Desktop cloud computing - The desktop cloud computing system provides clients virtualize desktop computing resources and provides a logical, rather than a physical, method of access to data, computing power, storage capacity and other resources. The system is designed to provide enhanced levels of security, resiliency, reliability, and quality for virtual desktops.
Desktop virtualization is a new delivery method in which desktop operating systems execute in a data center and users access their applications using stateless "thin-client" devices. Thus providing significant benefits in terms of data security, flexibility, and reduction of the total cost of ownership. Virtualization technology is utilized to help achieve better physical resource management, as well as the high performance virtualized storage system. [1-2]
As a result, the virtual desktop hosting platform is designed to provide unique capabilities such as multi-tenancy and seamless multi-data center support, key elements to designing and building a scalable, cost-effective global desktop cloud offering. Organizations benefit from this model with desktop services that are designed to enable end-users with network-attached PCs and certain other devices the ability to access applications and data through a centrally managed computing environment.
Managing and provisioning end user desktops is an example of a costly and inefficient business process that can be greatly improved with cloud computing alternatives. Centrally controlling and managing end user desktop environments and making them available as a cloud service paves the way to reduce costs of support and increase the productivity of end users.
This revolutionary system has evolved as a deployment model for IT and business assets. The system delivers flexible business models for the user and, enables the delivery of IT and business assets that are operationally efficient and highly virtualized for the provider.
For over a decade, desktop cloud systems have paved the way to high throughput computing over large scale network of desktop computers. Currently, the aggregate computing power of the primary volunteer computing projects shows performance exceeding several PetaFlops.
Since the late 1990's, desktop cloud systems, such as SETI@Home, have been the largest and most powerful distributed computing systems in the world, offering an abundance of computing power at a fraction of the cost of dedicated, custom-built supercomputers. Desktop cloud systems allow large scale execution of applications. Moreover, as a consequence of their different operating systems, CPU speeds, network bandwidth, memory and disk sizes, desktop cloud resources are heterogeneous in nature.
In comparison to BOINC the desktop cloud system assumes that each user or node has the ability to submit a job. However, in the case of BOINC, only the specific project is able to create tasks and insert a new application. As a result, only few applications are supported by BOINC. In contrast, the desktop system offers users an interface similar to the batch system (PBS, Condor etc..) to create their jobs and get their results. In addition, applications do not need to be modified.
Desktop cloud systems have the potential to lower the cost of managing the environment, reduce complexity and improve its overall flexibility to ensure quick response to business needs. The benefits of this system include the following:
- Higher resource utilization.
- Increased flexibility.
- Better security and guest isolation - each virtual machine can be completely isolated from the control program and the other virtual machines.
- Enhanced scalability and availability - physical resources are removable and can be upgraded or changed without affecting users.
- Lower management costs and improved provisioning - as a consequence of virtual resources being abstracted from hardware and operating system issues they are thus capable of recovering faster after a crash situation and running in a virtualized mode greatly facilitates high-speed cloning.
Desktop Cloud Computing Software Structure
Desktop cloud service users have no visibility to the underlying technologies that enable these services. The services can be broadly divided into three main categories: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (Saas).
The desktop cloud environment has three distinct characteristics that differentiate it from traditional hosting:
- The desktop cloud service is sold on demand, for example, by the minute or the hour.
- The system is elastic and therefore a user can request for the provision of as much of the service required at any given time.
- The service is completed managed by the provider; the consumer just requires a personal computer together with internet access.
- Desktop cloud solutions must support and comprehend both physical and virtual resources (as created by tools like VMware).
- Desktop cloud infrastructures are SOA infrastructures in that they allow applications to be delivered as services that end users can access over a LAN, WAN, or the Internet.
Innovations in virtualization (the abstraction of resources from users and applications) and distributed computing, together with improved access to high-speed internet, combined with a weak economy, have accelerated interest in desktop cloud computing.
Desktop clouds can be private or public. Public desktop clouds are made available to users on the internet (Amazon Web Services is the largest provider at present). Whereas, a private desktop cloud is a proprietary network or a data center that supplies hosted services to users behind a firewall. The primary aim of desktop cloud computing is to provide easily scalable access to computing resources and IT services.
As a direct consequence of end user desktop environments being very inefficient and costly, businesses are aware of the value in transforming their delivery, however, they would like to do this without significant investment in new hardware, software, and resources.
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1. "A history of cloud computing", ComputerWeekly.com (2009-03-27) http://www.computerweekly.com/Articles/2009/06/10/235429/A-history-of-cloud-computing.htm
2. "Cloud Computing in 2010 - A Study of 456 IT Leaders On Outsourcing and Cloud Computing - Savvis.ITLeadership.info, 31 August 2009, http://www.physorg.com/news170955537.html
3. Univa UD website: http://www.univaud.com
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