Some of the most common challenges clients bring us relate to application management. Fortunately, it’s now easier than ever to take any desktop application to the cloud for centralized management and then seamlessly deliver them to users through Remote Desktop Services. Let’s take a look at how RemoteApps work on Windows Server, and why our clients love the user experience.
App Management Headaches
We often find modestly sized organizations struggle to manage the key apps their operations need to run smoothly. This is especially true for specialized industry applications that require extra time to install or update on individual PCs.
In a traditional IT environment, desktops and laptops have the applications installed locally. Whomever holds responsibility for IT (rarely a full-time position) has limited ability to oversee these applications. Leaving it largely in the hands of individual users presents risks to critical business information, as they must update applications, configure settings and manage the data on their own. Depending on your sector, it could also raise compliance concerns.
At the very least, it’s an inefficient and needlessly complex way to manage applications. Networks and hosting platforms now make it possible for you to more seamlessly centralize management of applications.
Remote Desktop Services
There are several ways you can host applications. One is to provision an entire thin client IT environment. Thin clients are simplified computer terminals with no hard drive or storage that connect to a full desktop environment residing on a local server or an offsite data center. As I’ve written, thin clients are an incredibly powerful way to simplify IT. (For more, check out my post, “Real-World Lessons from Adopting a Thin Client IT Environment”.)
However, replacing all of your desktop IT assets with thin clients doesn’t make sense for all organizations.
Another option: use Remote Desktop Services (RDS) on Windows Server to provision RemoteApps to your existing PCs.
With RemoteApp, you publish individual applications from the centralized server to users’ desktops. To the user, the application looks like it is stored on there local PC, but in fact it’s running on a server. For our clients, we either set up RDS and RemoteApps on-premise, or host them remotely on Echopath servers in one of our secure data centers.
The RemoteApp program is integrated with the client’s desktop. It runs in its own resizable window, can be dragged between multiple monitors, and has its own entry in the Windows taskbar.
Managing Application Data
For many organizations, RemoteApps solve a lot of the challenges associated with application management. While users get the same experience, it becomes much easier to scale an application across multiple users. Installation all happens on the central server instead of individual machines. Through its integration with Active Directory, a manager controls which employees get access to certain applications, and can promptly cut off access should that user change roles or leave the company.
But perhaps the most important benefit: data management. RemoteApp and RDS allow companies to centrally control how they store application data, ensuring it is secure and compliant with any industry regulations. Applications themselves are more secure as well, because you can update them all at once.
A Step Toward the Cloud
Your organization may not be ready to switch entirely to hosted cloud services or advanced thin client environment. For some companies, that is too big a step, or might not make financial sense at the time. But RDS is a strategic intermediate step that allows you to experience the benefits hosted IT services without undertaking a full transition.
Could RDS and a RemoteApp be right for you? Get in touch to pick our brain about how the approach could work in your organization.