2020 saw an old technology increasingly surge back into demand.
Remote working technology has been around for twenty plus years and has been utilized in many forms. COVID-19 has ushered in the norm and necessity for remote technology. Today, as remote technology comes in forms beginning at Microsoft’s Terminal Services all the way up to GoToMyPC, it is often difficult to determine the best technology.
Thin-nology has been providing Remote Workplace Solutions (RWS) for about twenty years. Twelve years ago, Thin-nology faced an impasse, deciding which solution would be the most effective to provide to our customers. We vetted a wide range of options including Microsoft, VMWare, Citrix, and Spark from Sun Microsystems, present-day Oracle. Thin-nology made an executive decision not to evaluate GoToMyPC or other similar technologies as we consider them a good “stop-gap” providing an emergency connection to your office PC rather than a foundational technology to provide Remote Workplace Solutions.
In the initial deployment phases, there are many important things to factor into a decision. Cost is always an important one, but others include printing, scanning, bar code reading, and other peripheral integration required to ensure a fully functional desktop. It is important that a Remote Workplace Solution provide the same comprehensive functionality of your office environment managed services and IT peripherals.
Our initial evaluations pointed us in the direction of Spark Station from Sun as the premier user interface, the original pioneers of Remote Workspace Technology. Upon further review, we found a fatal flaw in that they did not provide USB support, so the search continued. In the battle between Citrix and VMWare, it was hard to judge at the time, which was the better solution, so we marked each a tie. We were impressed, given their age at the time, with the VMWare product. However, both technologies had high user fees to launch Microsoft’s Terminal Services which was not something Thin-nology was wanting to compromise.
This led us to Microsoft’s Hyper-V platform, which at the time, was in beta format. The primary drivers were functionality and cost. The VMWare and Citrix solution provided a simple, easy-to-use web interface, whereas the Microsoft Solution utilized a Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) application. At the time, the cost for Microsoft Technology was less than the alternatives, and once configured provided the same user experience. Over time, the last statement has changed, and its costs are now on par with its competitors.
Some things, scanning setup, printing, and other USB attached devices were easier to configure in the VMWare and Citrix solutions but over time Microsoft has resolved these issues and a few years ago deployed their Remote Applications product line. In addition, they purchased the “Remote FX” technology which allows for the watching of video across the Terminal Services platform. This also solved the scrolling problems related to PDF’s and allowed for the “snap-to-grid” in drawing packages such as AutoCAD.
The most important question today to ask is where do we go from here? COVID-19 has introduced the increasing necessity of Remote Technology. All suppliers have seen an exponential increase in their technology. As time passes and companies implement more permanent solutions, the big three, Microsoft, VMWare, and Citrix will see continued growth in the demand for their technology. This will lead to a decline in the use of technologies such as GoToMyPC. Please understand, I am not downplaying these technologies, they have for years, provided a very good solution for a temporary Remote Workplace Solution. However, latency and other issues, especially connection, will see companies going to the permanent WorkPlace Solution offered by the big three that is implemented and supported by companies such as Thin-nology (see our Dallas remote working solutions). It should be noted that Microsoft expected a much greater migration to the cloud than has transpired. COVID-19 could well have provided the catalyst that drives the adoption to the rate they had predicted 6-8 years ago.