By Jimmy Chang, Vice President of Products and Alliances, Workspot

Gartner, Inc. forecasts that the worldwide public cloud services market will grow just over 21 percent this year to total $186.4 billion, up from $153.5 billion in 2017. The analyst firm identifies the fastest-growing segment of the market as cloud system infrastructure services (infrastructure as a service or IaaS), which is forecast to grow 35.9 percent in 2018 to reach $40.8 billion.

This and many other industry reports clearly show that organizations are using cloud services at an increasing rate, with no signs of slowing down. To capitalize on this trend, all kinds of software companies have jumped on the cloud bandwagon – huge numbers of organizations already have a cloud presence or are quickly moving in that direction. You hear the terms “born in the cloud,” “cloud-enabled” and “cloud-native” all the time, but often the differences between them are fuzzy, causing confusion among potential buyers. A closer look will make the distinctions clear.

What’s in a Name?

The term “born in the cloud” is one of the newly minted catchphrases of the cloud era. But what does it mean, and why does it matter? Techopedia defines it as “a specific type of cloud service that does not involve legacy systems but was designed for cloud delivery.” Techopedia also notes that “born in the cloud” products deliver certain benefits, such as “rapid elasticity” and “on-demand availability.”

When it comes to virtual desktop solutions, such benefits enable, in turn, important cloud capabilities like desktop provisioning in minutes, instant scalability and better-than-physical-PC performance. Sounds pretty compelling, right? Simplicity should also be considered. If your virtual desktop solution fails to simplify your world, it should be re-evaluated.

Native or Enabled?

If a solution was “born in the cloud,” the intention was to deliver it exclusively via the cloud. How is this concept related to the notions of “cloud-enabled” and “cloud-native”? These terms are sometimes used interchangeably and can be easily confused, yet the difference between them is significant.

The difference is this: A cloud-native virtual desktop solution is built from the ground up using micro-services; it’s multi-tenant, and it features fast and easy scalability. A cloud-enabled VDI solution is a legacy product that was originally designed for a traditional data center and was then plunked into the cloud.

The problem with cloud-enabled VDI is that it brings all the shortcomings of its data center incarnation right to the cloud. It is still complex, single-tenant, and hard to scale, which is completely antithetical to what cloud computing is supposed to do for you! Cloud-native solutions deliver all the simplicity, elasticity and scalability benefits you should be getting. This means that “born in the cloud” and “cloud-native” are the same thing. It is “cloud-enabled” solutions you need to worry about.

There are plenty of VDI solutions to choose from that are technically “in” the cloud, but only two are actually cloud-native. All the other vendors have cloud-enabled VDI solutions that cannot deliver the simplicity, scalability and performance benefits that made moving to the cloud so attractive in the first place. It is ironic that a solution described as “cloud-enabled” is actually missing so many capabilities that the cloud makes possible. That makes it confusing and is why it is so important to drill down to discover whether the solution can really meet your requirements.

Harnessing Cloud Power

As cloud adoption accelerates and CIOs get out of the business of managing on-premises data centers, moving PC workloads to the cloud becomes essential.  Choosing the right “PC in the Cloud” solution means your IT team will not need to manage complex infrastructure or worry about scalability to accommodate growth. Implementing virtual desktops that are truly cloud-native brings new levels of business agility, augments your security posture and delivers performance that tops physical PCs. Finally, you can reallocate IT resources to pursue more strategic projects that drive business growth. That is the real power of the cloud.


About the Author:

As Vice President of Products and Alliances at Workspot, Jimmy is responsible for product direction, and technology partnership strategy. Prior to Workspot, Jimmy held various senior technical product, marketing and strategy roles at software, networking and video compression companies. That includes Citrix, where he was director of product management and strategic alliances, responsible for XenDesktop product management and building the ecosystem strategy with technology partners including Google, HP and Dell. Jimmy holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.