Yesterday, Dr Joseph Reger, CTO, Fujitsu Siemens Computers (FSC) took the IT industry to talk over Green IT, talked about his services vision and the need for the IT industry to come up with new models in order to engage with customers. Datacentre Times caught up with Dr Reger to find out a little more about one of his passions - Workplace as a Service.
Delivering remote desktops is currently in vogue. You introduced this at Visit 08 as part of your Workplace as a Service but with limited applications and support. Can we really deliver all the applications we need over the wire, particularly those with rich graphics needs?
Reger Rich display is an issue on the wire. We can be smart by mimicking the hardware, irrespective of where the hardware is, the client or the server but can you figure out the best option. You need to be adaptive. There comes a point where you hit problems with rich media content where everything has been squeezed out of it so there is richness left.
So how far away are we from being able to deliver outside of our test environments. A year? More?
Reger No. We are not a year away for normal work. We are currently running our Workplace solution internally for proof of concept. It is becoming very clear that to say whatever your desktop needs are it can be served as a service is one end of the scale. The other is to say you always need the fat clients. In between are lots of shades of grey.
What is your estimate from internal observations?
Reger We estimate out of 10,000 workplaces around 2-3000 will be addressable with Workplace as a Service. Many of the other will suffer and the biggest issue is wire problems [bandwidth]. There is also an issue related to managing the images. We could have one image per user. After all, running a stripped software configuration on 5,000 machines, even with a corporate desktop, that job and the job of running the 5,000 images on the server are not that different. You wouldn't get much in the way of savings except for power as you don't have to turn the machines on to back them up.
So there is this other thing - management of images and this again comes back to the wire problem. The smart thing to do what is well suited for that kind of operation but that might not be the one would like to use. For example, I have a normal laptop, I can check-out and images which is fine but check-in is harder. I also have 2 other non checked in live served images. One is an individual image where the storage system - a network appliance - is doing deduplication at block level and using deltas. The other is a pooled image which is the last resort if I need urgent access - pieces are being streamed in live to the image and if you are in a hurry this take time. Not as much time as booting a PC but it does take time.
How do we deal with security? Today we install security on the local machine but if we are working off of master images, we cannot possibly support the constant changes to these images that this process creates
Reger What needs to be done is to transition to bare metal hypervisors. It creates an elevated level of security which means there is no base attack. We need to do this as fast as possible. Our current installations are not there yet but will be as soon as we can do it.
The next step is to sort out the virus scanning. It needs to be streamed along with other images. If we can check the images during the streaming that is important. What we must do is ensure that the master image is protected and doesn't change. This does mean that the instantiation of the desktop can take time but that's too bad and needs to be accepted. It's still less time than booting a fat client.
How are you going to deploy this?
Reger For us, the direction is to put together a configuration on a bare metal hypervisor with extensive use of streaming. We will guard and protect in streaming mode ensuring that images remain unchanged and protected. We would like to work with storage vendors to be able to write the images so that they are sealed and protected. We are working on this proof of concept today.