The Everywhere Desktop

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Mobility & Flexibility

Nowadays being mobile and flexible are keys to business success. Being productive at home as well as in the office, on your iPad at the coffee shop as well as on your PC at your desk – these are not fanciful marketing pitches to get you to buy the latest gadget, they are real advantages that can serve the interests of your customers, your employees and you.

The reason why your “desktop” is important is because that is the “space” within which you have arranged all the tools that you need to do your job. Your email is there, the shared files you access regularly and the applications you use to manage the information on which your business depends. They are all there on that “desktop”, and in that space they are well integrated and proven to run reliably. And for pretty much every business today that “desktop” is on Microsoft Windows.

This is the challenge of this time: how do you take your Windows-based “desktop” with you everywhere you need to go? How do you maintain that super-efficient working space, in which everything just works and you have all the applications you need? When all you’re holding is an iPad, or when your computer at home is a Mac, or when your PC at home couldn’t possible support that integrated “desktop” you use for work, how do you remain productive? What you need is one desktop, always on, and accessible from everywhere, irrespective of what device you happen to be using at that time. What you need is an “everywhere desktop”.

Web apps don’t work everywhere

Even when you start using web applications instead of Windows apps (at JustWorks we are 90% on web apps) you find out that business-level web apps have at least one of these special requirements:

  • a particular brand of web browser (commonly Internet Explorer is required for full functionality)
  • security settings in the browser that allow the application to run properly, like pop-up blockers turned off and Trusted sites turned on
  • plugins for the browser, so the application can interact with other applications or files on your desktop

These special requirements for web applications mean that being able to sit down and be productive at any old computer with a web browser is simply not a reality. You still need your specially configured and integrated “desktop”, on which all of the browsers you need (we use Chrome, IE and FireFox for different web apps) are all correctly configured and reliably integrated.

Everywhere Desktops from JustWorks Central

Making the idea of a desktop that follows you everywhere a reality is what we built JustWorks Central to do. At JustWorks Central (JWC) we build virtual “desktops”, running Windows, that are configured as business desktops. Your virtual desktop at JWC is not a “session” on Terminal Server or a Citrix server. A JWC “everywhere desktop” it is a fully-fledged, dedicated, isolated and managed virtual machine, running on high-performance, massively-redundant infrastructure, in a secure, carrier-grade datacenter with direct, very-high-speed connectivity to the Internet. This is the desktop of your dreams! Fast, reliable and always available from anywhere.

Your “everywhere desktop” at JustWorks Central sits in a highly secure environment, better protected than a PC under your desk ever could be, and yet still accessible by you from anywhere with Internet connectivity. You can use any PC, your cousin’s Mac or an iPad – you can even use your AppleTV to display your ‘everywhere desktop’ on an HDTV while you use your iPad as keyboard!

Using rock-solid technology to deliver business advantage is what we do at JustWorks – and we Make IT look Simple. If you and your company could benefit from having “everywhere desktops”, get a quote by emailing info@justworks.net now.

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Samsung Zero Clients

Security-and-ProtectionWhen your “desktop” is virtual and in the cloud, replacing your expensive-to-maintain PCs with low-cost, zero-maintenance devices lowers your costs and enhances the security of your I.T. systems.

We have been using and recommending the Samsung devices for some time now, and there’s been a new addition to the Samsung PCoIP “zero” client lineup, so we though this would be a good time to review the options. Samsung calls these devices “PCoIP Cloud Displays” and you can get full details at their web site.

NC220

Samsung NC220This new model has a 22″ LED display which uses less power, 0W when sleeping and 35W+ when in use. It uses innovative LED Back Light Unit (BLU) technology which saves energy—up to 40% compared to conventional CCFL screens. What’s even better is this LED panel is halogen- and mercury-free, so you’ll help conserve our planet’s natural resources and reduce carbon emissions

The NC220 has an external power supply, so that means having a brick lying around somewhere between the power socket and the device.

General pricing on the NC220 is around $500. Given that this is not much more than the pricing for NC190, we expect the NC190 to be phased out soon.

 

NC190 and NC240

These are the two original models from Samsumg and both use LCD displays. The NC190 has a 19″ display and sells for about $450 new (retail $509), and the NC240 is a 24″ model that sells for about $550 new (retail $599).

These older models have internal power supplies, which keeps things neat and tidy. But they consume more power (2W+ at sleep and 35/67W when being used) than their newer LED BLU companion.

 

All Models

All of these zero clients can only be used to connect to virtual desktops in a VMware View environment, like JustWorks Central. They have no operating system, no local storage and use a hardware PCoIP chip to control the remote display of your virtual desktop – that’s why we call them “zero” clients. This means that they are very secure (no data left on the device, ever) and performance is excellent over a wide variety of bandwidth conditions.

When you buy one of these “zero” clients you need to supply your own keyboard and mouse. Logitech_USB_stubWe have tested the Logitech Bluetooth keyboard/mouse packages that come with one of those little USB stubs, and they work just as well as standard USB-cabled keyboards and mice. All models have 4 USB ports and full USB device support, so users can access a wide range of USB peripheral devices directly through the client, enhancing connectivity whilst maintaining the security of the system.

Our experience is that microphones and USB connections to smart phones (iPhones, Blackberrys etc.) work fine, but video cameras do not work well yet – so no Skype video from one of these devices, but you can still do Skype voice calls.

Additional ports allow for attaching external speakers and second monitors for multi-display setups.

A 130mm height adjustable stand, with tilt and swivel, allow for optimal ergonomic placement on your work surface.

A 3 year warranty is standard on all models.