The Enduring Value of a Well-Connected PC

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2010-07-15 Print this article Print

If all you have to accomplish your company's mission is a collection of thin clients and a connection to the Internet, you can be sure that the day will come when you will have to shut down operations because you don't have access to the cloud. On the other hand, if you have a set of rich clients, work can continue. That work may be at a reduced level if you depend on information that's stored in the cloud, but there will be ways to get at least some work done, and it's likely that if you're using a rich client - read PC here - you'll also have a way to keep at least some data necessary for your business on-site so that a connection to the cloud isn't completely necessary.

This is not to suggest that the cloud isn't worth using, nor is it a suggestion that cloud based storage and applications don't work. In reality they work fine, and using the cloud can reduce costs and improve productivity. There's also no question that a move to the cloud is necessary for companies that need the flexibility to grow without having to dump vast quantities of money into capital expenditures.

But the other part of the equation is that the company must be able to function. Having a single point of failure, whether it's the cloud or an application provider, is bad planning. Depending on a single cloud provider whether it's Google or Microsoft without having some form of alternative is betting that the cloud and the access to the cloud will never fail. It's a bet you're sure to lose.

But that does not mean that Microsoft is stuck in a world of individual PCs running Windows, and nothing else? Two announcements at the Microsoft partner event here show that the company is moving into private clouds with its Remotefx update to Windows 7, and its Small Business Server's Aurora version. Remotefx is designed to enhance virtual desktop interfaces to give users with thin clients an experience closely resembling what they'd see on a full computer. And Aurora is a version of Small Business Server that gets rid of SharePoint and Exchange, but adds a new ability to incorporate cloud computing directly from the server.

But Aurora doesn't do anything to reduce the value of rich clients, and Remotefx isn't really using the cloud as much as it's using the remote desktop virtualization capability in the data center. So, while there's no question that Microsoft is embracing the cloud, it's also clear that the company is strengthening the value of a well-connected PC, which it's now calling a rich client.

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel