The New PC: Operating in the Cloud

Rich Cheston has been in the PC business almost from the beginning -  long enough to earn his status of Master Inventor at Lenovo . In this post, he shares his most recent technical passion – the first solution to emerge from Lenovo’s cloud computing strategy.

It’s a Cloud World We’re heading full force toward the cloud – there’s no doubt about it. The benefits of operating in the cloud are just too plentiful for businesses to turn a blind eye. The efficiencies and agility the cloud offers creates new services and opportunities for all customers. The trick is making the cloud simple and secure enough for businesses to be comfortable. Full PC + Cloud As the cloud becomes more important and pervasive, the role of the client or PC is getting pushed to the back burner. Today’s “cloud” doesn’t value the PC's features or functions, which negatively impacts the user experience. People are used to the latest performance and graphics on their PCs.  This neglect by the cloud on the end user device is slowing the adoption of cloud computing in the enterprise because it puts the strain on the data center to scale and do the work of every PC.  In fact, some customers tell me organizations have had to back away from rolling out cloud solutions because the demand placed on the data center has prevented them from scaling/rolling out a significant number of PCs.

Cloud-Ready Devices At Lenovo we see the access device – laptop, smartphone, etc., - as the window to the cloud. It’s how we differentiate ourselves from the current cloud industry approach, which relies on the data center to do the work of the PC to deliver cloud services. To break down the barrier and win over cloud users, we wanted to create a familiar experience, just like everyday desktop computing. Secure Cloud Access We worked with Intel to develop a solution that puts the access device at the heart of cloud services: The cloud must be able to recognize the device and its capabilities, and the applications and resources on the device must be able to expose themselves to the cloud. It results in a better user experience – one that’s more consistent and relevant to today’s devices and that puts less demand on the data center. We think of as a “balanced approach” to cloud computing.

Demonstrated at Intel Developer Forum With Intel we announced the industry’s first Cloud Ready Clients, PCs that are optimized to interact with the cloud. To accompany the Cloud Ready Clients, we also announced Secure Cloud Access (SCA), the first commercial application to deliver an enhanced experience through a Lenovo Cloud Ready Client. The pair simplify the cloud playing field for users and IT staff by creating an optimized, easy to navigate, browser-based experience that protects the network from security threats.

Real World Application So – what does this mean? How does the user get a better experience from a cloud service that relies more heavily on the access device than the data center? I’ll share an example. Imagine a time you were watching a video and were annoyed as it stopped to buffer five times throughout the three minute clip. That was likely because the clip was sent through the data center before it ultimately landed at your device. With a Cloud Ready Client and SCA, the video session runs locally in full HD if the device has a GPU. Better user experience, less strain on the data center – a perfect balance.