process, any process, is your ability to log in. Then, have your credentials accepted and all of your privileges, permissions, and entitlements automatically provisioned to you.

Identity, in many ways, is the hook into this vast, personal cloud PC. That’s what’s happening.

Gardner: So, if I understand this correctly, we're saying that the edge device isn’t that important. And, as we have said in past shows, where the cloud exists it isn't that important: private, public, an intranet, a grid utility.

What is important? Are we talking about capturing the right data and the right configuration and metadata that creates the process? And if that's the case, Michael Rowley, that might be good news for you guys, because you're in BPM. Can we deconstruct what's important on the server and on the edge, and what's left?

Rowley: That's a great question, because a lot of applications will really mix up the presentation of the work to be done by the people who are using the application, with the underlying business process that they are enabling.

If you can somehow tease those apart and get it so that the business process itself is represented, using something like a business process model, then have the work done by the person or people divided into a specific task that they are intended to do, you can have the task, at different times, be hosted by different kinds of clients.

Different rendering

r, depending on the person, whether they're using a smartphone or a full PC, they might get a different rendering of the task, without changing the application from the perspective of the business person who is trying to understand what's going on. Where are we in this process? What has happened? What has to happen yet? Etc.

Then, for the rendering itself, it's really useful to have that be as dynamic as possible and not have it be based on downloading an application, whether it's an iPhone app or a PC app that needs to be updated, and you get a little sign that says you need to update this app or the other.

When you're using something like HTML5, you can get it so that you get a lot of the functionality of some of these apps that currently you have to download, including things, as somebody brought up before, the question of what happens when you aren't connected or are on partially connected computing?

Up until now, web-based apps very much needed to be connected in order to do anything. HTML5 is going to include some capabilities around much more functionality that's available, even when you're disconnected. That will take the technology of a web-based client to even more circumstances, where you would currently need to download one.

It's a little bit of a change in thinking for some people to separate out those two concepts, the process from the UI for the individual task. But, once you do, you get a lot of value for it.

Gardner: We're already seeing that with some SaaS apps, including some of the Google stuff, so that doesn't seem to be a big inhibitor. If what I hear you saying, Michael is that the process information, the data, the configuration data is important and valuable.

If we can burst out more capacity on the server and burst down whatever operating environment we need for the client, those things become less of a hurdle to the value, the value being getting work done, getting that business process efficiency, getting the right data to the right people. Or am I overstating it?

Rowley: No, that's exactly right. It's a little bit of a change in thinking for some people to separate out those two concepts, the process from the UI for the individual task. But, once you do, you get a lot of value for it.

Gardner: Chad Jones, do you also subscribe to this vision, where the data process configuration information is paramount, but that bursting out capacity for more cycles on the servers is going to become less of an issue, almost automatic? Then, the issuance of the right runtime environment for whatever particular client is involved at any particular time is also automatic? Do you think that’s where we are headed?

Jones: I can see that as part of it as well. When you're able to start taking abstraction of management and security from outside of those platforms and be able to treat that platform as a service, those things become much greater possibilities.

Percolate and cook

believe one of the gentlemen earlier commented that a lot of it needs some time to percolate and cook, and that’s absolutely the case. But, I see that within the next 10 years, the platform itself becomes a service, in which you can possibly choose which one you want. It’s delivered down from the cloud to you at a basic level.

That’s what you operate on, and then all of those other services come layered in on top of that as well, whether that’s partially through a concoction of virtualization and different OS platforms, coupled with cloud-based profiles, data access, applications and those things. That’s really the future that we're going to see here in the next 15 years or so.

Gardner: Dave Linthicum, what’s going to prevent us from reaching that sort of a vision? What’s in the way?

Linthicum: I think security is in the way. Governance, security, the whole control issue, and those sorts of things or fears that are an aid to the existing enterprises and the people who are going to leverage this kind of technology.

The people who are doing computing right now in a non-virtualized world are going to push back a bit on it, because it’s a loss of control. In other words, instead of just having something completely on a system that I'm maintaining, it’s going to be in a virtualized environment, things resourced to me, allocated to me through some kind of a centralized player. And, if they go down, such as Google goes down today, if people are dependent on Google Docs or Gmail or other sorts of things, I'm dead in the water. That’s really going to hinder adoption.

We're going to have to make sure we get systems that are going to comply with the laws that are out there and we need to be very aware of those.

We're going to have to prove that we can do things in a secure, private way. We're going to have to make sure we get systems that are going to comply with the laws that are out there and we need to be very aware of those.

More often than not, we've got to trust some of these players that are going to drive this stuff. This architecture itself is going to be viable, and the players themselves are going to provide a service that’s going to be reliable.

Dortch: I agree with everything David said and, from an enterprise standpoint, I hasten to add, there is the problem of the legacy systems. A lot of people are still running IE 6, and so HTML5 doesn’t really have much to offer them yet. From an IT management standpoint in the enterprise, it’s going to require some pretty fancy dancing in concert with the vendors and the developers who are pushing all this stuff forward to make sure that no critical user base is left behind, as you're moving forward in this way.

Gardner: Well, that’s why we are talking about this as a 15-20 year horizon. It’s not going to happen overnight.

JP Morgenthal, the trust issue. It seems that we've seen vendors trying to capitalize on the client, thinking that if you own the client, you can then control the process. We've seen other vendors say, if we can control the cloud, we can control the process. But, if you can’t control the server environment and you can’t control the client environment.

Why not just go after that all-important set of services. I'm thinking about an ecosystem or marketplace of business processes, perhaps something like what Salesforce is carving out. Any thoughts about who to trust and where the pincher points are in all this?

Interesting dilemma

Morgenthal: Trust is an interesting dilemma in a cyber environment. We're in an environment where the ability to defend is constantly about 10 paces behind those that are attacking. It’s the Wild West and the criminals outnumber the sheriffs 10:1. There is more money to be made robbing the people than there is protecting them.

The other thing that we have to deal with, with regard to trust, is that constant factor of anonymity. Anonymity is very problematic in this environment. Basically, it creates two classes of users. It creates a trust environment user and it creates an anonymous, public Internet user.

In the public Internet, you have your services, and they're potentially advertising-based or driven by some other revenue medium. But, you have to realize you are not going to know who your user is. You're not going to be able to be intimate about your user. Trust is minimal there. You do your best to minimize the potential for loss of data, for inappropriate use, for access to the services. Services are no different than an application at the end of the day.

I had a great meeting with the CSO from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and he said it best, "If I could do away with username and passwords, my life would be a billion times easier." Unfortunately, that's the number one medium for identity and credentials in the anonymous Internet. Until the day we have personal identity verification (PIV) cards, and they plug into machines, and we have guaranteed identity authentication given a credible medium, we're going to be dealing with that.

I think we have to assume that we now live in a world where we are going to be attacked. The question is how can we identify that attack quickly?

The alternative is that I'm going to create my secure net, my private net, where only I know the people and the users that are on that medium. That provides me a lot more flexibility and a lot more power. I can control what's happening on that, because I know who my users are.

So, we end up with these two class of users. I don’t see them going away anytime soon. Even in the 20 year realm, the ability to outthink the smartest hacker is unlikely. I think we have to assume that we now live in a world where we are going to be attacked. The question is how can we identify that attack quickly? How can we minimize the potential downside from those attacks? It's a lot like living in a world with terrorists.

Gardner: Jim Kobielus, JP had some interesting thoughts that you need to authenticate through the client or you need to authenticate through the service provider or cloud in order to make this work. But, is there a possibility that authentication could evolve to a cloud service? You authenticate through a process of some kind.

I'm going out on a limb here, clearly, but you're the guy who tracks BPM and data. Where does the enterprise environment fall in this? Is there a way to decompose the client and the server but still have enterprise caliber computing going on?

Kobielus: Oh sure, there is. I've sketched out seven layers of client services that can be put into a private cloud. Clearly, one of the critical pieces of infrastructure that the cloud needs to have, as I said, is identity management. It's also very much public key infrastructure (PKI) to enable strong authentication, multi-factor, webs of trust, and so forth.

You need to begin to think through the whole client computing equation, if you were an enterprise, a better rated identity, and look at the common standards, extensible application markup language (XAML) and so forth to enable that or to look at things like OpenID.

Unable to trust

o that's quite important, Dana, because fundamentally it's moving away from a world where PCs are personal computers that I trust, they are my resource. I don’t have to depend on anybody else. All my data, my apps, everything is here. I'm moving to a world where it's, PC, personal cloud. It's your cloud that I'm just renting a piece of or I have got a piece of it, where I can't really trust you at all in some fundamental sense.

My mnemonic here for the cloud and why we can't trust it is, bear with me, SLA-HA-NA. SLA -- service level agreements; HA -- high availability; NA -- not applicable, not available. If you don’t have common identity, common security, and common federation standards within an enterprise cloud, then that's not ready for full client virtualization.

Look at the public cloud. Dana, your article on 'Dealing With the Dearth of SLAs in the Cloud' gets to the point where the public cloud is definitely not ready for enterprise-grade client virtualization, until we get identity nailed down, if nothing else.

Quite frankly, I'm a bit jaundiced on that, because in the middle of the last decade, I was with a large B2B trading exchange that was working on better rated identity, trust standards and relationships among thousands upon thousands of companies.

Getting those trust relationships worked out, getting the policies written, getting all the lawyers to agree and getting the common standards just to make one industry specific trading exchange work was fearsomely difficult. Those trust issues are just going to be an ongoing deterrent to the full virtualization of clients into public cloud environments.

That means I've got to send back the PC or go through some lengthy process to try to talk the user through complicated procedures, and that's just an expensive proposition.

Gardner: Well, we've started at reality. We've gone out to a 15-year horizon, and now we are coming back in to the current day. Chad Jones, where does client virtualization fit in well? What does it solve? What’s its value to the typical enterprise, rather than thinking about this in terms of abstractions in the future?

Jones: The first thing is that the term client virtualization ends up getting applied to a lot of different things. Just as a point of clarification, there are virtualized desktops, which are hosted on the server side, like the VDI infrastructures, and then server-based computing of days past or niche status. But, true client virtualization is the ability to abstract away the hardware resource on the endpoint client and then be able to run virtual objects on top of that, and that's hosted locally.

For the near term, as the client space begins to shake out over the next couple of years, the immediate benefits are first around being able to take our deployment of at least the Windows platform, from a current state of, let's either have an image that's done at Dell or more the case, whenever I do a hardware refresh, every three to four years, that's when I deploy the OS. And, we take it to a point where you can actually get a PC and put it onto the network.

You take out all the complexity of what the deployment questions are and the installation that can cause so many different issues, combined with things like normalizing device driver models and those types of things, so that I can get that image and that computer out to the corporate standard very, very quickly, even if it's out in the middle of Timbuktu. That's one of the immediate benefits.

Plus, start looking at help desk and the whole concept of desktop visits. If Windows dies today, all of your agents and recovery and those types of things die with it. That means I've got to send back the PC or go through some lengthy process to try to talk the user through complicated procedures, and that's just an expensive proposition.

Still connect

You're able to take remote-control capabilities outside of Windows into something that's hardened at the PC level and say, okay, if Windows goes down, I can actually still connect to the PC as if I was local and remote connect to it and control it. It's like what the IP-based KVMs did for the data center. You don’t even have to walk into the data center now. Imagine that on a grand scale for client computing.

Couple in a VPN with that. Someone is at a Starbucks, 20 minutes before a presentation, with a simple driver update that went awry and they can't fix it. With one call to the help desk, they're able to remote to that PC through the firewalls and take care of that issue to get them up and working.

Those are the areas that are the lowest hanging fruit, combined with amping up security in a completely new paradigm. Imagine an antivirus that works, looking inside of Windows, but operates in the same resource or collision domain, an execution environment where the virus is actually working, or trying to execute.

There is a whole level of security upgrades that you can do, where you catch the viruses on the space in between the network and actually getting to a compatible execution environment in Windows, where you quarantine it before it even gets to an OS instance. All those areas have huge potential.

This is the great promise of cloud-based computing taken all the way into the application and used throughout the application.

Gardner: It seems as if what you are doing is ameliorating some of the rigidity of the traditional client model but still keeping it in enough of a sense that it's going to satisfy a lot of what enterprises need to do. Is that a fair encapsulation?

Jones: Yeah, absolutely. You have got to keep that rich user experience of the PC, but yet change the architecture, so that it could become more highly manageable or become highly manageable, but also become flexible as well.

Imagine a world, just cutting very quickly in the utility sense, where I've got my call center of 5,000 seats and I'm doing an interactive process, but I have got a second cord dedicated to a headless virtual machine that’s doing mutual fund arbitrage apps or something like that in a grid, and feeding that back. You're having 5,000 PCs doing that for you now at a very low cost rate, as opposed to building a whole data center capacity to take care of that. Those are kind of the futures where this type of technology can take you as well.

Gardner: So, virtualization is bringing flexibility by keeping the same essential model, it’s just a better architectural approach to it.

Michael Rowley, what you guys have been doing at Active Endpoints with your client is perhaps for newer applications getting that stepping stone to the future, but also protecting yourself. Because, if you're running in the browser, you don’t really care so much about what the client is, and you can also extend out from PCs to smartphones pretty quickly.

Rowley: Yes. You end up being able to support clients and support them even as they change what device they are on. They are not maintaining local data, so that they can move from device to device and even take a single task that they're working on, work on it on one kind of form factor at one point and another kind of at another point in time. This is the great promise of cloud-based computing taken all the way into the application and used throughout the application. I really believe a lot more applications are going to be based that way.

Gardner: I've got a sneaking suspicion that organizations that embrace both of these models have, in a sense, put some insurance policies in place, a backwards compatibility, forwards compatibility, services orientation, but also maintaining that all important enterprise levels of security, reliability, control, and management.

Rowley: One of the things that is really new and I think will catch on is this idea that these web-based apps might be able to communicate with the server through what the application considers as the service tier, the business tier, rather than having a presentation tier on the server, because of the fact that the client has gotten powerful enough to do the full presentation on its own.

Gardner: I want to again thank you all for joining. We have been here talking about the future of clients and services with cloud and virtualization impacts, as well as how to keep this in the real world sphere of what enterprises need to do their jobs.

We have been talking with Chad Jones, Vice President for Product Management at Neocleus. Thank you, Chad.

Jones: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: We have also been here with Michael Rowley, CTO of Active Endpoints. Thanks, Michael.

Rowley: Thanks, Dana.

Gardner: Jim Kobielus, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research. Appreciate your input, Jim.

Kobielus: Always a pleasure.

Gardner: Michael Dortch, Director of Research at Focus. Appreciate it, Michael.

Dortch: Thanks for the opportunity, Dana. Thanks, everyone.

Gardner: JP Morgenthal, Chief Architect, Merlin International. Thank you, JP.

Morgenthal: Thank you, Dana. Fun as usual.

Gardner: Dave Linthicum, CTO, Bick Group. We appreciate your input as well, Dave.

Linthicum: Thanks Dana.

Gardner: I also need to thank our charter sponsor for the BriefingsDirect Analyst Insights Edition podcast, and that is Active Endpoints. This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks for listening and come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Download the transcript. Charter Sponsor: Active Endpoints.

Special offer: Download a free, supported 30-day trial of Active Endpoint's ActiveVOS at

Edited transcript of BriefingsDirect Analyst Insights Edition podcast, Vol. 52 from April 26, 2010 on client-side architectures and the prospect of heightened disruption in the PC and device software arenas. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2010. All rights reserved.

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