How Easy Is It To Move To A Hosted Desktop?
Cloud computing is the becoming the new standard for many businesses and the idea of running an on-premise server for business data and documents now seems a little old fashioned – how quickly has that happened?
For companies who have existing servers, especially ones where the operating system is about to go out of support, the good news is that moving to a Hosted Desktop is such a straightforward, and risk-free process that there’s no reason to put off reaping the benefits that a Hosted Desktop can bring.
How do you move applications to a Hosted Desktop?
For most applications the process will be very straightforward. Let’s take the example of moving Sage 50 Accounts from your local PC to a Hosted Desktop. The steps involved are:
• Our technical team will install the customer’s version of Sage 50 Accounts, generally from our software library, and apply the customer’s account number, serial number and activation key.
• The customer does a full backup of their Sage data, reports etc. using the standard Sage Backup utility
• The customer logs on to their new Hosted Desktop platform where they can see both the drives on the Hosted Desktop and also their local drives on their PC. Then they simply copy and paste the backup file up to the server.
• Our technical team then restore the backup to Sage on the Hosted Desktop and it’s ready to use.
This process is typical of many systems, some applications, however, can be a bit more involved and may require the expertise of the software vendor. In these situations, our on-boarding team will work hand in hand with the software vendor to configure the server to their specifications and assist them with the data migration.
How do you move data to a Hosted Desktops?
There are a number of methods for moving data, depending on how much volume there is and the speed of the customers internet connection.
For relatively small amounts of data (say less than 10GB), over a reasonably fast link, then simple copy and paste works well enough. As you get to larger amounts or the internet link is not especially fast or reliable then we would set up an FTP site and assist the customer to copy the data using an FTP client.
Once you’re into 100GB plus then copying over the internet will be into days rather than hours. Here a combination of options may be employed including sending external hard drives by courier or using 3rd party cloud backup systems. For example, we partner with Redstor Data Management and this can be used to backup data to the cloud and then restore to the hosted desktop. The advantage of Redstor is that you can decide which files need to be prioritised and restored first, meaning the customer can be up and running quickly while the less important data restores behind the scenes. With all these methods our on-boarding team will guide the customer at each step of the way
How do I set my users up to connect to a Hosted Desktop?
With a Hosted Desktop you have a multitude of different connection methods that you can use depending on personal preference or circumstance. Methods include:
• A full remote desktop where the users sees the whole Hosted Desktop with start menu and icons for applications available on the remote desktop.
• A more common approach is RemoteApp where users see icons on their local PC for each of the applications on the Hosted Desktop. These can be pinned to the Start Screen, or saved on to the local PCs desktop.
• There’s a modern app called the Microsoft Remote Desktop Client which provides a consistent connection method for Windows, Mac, IOS and Android.
• There are also several options for connecting using a web browser which takes no set up at all, just a URL and a user name and password.
Setting each of these up for a user is typically a 2 minute job, and if users do have connection problems we can remote control their PC (with permission of course) to assist with things.
Are there any risks moving to a Hosted Desktop?
All IT projects carry risks, but there’s nothing wrong with risk as long as you can easily mitigate against them. The beauty of moving to a Hosted Desktop is that nothing happens to your existing data, it remains untouched on your current platform so you can always return to it. Of course, once you start using your new service and your data starts changing it becomes harder to return to the old system without having to repeat a lot of work.
So, the most important mitigation you can do is to test thoroughly:
• Test your applications with a test copy of data
• Check everyone can access everything they should, and can’t access things they shouldn’t.
• Check printing and other ancillary processes,
• Check all users can log on, and are confident connecting to the new platform
• Check remote workers can access OK, of course with a Hosted Desktop everyone is a remote worker so they all get the same experience
• If your Hosted Desktop environment communicates with other systems located elsewhere check that these connect and work OK
Once you are happy the testing is thorough then you can make a final copy of the data and databases and go live at a time that suits you.
Are Hosted Desktops suitable for complex infrastructure requirements?
Hosted Desktop is simply a marketing term.
The technology behind hosted desktops is Microsoft Windows Remote Desktop Services which runs on Windows Servers in our data centre. Additional servers, services, database servers, storage, and any other systems can be deployed for your environment.
Our customers run everything from simple remote desktop servers for 2 users, to server farms for hundreds of users with application servers, web servers and SQL server instances.
Do I need IT skills to move to a Hosted Desktop?
Definitely not, our customers are generally business people not IT people so we’ll help you every step of the way.
How do I move to a Hosted Desktop?
The first step is to give us a call on 01282 500318 and talk through your current systems and your specific requirements.
We’ll guide you every step of the way to architect the perfect hosted solution for you.
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