Lenovo, Intel Offering Cloud Ready Client, Secure Cloud Access

Lenovo is teaming up with Intel to offer a new cloud-computing software package called Cloud Ready Client, which works with Lenovo's Secure Cloud Access technology.

Lenovo made a new commitment to cloud computing April 12 with the introduction of Cloud Ready Client, a software package designed to ease the process of accessing applications and services from a cloud infrastructure.

In addition to the new cloud software, Lenovo is rolling out its SCA (Secure Cloud Access), which is powered by Stoneware's webNetwork. This complementary delivery network lets smartphones, tablets and other devices access Web or local applications through an interface that mimics a standard Microsoft Windows desktop interface.

Cloud Ready Client is compatible with all Lenovo ThinkPad laptops and ThinkCentre desktops powered by Intel's 2nd generation Core and Core vPro Processors, as well as Intel-developed APIs (application programming interfaces) that expose the client's key hardware attributes to the cloud applications.

SCA is the first commercial application Lenovo is offering through Cloud Ready Client.

"When users access a cloud service from their Cloud Ready Client or from a different device, SCA recognizes situational cues, including the user-authentication method, capabilities of the device being used, time of day, location and network," according to Lenovo.

"SCA secures and guides the delivery by allocating local or cloud-based resources based upon these situational cues," the PC maker added. "If the user is operating a Lenovo Cloud Ready Client, SCA detects the device's capabilities, such as processor performance, free memory, graphics and available bandwidth and takes advantage of those capabilities to optimize application delivery and end-user experience securely."

SCA also allows businesses to deploy private, hybrid clouds inside a data center on physical or virtual servers. Lenovo is also offering a Cloud Ready Client with a built-in fingerprint reader, as well as single sign-on to applications that are expected to further reduce the IT overhead associated with password resets.

Technology Business Research Analyst Ezra Gottheil wrote that Lenovo is trying to differentiate its enterprise PC offerings from other business computers. Gottheil added that the Cloud Ready Client "will help make its ThinkPad PCs more attractive to businesses, and that the new solution is a leader in an emerging trend of improving user experience on a widening array of client platforms."

Lenovo is among the numerous companies expanding its enterprise offerings and consumer mobile devices, and seeing the groups find increasingly common ground. Like Hewlett-Packard and Dell, it has developed a smartphone, the LePhone, and, with its LePad, contributed to the media tablet market created by the Apple iPad.

TBR, Gottheil wrote, "believes Cloud Ready Client is a stepping stone for higher utilization of tablets and smartphones in the enterprise space, by allowing the server to optimize the end-user's experience. Going forward, Lenovo plans to expand its Cloud Ready Client software to include its LePhone smartphone and its LePad tablet."

Cloud computing has been enjoying enormous growth for several years now. IBM, whose cloud clients include FritoLay, American Airlines and IndiaFirst, said earlier this month, at a San Francisco event, that it expects cloud-computing services to generate $7 billion in revenue for the company by 2015.

"IBM is seeing cloud adoption in the enterprise hit a stride," Ric Telford, IBM's vice president of Cloud Services, said at the event. The cloud is another key inflection point in the industry, similar to e-business, and Linux and open source, he explained. "Between our hardware, software and services that will go into supporting our client needs for cloud computing, we can see our way to the $7 billion figure by 2015."

The Lenovo SCA is now available in North America, with pricing beginning at $80 per user for commercial customers.