The First Fully Functional Cloud-based “D” or Desktop

Sun Microsystems has unveiled what is being called the first fully functional cloud-based Desktop as a Service (DaaS) for grammar schools and community colleges. The new product is in line with Sun’s vision to build and deploy public and private clouds that are open and interoperable.

In a venture with another tech firm, Ashbourne Technology Group, in Southampton, PA, Sun is offering a secure, cost-effective computing solution delivered anytime, anywhere via the cloud. It’s a virtual desktop, and it works with all leading OSs, including Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Solaris to just about any client device, including Sun Ray thin clients and other platforms with Java-based browsers.

According to a Sun press release, the device’s zero-maintenance and very minimal 4-5 watt power draw makes it “one of the greenest desktop solutions on the market today.”

Addressing today’s very common security concerns about cloud computing, Sun said the technology has built-in VPN security so that parents, teachers and administrators needn’t worry about the privacy of students on the network. And, like true cloud-computing apps, the Sun DaaS, part of Sun’s education solutions portfolio, is subscription-based. Users can pay as little as $1.00 per day.

The product comes at an opportune time for cash-strapped school districts. And it also promises hassle-free maintenance and virtual user access. Hmm…classic benefits of the cloud: savings, low maintenance and 24/7 access.

“Schools can escape from the desktop replacement cycle saving thousands of dollars per year while providing better access to need-to-know information,” said Ivan Segal, CEO of Ashbourne, Sun’s partner and service provider. “Plus, there are benefits to preserving the equipment you already have and keeping the familiar desktop environment, but now delivering it anytime and to anywhere”. The Sun Desktop as a Service solution makes a lot of sense from a business and manageability standpoint.”

I’m happy to see another example of more varied uses of cloud computing technology being developed for an ever-widening audience. And, as I said in a previous post, I believe it’s crucial for schools and universities transacting and running databases on the web, to use monitoring services to ensure that their cloud-computing remains reliable, stable and secure.