Born in the cloud or cloud-enabled? For virtual desktops, there’s a world of difference

In its Voice of the Enterprise: Cloud Transformation survey, 451 Research analysts found that 90 percent of organizations surveyed are using some type of cloud service. Last year, the cloud market was worth $28.1 billion; by 2021, it will almost double in value at $53.3 billion. And by next year, 69 percent of respondents intend to have some type of multi-cloud environment.

This is just one of the many analyst reports that document the fact that cloud use is on the rise. 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. So, for the sake of clarity, let’s take a closer look.

Defining our cloud terms

One of the latest buzzwords is “born in the cloud,” 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.”

Those cloud attributes support important features and benefits, such as desktop provisioning in minutes, instant scalability and better-than-physical-PC performance. Sounds pretty compelling, right? Then there’s simplicity. If your virtual desktop solution doesn’t simplify your world, it’s time to re-evaluate. 

Cloud-native or cloud-enabled?

A solution that was “born in the cloud” was meant to be delivered 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.

Here is the heart of the matter: 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. 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.

Cloud-enabled VDI drags along all the same baggage it had in its data center incarnation. It’s complex, single-tenant and hard to scale. The cloud-native solutions deliver all the simplicity, elasticity and scalability benefits mentioned above. So, “born in the cloud” and “cloud-native” are the same thing. It’s the “cloud-enabled” solutions you need to worry about.

Of all the VDI solutions available, 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’s ironic that a solution described as “cloud-enabled” is actually missing so many capabilities that the cloud makes possible. That’s why it can be confusing and why it’s so important to drill-down on whether the solution can meet your requirements.

Going native 

With so much business moving to the cloud, many vendors are scrambling to offer cloud-enabled versions of their products. That might work for some needs, but when it comes to virtual desktops, clunky legacy systems that just get moved to the cloud will never make users happy. With a cloud-native solution, IT doesn’t have to worry about infrastructure or continually put out fires started by legacy solutions, so IT staff can focus on more strategic projects for the business. Getting those resources back to focus on advancing business goals is just one of the many reasons to choose cloud-native virtual desktops.

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