Feeds

Unisys takes services to the desktop

Virtual helpdesk, Windows slices

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Unisys hasn't been a PC maker for decades, but the company thinks it can take some of the tools it has created to manage systems, rejigger them, and make some dough selling services to manage PCs and providing PC images on its homegrown cloud.

Today, Unisys unveiled a bunch of services that have been collected together under a generic umbrella called end user productivity services. According Sam Gross, vice president of global IT outsourcing solutions at Unisys, the premise of the new services is twofold: the modern workplace has three different groups of workers who use different kinds of computing devices as they do their daily tasks - that would be Boomers, GenX/Y, and Millennials, in the lingo - and the days of workers all having more or less the same PC are over.

"The single PC vendor and the single software stack doesn't play anymore," says Gross. "But corporations are still thinking about desktops the way they did ten years ago, looking at and focusing on TCO."

The reality is that end users from different generations want to access corporate information and do their work from different kinds of devices, and that means IT has to support these devices - and do so in a constrained budget environment. The end user services that Unisys is rolling out today aims to make computing at end user devices - be they laptop or desktop PCs, or netbooks, smartbooks, iPhones, or virtual PCs running in the cloud - work better and give end users less grief.

One of the key technologies underpinning the end user productivity services being offered by Unisys is a set of monitoring tools that run atop Windows and that are tightly integrated into the vPro electronics cooked up by Intel to make it easier to manage PC hardware, operating systems, and applications. The agent software that Unisys has created doesn't just tell you that software has crashed and ask you if you want to send some data about it to Microsoft so they might help understand it. It actually monitors all of the software running on the PC to watch how the machine is performing and to feed data back to IT managers so they can do correlations across many end users to discover the causes of application crashes or other performance degradation that end users suffer through.

The idea is to gather information in real time that can feed back into PC administration and application development so the problems get fixed, rather than spending lots of time trying to have an end user try to explain what happened to a techie).

This monitoring agent software, which was developed by Unisys, is the key ingredient for the Virtual Desktop Service. Pricing for this service was not provided by Unisys. This agent software works in conjunction with vPro-based PCs and hooks into Microsoft's System Center Configuration Manager tool for patching and updating Windows-based PCs. The software is also being extended to be able to monitor devices based on Windows Mobile as well as BlackBerry handhelds.

As the company promised when it launched its own compute cloud back in July, Unisys is today rolling out cloud-based virtual PC slices, with the unattractive acronym of VOaaS, short for Virtual Office as a Service. As the name implies, this service gives end users a Windows PC with the Office stack of applications for a monthly, per seat charge. Gross is being coy about pricing for this virtual Windows slice, but says that it will be competitive with any alternative out there and certainly less expensive than buying a real PC and supporting it.

The VOaaS slices available today come with Windows XP and the customer's choice of Office 2003 or Office 2007. On October 30, the week after Windows 7 formally launches, Unisys will have Windows 7 slices available, too. The slices run atop Windows Server 2008 and its related Hyper-V R2 hypervisor.

Like many businesses, Unisys is going to skip Windows Vista. The Windows instance will be accessible through thin clients, any kind of Windows PC, netbooks, and eventually will have some hooks for iPhones to get access to files and certain applications.

Another launched by Unisys today is called Unified Communications as a Service (yes, UCaaS), which takes Microsoft's Exchange Server, SharePoint, and Office Communicator applications and hosts them on the Unisys cloud. This software is hosted in a multi-tenant cloud rather than a private cloud.

The last service announced today is called Application Virtualization Services, and with this, Unisys takes your current desktop applications and preps them so they can be deployed on a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) setup of your choosing in your data center. Unisys doesn't care if you want to plunk your virtualized PC images on a Xen, ESX Server, or Hyper-V hypervisor. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.