iland Workforce Cloud pt.II: The interview

Dante Orsini and Justin Giardina of iland answer my questions about the newest improvements to the Workforce Cloud

Back in September I blogged about the iland Workforce Cloud. I thought that the Workforce Cloud was a truly great product for moving your company into the cloud easily and maintaining control over the process as well. Well since Sept. iland has made some improvements to the Workforce Cloud that has made a good product even better. I had a chance to interview Dante Orsini and Justin Giardina of iland about the Workforce Cloud. What follows is their answers to my questions about the newest changes to the Workforce Cloud, some deployment scenarios other enterprises are using and the future of the iland Workforce Cloud. But I not only got a chance to interview iland, they also let me have a test drive of their product as well... But I don’t want to spoil tomorrows blog post…so stay tuned for my impressions of the iland Workforce cloud. • For those who may not be familiar with the iland Workforce Cloud©, can you explain what the Workforce Cloud is? First, the iland Workforce Cloud enables workforce mobility—so employees can work whenever, wherever they need to. It also secures the desktop data safely in a private cloud environment, so valuable desktop data is part of your business continuity plan. It also simplifies IT management with centralized provisioning and frees IT staff from one-at-a-time desktop fixes and allows them to spend more time supporting strategic business priorities. By combining iland Workforce Cloud solution with a fully redundant virtualized, cloud environment, we offer customers a fully dynamic infrastructure that is also cost-effective. • I blogged a bit about your product, but there have been some changes since then. Can you tell the readers what’s new with the iland Workforce Cloud and what that means for those considering your product? The iland Workforce Cloud now supports PCoIP, a purpose-built display protocol which provides a high quality desktop experience for demanding design, medical imaging, and media applications which have historically hindered wide spread adoption of virtual desktop solutions. The protocol dynamically detects and adapts to the end user’s network connection, automatically analyzing and optimizing to compensate for changes in latency and bandwidth to help ensure the best user experience for the scenario. The ability to deliver a high performance virtual desktop over a WAN connection, even over high latency and low bandwidth connections is a significant game changer which has allowed iland customers and partners to address global use cases which were previously unthinkable. By combining this rich media experience with the Workforce Cloud’s support for usb redirection, users are able to seamlessly access locally attached resources such as scanners, mass storage, as well as printers and network printers. Maintaining this functionality in the office or on the road from any device has been very enjoyable. Dare I say it, our CTO Justin Giardina, even uses a Wyse application the Wyse Pocket Cloud on his iPhone to access his desktop occasionally! • Can you tell expand on some of the different ways the iland Workforce Cloud is being deployed by customers? One recent use case example of the Workforce Cloud replaced field technician laptops with the use of centrally managed desktops. In this deployment, our client was burdened with the investment, management, and support of laptops that were sent to mobile field technicians. The customer made use of the Workforce Cloud to centrally manage and provision desktops for their field technicians. The field technicians could then retrieve the data they needed (on USB flash drives) from the machinery, connect to a desktop provisioned for them from any computer, and run the diagnostic tools from the Workforce Cloud desktop, using USB redirection. The USB flash drives appear on the Workforce Cloud desktops, just as they would if they were plugged in locally. The IT staff enjoyed this solution as well, because they no longer had to troubleshoot remote laptops with a non technical user, send program updates to remote field technicians. They also could update the desktop image for all field technicians in one place and deploy that new image as the technicians logged in. Another deployment provided remote users with access to company data in conjunction with iland's Resource Cloud. In this environment, client desktops were provisioned for users via the Workforce Cloud. All the backend server infrastructure, including Microsoft Active Directory, Exchange, and SQL were deployed virtually as well. This environment not only gave our client the ability to centrally manage and provision user desktops, but also centrally manage their server infrastructure. Of course, this entire solution was able to be backed up in one place and also replicated to another data center for disaster recovery purposes. Finally, some corporate customers are taking advantage of iland's Hybrid Cloud solution with the Workforce Cloud. Some enterprise customers enjoy the flexibility of having their desktops centrally managed, but also need connectivity into their corporate environment for internal resources like Active Directory, Intranets, or data that is not hosted in iland's cloud. We have seen customers bring in their own connectivity like a MPLS or private line to their corporate site and tie that in to their Workforce Cloud VLAN. Some customers also have infrastructure that can not be virtualized, like an AS/400 or AIX system. We see these customers colo'ing their infrastructure in one of our high availability data centers and then deploying desktops in the Workforce Cloud, creating a complete hybrid solution while maintaining their initial hardware investment and taking advantage of all the Workforce Cloud can offer. • What are the top three advantages of the iland Workforce Cloud for the Enterprise? Simplified IT Management - The workforce cloud streamlines desktop management and deployment by creating approved desktop images which can be automatically provisioned to access a pool of processing, memory and network resources. In many cases, groups of users are managed by a single image, which reduces maintenance while extending the lifecycle of end user devices. This reduction in administrative and capital costs typically equates to a 50 percent cost savings. Security / Reduced Risk - Centralizing the control and management of desktop applications and data provide significant security and compliance advantages as well. Administrators have the ability to create group policies via Active Directory and LDAP with built in support for existing monitoring and software compliance tools. Additionally it is very difficult to leave a virtual desktop on a plane or have it stolen. Workforce Mobility – This means that users can access their desktop from anywhere in the world with internet connectivity. Mobility also speaks to the movement of the actual virtual desktop. The workforce cloud also takes advantage of our cloud infrastructure’s inherent high availability features which dynamically failover in the event of server hardware failure while offering the ability to replicate desktop images and resources to additional iland cloud computing centers for geographic diversity. Providing built-in business continuity has been a significant value add which many partners and customers had not considered previously. • What are some future features or expansions…your vision perhaps for the iland Workforce Cloud? Offline desktop – We look forward to the full release of VMware View’s offline desktop feature. This will allow users to “check out” their desktop and use it while on a plane or disconnected from the network and “check-in” the desktop to synch the changes when the network is available.

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