Life used to be much simpler for IT departments. There were clients, there was a data center, and there were server-based applications that end-users accessed in a controlled, secure manner.
No longer — that environment is changing radically, with a movement toward mobile and cloud. End-users want consumer and corporate apps available on any device, from any location. If they’re working on their tablets, they want data to be instantly available on other devices or to share with colleagues or external clients, whether or not they’re sitting in the office.
Off-the-shelf software is becoming as archaic as Atari consoles or 8-tracks. You used to buy licenses and CDs, install the software on desktops, and set up a file-sharing system for end-users. employees had one standard operating system on their desktops, and each desktop had a user profile and applications.
The cloud is changing every software vendor’s approach to delivering applications, and we’re seeing licensing move toward micro-subscriptions. Two recent software releases — Adobe’s Creative Suite 6 and Autodesk AutoCAD 2013 — are examples of how this environment is changing. And the impact goes beyond licensing or the client.
Adobe Creative Suite 6 can be purchased under the familiar perpetual licensing model, or through a new cloud subscription model. Adobe Creative Cloud serves as a digital hub that allows end-users to access online services for file sharing, collaboration and publishing, as well as benefit from new apps and features as soon as they’re released. In essence, this offloads collaboration from the data center and moves it into Adobe’s Cloud. Even further though – Adobe’s Digital Marketing Suite leverages a Big Data approach to understanding digital marketing ROI – the platform for this is also in the cloud. What used to be a client only application is having a big impact on data center and network deployment considerations.
Autocad 2013 is also moving to the cloud. Autodesk 360 is a cloud-based platform that provides a collaboration workspace, the ability to view, edit and share files, as well as document storage. Again though, the client application is dramatically enhanced by leveraging cloud compute power services for rendering, optimization and structural analysis, to name a few.
Desktop and Application Virtualization
A completely different example of how the silos of client and data center are coming down is the move towards more mainstream adoption of desktop and application virtualization. With virtualization, hardware becomes a commodity; the OS becomes a service to any device, whether PC or Mac, desktop or tablet.
For IT, this has a number of benefits: it saves on hardware and software costs, simplifies operating system migrations, and improves security by isolating apps from the OS. Of course, there are challenges too, such as the creation of a single point of failure, so having the right solution in place is critical, such as Application Delivery Controllers that balance app requests across multiple servers and help ensure availability during a surge in traffic.
This client environment is changing the conversation between IT, business leaders and even end-users. Your trusted advisor at Softchoice can guide you through these changes and show you how to support your client environment as part of larger infrastructure.