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Glide OS: An evolutionary leap into web-based desktops
09 November 2011
by Ken Hess
ZDNet: Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with over 15 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.
Glide OS: An evolutionary leap into web-based desktops
By Ken Hess | November 9, 2011, 3:30am PST
I’ve tested several web-based desktops over the past four or five years only to be disappointed that the parent company either goes out of business or dissolves for economic reasons. The problem, I think, is that while the concept is excellent, the timing is poor. Cloud-based, webified desktops are ahead of their time. It’s unfortunate but true. It seems to me that people are bound to the idea of evolution so much so that anything outside of slow Zeitgeist-driven change just isn’t accepted by the masses. I’m sufficiently impressed with Glide OS...
Glide OS is an evolutionary leap forward in cloud-based desktop computing. As I said, I’m sufficiently impressed with Glide OS but I realize that the probability of large-scale adoption, no matter how logical, is slim. It’s too bad too because it’s a cool product with decent security and great performance.
Walter S. Mossberg
, Wall Street Journal’s principal technology columnist said of Glide OS at the All Things Digital Conference that, “Glide is like world peace between devices and platforms. It’s amazing.”
said, “Genius…Glide’s core idea is unassailably fresh and useful.”
Glide OS was also named as one of
Magazine’s Top 100 Tech Products of 2009.
What makes it so great is that it still exists and it supports every platform and just about every browser, including the iOS standard, Safari. I think webtops, or whatever you want to call them, are ahead of their time because I think people have to plow through the difficulty and poorly performing VDI and other heavy desktop solutions first.
I sincerely believe that VDI and its associated technologies are simply an evolutionary transition toward a web-based desktop such as Glide.
If Glide can hang in there for three or four more years, it will enjoy great success.
Businesses will spend millions or billions on private cloud-based, heavy desktops and public cloud, heavy desktops until the light comes on that fires a few dormant neurons and says, “Hey dummy, web-based Cloud desktops are very inexpensive, can be accessed from anywhere on any device and you don’t have anything to maintain.”
Understandably, that’s a long message for a 77 MHz synapse to process for most folks but it will happen. Just not in the next couple of years.
Glide is cool. Glide has potential. Glide has a nice look and feel. Glide pricing seems appropriate for any business size. But, Glide is ahead of its time.
Companies have yet to blow enough cash on transitional virtual desktop technologies to come to the conclusion that webtops are the next step in the natural selection process. For now, it’s an evolutionary leap and people just aren’t ready to evolve.
What's more economical than a web-based desktop?
By Ken Hess | November 14, 2011, 3:00pm PST
Summary: Web-based desktops. A concept so dirty that it has to be associated with The Cloud. It’s even dirtier to think that you can save a lot of money by embracing that concept.
Nothing. And, that would be the end of the story except that I really feel the need to convince you that there’s nothing more economical than a web-based desktop. Since a lot of you are trying to save money these days (and who isn’t?), you might want to take notice and not toss the idea before you have a chance to investigate it logically instead of reacting to it emotionally. Web-based desktops aren’t a particularly new concept but their realistic adoption as a desktop alternative is relatively new. Web-based desktops have arrived and it’s time to take a look at the economics of the decision to move to them.
If you haven't done so, you should go back in time a few days and read:
Glide OS: An evolutional leap into web-based desktops
Note: If you’re a CIO or CTO, before you read the rest of this article, pull up your annual desktop computer support spreadsheet and take a good look at the numbers. Pay particular attention to a few of the column header labels: Operating systems, FTEs, Software, Hardware.
VDI = Cloud-based Desktops in Transition
If you’re about to embark on a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) project of any size (300+ desktops), or already have embarked, you should know that your overall price tag is going to be very high–much higher than traditional desktops from every aspect and angle of that spreadsheet that you’re looking at.
You’ll still incur every cost associated with desktop computing plus the cost of the virtual desktop infrastructure to host the virtual desktops.
You’ll still need to manage any software that the provider doesn’t give you. Who manages the patching? Does their patch schedule meet your SLAs to your customers?
What about anti-virus software? And, what is the turn-around time for fixes on those leased desktops from the provider? Sure, those things can be resolved but what you have to realize is that managing desktops, virtual or physical, and everything that goes with them is difficult and expensive.
Cloud = Freedom
It’s silly but a lot of reasonable and competent IT people truly fear The Cloud. IT people often feel the need to touch a system – to be able to break it themselves – to be able to work at the console – and to have that all-important physical access.
That kind of control is expensive. I can remember a time when every IT nerd wanted to manage his very own web service, email service, DNS and even Internet News services. Most found that it is more economical to use service providers for email and web.
Besides fear and control, what else makes the cloud so distasteful?
The Cloud is defined as a bunch of computers, running hypervisors and virtual machines, that has three basic characteristics: Elasticity, On-demand Services and Fully-managed Services.
It’s not with the elastic nature or the on-demand capability. It’s that fully-managed thing isn’t it? There’s that nasty control issue popping up again.
The Cloud, my friends, is freedom. Freedom to innovate. Freedom to control that which needs to be controlled. Freedom to sleep during the night. And, freedom to release your fears of the sinister Cloud.
Desktop systems can live in The Cloud without issue. And, don’t bring up connectivity as your argument, I’ve heard it before and it still doesn’t phase me. You know why? When your Internet connection is down, you don’t do any work anyway.
Desktops in The Cloud? Why not? It makes more sense financially than any other option.
Cloud = $avings
Yes, The Cloud offers cost savings over traditional desktop computing or VDI. And, web-based desktops that are cloud-hosted make the most sense of all.
Web-based desktops are web applications. There’s no operating system supporting the desktop. It is a series of web pages, controls and applications that create the illusion of a desktop operating system.
There’s no VDI involved. There’s no expensive infrastructure to purchase nor is there any to lease. There’s no virtual machine density to discuss. And, there’s no need for anything but a browser on the user’s end. That means that each user could have a simple tablet or diskless workstation that connects them to their online computer.
You won’t catch any viruses with a web-based desktop. No performance hit while your antivirus software scans a file.
Users will never be stranded because their computer is broken because anything with a web browser will get them to where they need to be.
Everyone looks for economies of scale, when scale means bigger and more. You should be looking at economies of scale that mean less as in less money flowing out of your hands. Web-based desktops will do that for you.
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