28 Jan What Is A Hosted Desktop? Plus 7 More Common Questions About Hosted Desktops
By Jonathan Bentz, Marketing Manager
With the end of life looming for Windows XP (at publishing of this post, we are down to 70 days), the time has come for users of 30% of the world’s computers to begin finding solutions to upgrade their systems. Unless being exposed to a possible major cyber attack is something that was a budget item for your business this year!
If upgrading all of your PCs with Windows XP is not an option for your business this year – and you do want to avoid potential cyber attacks – perhaps now is the perfect time to consider bringing your technology forward with a hosted desktop. While it’s really easy to say “you should just get a hosted desktop” – we’ve found that many businesses have a hard time understanding exactly what a hosted desktop is, what it does, and how it’s better than simply buying new PCs.
In an attempt to educate anyone looking into the possibility of deploying hosted desktops as part of their infrastructure solution (whether you have a need to upgrade from Windows XP or not), we’ve taken some time to review some of the most common questions we get related to hosted desktops. Enjoy!
Oh… and if you find a question you have about hosted desktops that isn’t answered below – please leave it in the comments. I will gladly put together an answer and add it to the questions below.
What Is A Hosted Desktop?
A hosted desktop is a virtual installation that looks, feels, and operates just like a desktop PC. Similar to desktop PCs you’re already used to, hosted desktops include a visual representation of a Windows Operating System, web browsers like Internet Explorer and Firefox, and common softwares you would expect on a desktop PC. In contrast, hosted desktops enable the files and softwares on your computer to be safely accessible on any device with an internet connection.
If this is the first time you’ve ever heard the term ‘hosted desktop’, perhaps you are more familiar with this type of product by a different name, like:
- Cloud desktop
- Virtual desktop
- Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS)
What Types Of Businesses Use Hosted Desktops?
More companies than you may imagine have embraced the move to hosted desktops. A market report produced by Infiniti Research Limited in July 2013 predicts that the global market will grow 65% by 2016.
Here is an average business profile of Netrepid clients currently using hosted desktops:
- Industry: ~50% Professional Services, ~25% Technology, ~25% Hospitality
- Business Type: 100% Privately Held
- Company Size: About 18 Employees
- Years In Business: About 8 Years
What’s The Difference Between A Community Hosted Desktop And A Dedicated Hosted Desktop?
At Netrepid, we offer two different types of hosted desktop solutions. Community hosted desktops can be equipped with Microsoft applications like Office and Internet Explorer, but no other applications. For any additional applications like QuickBooks or a CRM solution like SAGE to be included in a hosted desktop environment, companies would need a dedicated hosted desktop.
What Are The Costs Associated With A Hosted Desktop?
If your business is considering installing your own hosted desktop solutions, the initial investment could be HIGH. In fact, the market report from Infiniti Research indicates initial investment is the biggest challenge facing the growth of the hosted desktop market. With staffing and infrastructure costs alone, most businesses are easily looking at a total investment in the $100,000’s to be able to set up an in-house hosted desktop environment.
By comparison, outsourcing hosted desktop solutions to a provider of infrastructure services (like Netrepid) is likely a 4-figure to 5-figure investment annually at the enterprise level.
Community hosted desktops powered by Netrepid start at just $35 per user, per month. Dedicated hosted desktops start at $45 per user before licensing fees for custom software applications.
How Can A Hosted Desktop Serve My Critical Software That Is Only Compatible With Windows XP?
While our hosted desktop solutions do include a visual representation of Windows 7 for users, it is possible for softwares that are only compatible with Windows XP to maintain full function. Why? Because the hosted desktops are hosted on a virtual infrastructure, the “operating system” you are accustomed to on a PC or laptop is effectively eliminated.
However, it is best to seek proper consultation from an IT expert with experience in deploying hosted desktops and custom software applications before simply setting up a solution.
How Do I Connect To A Hosted Desktop?
If you are capable of logging on to a PC or laptop – then connecting to a hosted desktop will be easy! All you have to do is login to the web URL specified by your hosted desktop provider to launch your hosted desktop. At Netrepid, we suggest a program called Citrix Receiver to connect your computer or other internet-enabled device to our servers before you launch a hosted desktop.
If your hosted desktop service uses a solution from Microsoft Azure or VMware – the process may differ.
How Are Hosted Desktops Better For My Business? What Are The Pros Of Hosted Desktops?
- Businesses can reduce desktop ownership costs UP TO 50%
- Critical business data and applications can be centralized
- Data is secure and can be backed up in real time
- Windows XP compatible software can be utilized in a Windows 7 “operating system”
- Confidential and proprietary information can be kept off portable devices
- If a device fails, users can pick up right where they left off on another device
Are There Any Cons Of Hosted Desktops That I Need To Know?
- Might be an obvious one, but you can’t access a hosted desktop if you can’t access the Internet.
- Employee training and change management
- Failure to deliver significant cost savings (unless you use Netrepid’s solutions, of course)