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Key Takeaways

  • Hosted virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) establishes both infrastructure and workspace recovery and ensures business continuity for the end-user.
  • VDI enables better traceability, transparency, and control over the usage of business and resources applications.
  • VDI, coupled with UC&C, encourages businesses to have a unified, secure, and effective collaboration experience across the board.

Power outages. Cyber-attacks. Human error. Natural calamities. Any of these can be the fatal tipping point for potential disasters. And let’s not forget the COVID-19 pandemic, which has uncovered crucial business continuity downsides across every industry.

If anybody still believes having a business continuity and disaster recovery (DR) plan isn’t a top priority, you haven’t been catching sight of recent events. For instance, over 100,000 small-scale businesses in the US alone were forced to shut down due to the COVID-19 crisis.

At present, the majority of the people have to work from home due to the prevailing public-health crisis across continents. In these challenging times, businesses need to keep their business continuity plan up and running. Now is the time to consider migrating to smart cloud solutions like virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

VDI is designed to support businesses in the modern era. Let’s understand how it helps companies maintain business continuity.

En Route to a Flexible Home Office

Remote work isn’t going anywhere, so businesses have to ensure a top-notch customer experience while reimagining their remote work strategies. Today’s hosted virtual desktop solutions scale up endpoint security while improving workforce fluidity and streamlining network access.

VDI runs a thin client on the end-user system, a virtual workspace representation, to offer the virtualized applications, desktop, or other resources. Solutions and tools typically contain on-site storage, servers, and network components. However, cloud-based deployments are becoming more prevalent owing to recent events.

The value VDI continues to upsurge; the VDI industry is presently worth $4.8 Bn, with cloud deployment making up for around a tenth of the revenue. Considering the existing business environment, VDI is seeing a demand upsurge as businesses look for resilient, cost-efficient ways to deliver scalable, high-grade services to remote users.

VDI is seeing a demand upsurge as businesses look for resilient, cost-efficient ways to deliver scalable, high-grade services to remote users.

Nonetheless, VDI solutions are intricate service chains banking on several other IT services. They’re subject to both server and client network bandwidth and cluster capacity, the number of hops, and distance. Businesses have to ensure that they are providing an optimum user experience. That, in turn, demands transparency across this complicated service chain to see the pattern across multiple silos.

Curbing Risks by Improving Transparency

Hosted VDI is not a set-it-and-forget-it technology. Like any business solution, it is highly susceptible to data packet loss and network latency. Also, lack of server cluster capacity is a primary reason behind a slow VDI connection, increasing application response times, and choking up resource-poor client devices. With a record-breaking number of synchronous users, the pressure is far more frequent.

However, efficiency takes a hit when the user experience is below par, implying the system has little room for errors. Businesses require a smooth log-on and responsive session, so IT experts need to stave off silos and boost efficiency by constantly optimizing performance and creating a robust VDI infrastructure.

The ideal way for hosted virtual desktop providers to spot the problems early is by monitoring the user experience while tracking key performance indicators (KPI) for all tiers of the service chain, only possible by adding vendor-neutral tracking capabilities to current native solutions. Only then can businesses enjoy the benefits of collaboration across all involved IT components to curb operating expenses (OPEX) and provide excellent service.

Getting Businesses Ready for the Long Run

IT experts adopted VDI at an early stage of the pandemic-induced quarantine as it offered them the ability to deliver a secure computing climate to the remote workforce and lock applications and privileges. But for the users to adopt the solution and remain efficient, the IT crew had to ensure a good user experience.

If VDI has come out as a backbone of remote work technologies, another is unified communication and collaboration (UC&C) – also, highly susceptible to packet loss, network bandwidth, and jitter. Given that the VDI-driven workforce can access UC&C services from within VDI sessions, operators encounter the additional hurdle of monitoring delivery of a complicated service like UC&C across another complicated service like VDI – further highlighting the need for end-to-end transparency.

Profile, and policy-based management, which is one of VDI’s strongest points, can also be one of its pitfalls amid frequent changes such as a pandemic. A policy devised for a regional branch office might not apply to another area across the country or the globe.

In addition, frequent changes lead to human errors, while even pre-planned changes can have inadvertent repercussions as VDI operates on a shared framework. Planning for a scalable, flexible, end-to-end transparency solution? VDI and UC&C are always a thumbs-up.

Furthermore, UC&C and VDI must go through meticulous capacity planning. The last capacity planning cycle did not contribute to the explosive growth in remote work in 2020.

As such, market leaders should handle risks by embracing a pre-emptive approach that enables quick sorting of headwinds and long-run (capacity) metric accumulation across UC&C and VDI, and the services they depend on, including network and servers.

Connecting the Dots

VDI solutions have helped businesses of all shapes and sizes by allowing them to realize their objectives without a large cash outgo required for workspace. To extract true value from VDI, you have to invest in additional technologies and tools. While most technologies were primarily developed for on-site and bare metal, they were later re-invented for VDI.

Also, these technologies drive a great deal of value in a hosted VDI environment. Either way, hosted VDI is ideal for businesses, particularly those looking to upgrade and manage a remote workforce, as well as achieve business continuity. The benefits and value offset any of the additional investments needed in technologies and tools. It comes down to cashing in on the right expertise and implementing an efficient plan.

Further, today’s environment highlights the fact that cloud migration initiatives are now more critical than ever before. Only the most resilient businesses are poised to write the next chapter.

Key Takeaways

  • The COVID-19-induced shift to remote work has piqued the interest in virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and its cloud spin-off – Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS).
  • With many schools and universities sticking to remote learning, VDIs help bridge the desktop divide and enhance outcomes.
  • Rising spending on public cloud infrastructure will augur well for VDI now and beyond the pandemic.

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) has been around for a few decades. The COVID-19 pandemic has put a big spotlight on VDI, and 2020 may well have been the game-changer for this technology to go across the board.

While the pandemic has impacted almost every industry around the globe, VDI and DaaS services have seen tremendous adoption as more and more businesses stir their entire process to remote working.

As per a report, the global VDI market is likely to value around $13 Bn by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 14.4% from 2019 through 2027. Such a staggering growth is pretty exemplary, given the current disruptive impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

So, what’s driving this trend? Read on to know more.

Sudden Shift to Remote Work

Following the nationwide shutdowns to contain the coronavirus spread, several businesses have to swiftly adapt and execute compute groundwork to support remote employees. VDI has emerged as a logical fit, and businesses have employed VDI solutions at length.

Experts anticipate that the COVID-19 crisis will influence 70% of desktop virtualization business cases through 2023. Now, businesses are looking for technology that is mobile, scalable, more secure, and cost-efficient. They are switching to centralized virtual desktop infrastructure solutions that assure to be safer and leaner.

The COVID-19 crisis is expected to influence 70% of desktop virtualization business cases through 2023 and businesses are switching to virtual desktop infrastructure solutions for better mobility, security, scalability and cost savings.

As most of the processing is done on the cloud servers, businesses don’t have to bank on expensive hardware for workers to access resources. Also, this streamlines device management, security, and support.

None of the linked devices store any confidential information, as such; this approach is highly secure for remote employees. Software patches and updates can be easily applied across all access device hardware securely and effectively, ensuring everybody is well on track.

Flexibility and Speed – Much-needed while Working from Home

Moving ahead, VDI allows businesses to provision and de-provision systems with typical application sets as needed within minutes instead of hours or days. This speed and flexibility of service delivery offer a terrific opportunity for VDI in the post-COVID-19 world. Properly leveraged, VDI can curb the hardware ownership and support personnel needed to support the remote employees.

VDI service providers will do well to comprehend their customers’ particular needs and their potential challenges in the future. Exploring the critical areas that stem from a sudden switch to remote work will, no doubt, result in sales.

Putting the Classroom in Cloud

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a great deal of pressure on educational institutions to swiftly turn to a virtual learning experience. Now, the remaining 2021 won’t be business as usual for several school and university students. While some educational institutes have announced plans to resume in-class lectures, others are planning for continued online classes.

User experience is king. It has to be on-par or better compared to in-person. VDI provides a means to bridge the gap by offering students streamlined, simple, straightforward options for remote access.

While remote learning remains a prerequisite, it’s not sufficient to simply enable limited IT access and provide canned lectures. The student experience and user-friendliness are critical to stepping up academic outcomes and bolster ongoing student enrolment. Executed smartly, VDI provides a potential way to achieve both.

Furthermore, as educational institutes embrace DaaS to set up new virtual education labs, the market growth opportunities for VDI are likely to boom.

Public Cloud – An Unsung Hero

In a way, the public-health crisis has served as a de facto catalyst for unfolding the flexibility and value of cloud infrastructure (once again) and triggered faster adoption. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the global end-user expenditure on public cloud services will surge 18.4% in 2021 to total $304.9 Bn, as per a report.

Earlier, businesses were reluctant to shift critical workloads to the cloud due to security worries. But with tech giants such as Microsoft alone investing over $1 Bn on public cloud security and roping in more than 3,500 worldwide cybersecurity professionals, the industry is almost accepting that public cloud is becoming safer versus conventional data centers.

(In this case study, we explain how even critical cyberattacks like ransomware can be contained promptly in a DaaS environment and how organizations can achieve seamless business continuity with zero downtime: Proactive System Protection by Anunta against Ransomware with DaaS)

We have already seen conventional on-site applications such as Microsoft Office shifting to the cloud with Microsoft 365. Now VDI looks set to follow along. Moreover, with the rise of cloud service providers, the capability and pricing of VDI have improved a great deal.

A Shift to Non-persistent Desktops for a Persistent User Experience

Conventionally, cost and experience have been two of the biggest challenges to large-scale VDI employment. Businesses looking to ensure a continuous user experience to their customers had to invest in cost-prohibitive dedicated hardware to back each virtual machine (VM) – persistent desktops.

On the other hand, non-persistent desktops deliver considerable cost-cutting but do not save user preferences and set up a new machine every time a customer logs in to their virtual desktop.

VDI service providers, including Microsoft and Citrix, have addressed this hurdle by putting an additional personalization layer over non-persistent machines thus ensuring a persistent experience to non-persistent desktops. Furthermore, the adoption of non-persistent VDI will skyrocket 18% through 2026.

What Lies Ahead for VDI post-COVID-19?

People and industries are still bouncing back from the pandemic shockwaves and speaking about the future of VDI after the COVID-19 pandemic would be quite early. That said, a post-COVID world promises to spur this recovery as enterprises of all sizes facilitate their entire workforce with secure access to business-critical applications – irrespective of device, location, or browser.

Virtual desktop infrastructure solutions have matured, and the infrastructure that supports VDI has also matured. Now they are a bit cheaper, more stable, and no longer confined to use-cases in particular domains. The market is still evolving, with more potential developments in the virtualization space after the COVID-19 chapter.

Key Takeaways

  • The cost benefit analysis of soft cost expenses is more difficult to ascertain than hard cost but the impact can affect the bottom line.
  • Cloud desktops enable businesses to eliminate server hardware and related licensing costs.
  • Fees for cloud desktops are generally based on the number of users and resources consumed each month.

CFO Viewpoint: How Do Cloud Desktops Help Save Costs?

Many businesses face dilemmas determining which services are best maintained in-house versus those that should be subcontracted. Some decisions, such as a yard maintenance service, are straightforward, whereas decisions related to technology require careful business and technical consideration.

Looking at IT-related decisions from the standpoint of the CFO, financial viability and service advantages are key considerations that should be addressed alongside technical feasibility. As such, we shall review the costs associated with in-house IT systems and compare those with cloud desktops.

In-House: Hard Costs and Soft Costs

Hard costs are the primary consideration for CFOs; these include items such as employee/management costs, consulting, server hardware, asset financing, and licensing. Soft costs secondarily impact financial decisions, including employee productivity, competitive advantage, and flexibility.

DaaS providers maintains all computing systems, all costs associated with procuring server hardware and related network equipment, including licensing, are eliminated.

Paying for the right people, systems, and equipment affects the bottom line. Where an in-house computing solution is deployed, paying the salaries of high-level IT staff, including security experts, may be financially prohibitive. Further, recruiting fees, employee benefits, and staff training must be factored into total costs. In addition, the costs associated with the computing systems, including server hardware, network equipment, service agreements, and data center space, power, and services, as well as operating system and application licensing, have a profound impact on the IT budget. Hard costs are straightforward and easy to calculate.

Although soft costs are more difficult to quantify, these items do indeed impact every business. Will an IT-related expenditure enable the business to compete more effectively or gain an advantage in the market? Will employee productivity increase due to a new application or a new computing process? Will system flexibility enable more employees to work from home, saving real estate space? The cost/benefit analysis of these items is more difficult to ascertain than hard cost expenditures, but the impact can indeed affect the bottom line.

Small businesses in particular struggle with maintaining end-user computing services. For example, hiring a security expert is cost prohibitive for a small business, but yet, leaving the IT systems vulnerable and falling prey to hackers could destroy the enterprise.

Cloud Desktops

Adopting cloud desktops is particularly appealing for small businesses; however, many medium-sized enterprises also find this technology advantageous. In addition to minimizing hard costs, engaging a Desktop as a Service (DaaS) provider delivers additional functionality that would likely be otherwise out of reach for in-house systems.

Cloud desktops enable businesses to eliminate server hardware and related licensing costs entirely. Because the DaaS provider maintains all computing systems, all costs associated with procuring server hardware and related network equipment, including licensing, are eliminated. For example, if an in-house system is dependent upon large servers that support hypervisor functionality, these costs, as well as related network equipment, would no longer be necessary. In addition, the in-house staff needed to support cloud desktop administration is minimal. The savings related to hard costs alone is typically enough to justify cloud computing. And there are many additional benefits.

DaaS providers take responsibility for support desk associates, system maintenance, and security. This includes not only the IT staff, but also change control systems, help desk ticket applications, after-hours anti-virus updates, backup/restore processes, system reliability commitments, and more. The service level that DaaS providers offer is often far superior to that which a small- or medium-sized enterprise can provide in-house.

Fees for cloud desktops are generally based on the number of users and resources consumed each month. DaaS providers are able to offer services based on a mass scale, and the cost is thus more reasonable for each enterprise. For example, DaaS providers are able to employ security experts that oversee the resources of a large number of clients, thus the salaries, benefits, and training costs for this expert group are a fraction for each enterprise and built into the charges. Small and many medium-sized businesses cannot afford to have this breadth of staff expertise.

If a major issue were to arise, such as a security or application access issue, DaaS providers have sufficient staff to address an issue quickly. Once a Priority 1 (P1) status is declared–implying an emergency situation wherein many users cannot access resources–numerous individual with various areas of expertise s are assembled to focus on remediating the problem in short order, as well as communicating status with the client.

Compare that with an in-house system that relies on calling technical support or a consultant in order to determine where an issue lies and then working through remediation. The cost for these emergency services from the DaaS provider is included in the monthly fees and actually represents a cost savings because downtime is minimized. Because downtime equates to lost revenue within every enterprise, having a group of technical experts immediately available ensures that service impact is minimal.

How Do Cloud Desktops Save Costs?

While the exact numbers for each enterprise will vary, cloud desktops invariably represent a cost savings, especially for small businesses. Hard costs alone will likely justify the financial aspects of cloud desktops. Of course, each CFO should calculate the current hard and soft costs in order to determine specific savings that can be realized by adopting cloud desktops.

Key Takeaways

  • In order to move a VM from AWS to Azure, you have to migrate two main components – the virtual machine and configuration data
  • Three key tools that can assist in moving virtual desktops from AWS to Azure – Azure Migrate, FSLogix, Dynamic Environment Manager
  • If your virtual desktops contain complex configurations, expertise is necessary to implement the migration approaches

One of the many advantages of hosted virtual desktops in the cloud is that doing so maximizes the flexibility of your desktop infrastructure. Not only can you easily modify the configurations of the virtual machines that host your desktops, but you can even move the virtual desktops to a new cloud platform if desired — a change that may be advantageous if the other cloud offers lower costs or better performance, for example.

This article explains three approaches for efficiently migrating VMs that host virtual desktops from Amazon Web Services (AWS) to Azure.

Basics of AWS-to-Azure VM migration

In order to move a VM from AWS to Azure, you have to migrate two main components:

  • The virtual machine, which includes an operating system and any applications that you’ve installed on it.
  • Configuration data for the virtual machine and any applications or user accounts associated with it. Most of this data is typically stored inside the virtual machine, although as we’ll see below, it’s possible to export it in order to simplify migration.

Three tools for VM migration

There are three key tools that can assist in moving virtual desktops from AWS to Azure. These tools are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Depending on your needs, you may choose to use just one tool, or more than one at the same time.

Three tools for AWS to Azure Migration

Three tools for AWS to Azure Migration

Azure Migrate

Microsoft provides a tool called Azure Migrate to help users move a variety of different workloads into the Azure cloud from other clouds (as well as from on-premises data centers). Azure Migrate automatically assesses virtual machines hosted on other platforms and builds equivalent VM configurations that can be deployed on Azure.

To prepare to migrate virtual machines from AWS, Azure Migrate requires that you first install a special appliance (called a replication appliance) in your AWS environment. You also have to install an agent on each AWS VM that you want to migrate. For full details, refer to Microsoft’s documentation on moving VMs from AWS to Azure using Azure Migrate.

Azure Migrate Architectural diagram

Azure Migrate Architectural components – Microsoft

Once these tools are set up, Azure Migrate will analyze your AWS VMs and make recommendations for setting up an equivalent set of VMs in Azure. It also attempts to detect the necessary network settings for the VMs based on the configuration you have in AWS.

After reviewing the tool’s configuration recommendations and making any desired changes, you can start the migration process. Azure Migrate will then automatically move your VM images and data from AWS.

Azure Migrate is a powerful tool, but it doesn’t always replicate every part of every VM perfectly. It is able to recreate persistent VMs perfectly, but in the case of non-persistent VMs, you will need to capture the profile data separately and apply it manually after the migration.

The 8 Key Challenges of Data Center Migration

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FSLogix

FSLogix, which was formerly an independent platform but was acquired by Microsoft in 2018, is a set of tools that make it possible to export user and configuration data from a Windows-based desktop environment to a file share (called a “container” by FSLogix) that is accessible from the network.

FSLogix Architecture diagram

FSLogix Architecture diagram – Microsoft

Teams performing a migration between one cloud and another can use FSLogix to convert a local profile from a given VM into an FSLogix container, then apply the profile to a different VM running in a different cloud. They would need to set up new VM instances in the target cloud separately (and for that, a solution like Azure Migrate is useful), but FSLogix makes the migration of user data a smooth process.

The major drawback of FSLogix is that it only supports Windows, not Linux — although given that most virtual desktops are Windows-based, this is unlikely to be an issue for most users.

Migrating virtual desktops between clouds requires some effort, but the process is easy to automate and scale.

VMware Dynamic Environment Manager

VMware’s Dynamic Environment Manager (DEM) tool, which was formerly called User Environment Manager (UEM), is similar to FSLogix in that it makes it possible to store configuration data independently from virtual machines and import it into VMs when desired.

That said, DEM is not an alternative to or replacement for FSLogix as much as it is a complement to it. DEM can handle a wider array of settings data than FSLogix, which is designed mostly for managing configuration data related to user accounts and certain major Microsoft applications.

VMware Dynamic Environment Manager Infrastructure

VMware Dynamic Environment Manager Infrastructure – VMware

Note that businesses need to purchase a separate license for DEM unless they are already using VMware Horizon (on which DEM is supported by default).

As a rule of thumb, FSLogix makes most sense as the basis for your migration if you don’t need extensive control over configuration options during the migration. On the other hand, DEM provides more configuration options, and is generally more dynamic and flexible.

Keep in mind that you can use FSLogix and DEM at the same time, relying on each tool to handle different parts of your configuration data migration.

DEM supports both Linux and Windows VMs.

Virtual desktop migration with Anunta

A variety of tools exist to help migrate virtual desktops from one cloud to another. But the tools can be complicated to use, especially if your virtual desktops contain complex configurations.

Anunta, which has been providing managed windows virtual desktop services for over a decade, has the expertise necessary to ensure a smooth and efficient migration process for virtual desktops between any cloud platforms. Anunta’s team can implement any of the migration approaches described above, as well as others that may make more sense if your virtual desktops are hosted on a specific platform (such as Citrix).

For expert help on planning and carrying out your virtual desktop migration, contact Anunta.

Key Takeaways

  • Desktop Virtualization has a major impact on end-user computing.
  • Businesses look at EUC Services to revamp their operations and securely deliver applications to their workforce.
  • EUC Services offer many benefits including improved productivity, centralized IT management and better security.

The pandemic has transformed many things irreversibly. What was initially deemed to be a temporary disruption in work and business is now indicating that it will continue to stay. According to a recent report, Microsoft said that hybrid working models would be the future, looking at the findings and considerations of work trends over the past year.

Interestingly, the pandemic led to an expedition of digital transformation in organizations, and in some cases, even forced it to happen. Suddenly, companies that were delaying their plans of moving their workload to the cloud had to shift in a matter of days or weeks.

One aspect of digital transformation in the workplace that impacts end-user computing is desktop virtualization or centralized desktop infrastructure. This basically means the shift of end-user computing, applications, and storage to the cloud, allowing users to access these resources from a web browser. This is crucial because businesses are entrusting employees with high-performance EUC devices, which will require updates, patches, support, and replacement. And it seems more convenient and sensible to just let them access all the organization resources needed for work through secure, company authorized EUC services in the cloud.

The shifts to IT and EUC over the years

If we took a look back twenty years ago, end-user computing didn’t exist. During the time, users worked only with Windows Pcs and applications, and firms had desktop administrators for infrastructure management. However, today’s users work in heterogeneous environments and so, acknowledging end-user computing is necessary.

During the course of a day, modern users may be working with internal apps, virtual apps, SaaS web apps, or native mobile apps either through their Windows computer, or Mac, or iOS tablet. They could be working at the office, or home, or maybe connected to public Wi-Fi. There is a growing diversity of apps, devices, and work styles, and that’s what has made the changes in EUC over the years.

However, the major shifts to EUC happened only over the last decade. Web and SaaS apps became more feasible alternatives to Windows applications, and mobile devices made a rapid transition from just being portable email machines to devices that can replace computers or laptops for many tasks. Moreover, mobile devices have even become powerful enough to open up and support new business models.

One significant turning point was when end-users started adopting web and SaaS applications and mobile devices and bringing them to work. This reversed the old traditional way when IT was entirely in charge and led to the consumerization of IT. Although it caused chaos and security risks, it also paved the way for major technological leaps forward.

Another trend that eventually put IT in a different position than before was the mobile revolution, where end-users combined work and personal data on a single device. One of the advantages that mobile devices and SaaS apps brought to the table was resistance to many traditional forms of viruses and malware. But it also gave rise to some of the top security issues like phishing campaigns and stolen passwords in this new EUC world.

Considering the end-users, applications, data, devices, and security concerns, conditional access technologies can be improved to offer a common framework to deal with the heterogeneous EUC world over the next few years. Eventually, EUC deployments should also become unified and resilient.

Significance of EUC in the modern world

Whether it is the pandemic or the urge to hire the best talents, the work environment has changed drastically, irrespective of their locations. Businesses have to look for newer ways to survive, retain their success, and look for ways to grow. These pointers are prompting the organizations to recalibrate and revamp their operations. EUC services are one of the forerunners as one of the most successful application deliveries to a workforce, which is not hindered by geographical presence. The main benefits can be summarized as follows:

  • Productivity and collaboration: EUC is nothing but an umbrella term, covering all technologies like VDI and DaaS. Organizations can use these tools to deliver and manage desktops, data, and applications securely to all their end-users.
  • Enhance the power of automation: EUC services help automate most of the steps associated with computing the delivery of the resources. These services can improve efficiency and reduce the staff’s workload so that they can devote more of their time to other innovative projects.
  • Centralized management: Have you ever lent thought to how arduous managing the traditional IT infrastructure can be? There are hundreds and thousands of physical computers at the enterprise level, and managing all of these is an administrative nightmare. The EUC has a solution to this issue. Right from installing updates, applications, patches, and operating systems, that too all from a centralized location, is relatively easy now.
  • Supporting the BYOD concept: Many organizations nowadays prefer BYOD or Bring Your Own Device Policy. This policy helps in reducing a lot of IT expenses. Once these devices are delivered over the cloud as virtual desktops, we have to leave it over to the end-user computing services to provide the ideal technological platform.
  • Better security: When talking about cloud-based EUC infrastructure offered by third-party service providers, availing a better security profile becomes relatively easy. The data is not spread across multiple devices; instead, it is centrally located on cloud data centers.

The future of End-user Computing

The end user computing services have already proven critical in aiding businesses in sailing smoothly through the COVID-19 scenario. Suddenly, organizations had to shift to a remote working model. But now, they are also considering making the work from home model permanent even when the situations are favorable. Even before the pandemic, a huge percentage of the workforce worked from their homes, at least some days of the week. Looking at all these prospects, organizations will stick and adopt every service that will help them get the work done on every device and every network. Thus, the future of any productive workplace will be based on end-user computing.

FAQs

Why is end-user computing important?

The knowledge workers of today are highly mobile and prefer working across multiple devices in different environments. Additionally, they have also been accustomed to access everything instantly through the cloud on their mobile devices. Therefore, organizations have to focus on offering a high-performing EUC infrastructure to ensure their employees receive all the key applications and data they require.

What are the benefits of EUC?

Organizations today have a huge requirement for offering mobility and BYOD to end-users. With EUC, they can deliver that. Moreover, end-user computing services also present IT organizations with the ability to centralize desktops and data within the data center, thereby helping them to keep the data and resources secure. As a result, end-users can work on multiple devices from anywhere and any time they like.

What are the applications of EUC?

EUC can be used in organizations with a diverse physical presence so that access to desktops and other applications can be offered consistently. EUC solutions can be beneficial for organizations looking to improve the management of their software licensing and provide a centralized platform for all user desktops and applications.

What are end-user computing needs?

As more and more enterprises are moving their way of working to the cloud with the help of EUC transformation, some criteria have to be followed. The first need is to have a user-centric approach that will maximize the availability of the applications and increase workforce productivity. The pay-as-you model should be available as it will help in streamlining the way the companies can build, manage, deliver and configure the desktops to the users.

Key Takeaways

  • VDI and DaaS solutions help organizations shift towards a hybrid work environment while addressing the security, manageability, and infrastructure requirements.
  • According to Gartner, DaaS will likely see revenue growth of $1.9 billion by the end of 2021.
  • The benefits of DaaS and Cloud VDI in addition to the increasing demand for a cloud hosted desktop services build traction for the growth of DaaS.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of our life, right from the way we commute and work to the way we conduct business. While it still seems impossible to lay down a perfect prediction of how the steady-state outcome is going to be, one thing that we all can be sure of is that remote working will play a significant role in organizations going forward.

As several organizations are shifting out of the traditional confines of physical office space towards hybrid work ecosystems, it can be challenging to administer the security, manageability, and infrastructure requirements. Consequently, it makes more sense for business leaders to rely on End-User Computing (EUC) technologies to manage such environments. VDI and DaaS have come up as a solution to all the challenges that enterprises face while implementing or expanding work-from-anywhere solutions. VDI solutions are handled and maintained by the in-house staff, while DaaS is an entirely outsourced solution handled by a third-party vendor.

What is Cloud VDI?

DaaS (desktop-as-a-service) is also known as cloud VDI. Here, third-party providers create hosted virtual desktops on their cloud servers bundled with all the necessary pre-installed applications deployed on the customers’ end-point devices. DaaS or Desktop as a Service is a more pocket-friendly option for enterprises supporting remote workers and their need to access all the enterprise applications securely from anywhere. Besides, much of the burden is taken off as DaaS providers offer entirely managed desktops.

Over the past few years, several industries from medical, legal, accountancy, manufacturing, and other spaces have adopted DaaS and experienced significant growth as a result. In fact, from a Gartner’s report, we can see that DaaS will likely see revenue growth of $1.9 billion by the end of 2021 from its earlier valuation of $616 million in 2019.

VMware and Citrix are the big players in the market that make significant contributions to the VDI space. Many new companies have also joined the space, trying to deliver the best solutions to different industries. Usually, desktop-as-a-service providers partner with Citrix and VMware to offer completely managed or customized services to their clients.

Benefits of DaaS

Some of the main benefits of DaaS are:

Cost controlling: This has to be one of the most sought-after benefits of the model. The users will not have to invest in servers, licensing, or desktop hardware. DaaS ends the investment cycle associated with desktop hardware, servers, and licensing by allowing users to enroll for the yearly or monthly subscription models. This reduces capital expenditure which can be utilized for other value-added initiatives.

Agility and scalability: The dynamic nature of desktop as a service enables businesses and enterprises to scale up or down as and when required quickly. Depending on the needs of the business, users can choose to bring the hosted desktops online or push the newer applications through a hosted estate of desktops.

Continuity of business: The desktop is continuously available, along with centralized storage and backup of data making it an excellent alternative to the existing disaster recovery options. The companies can continue operating even when there is any unforeseen event or other disasters, like the current pandemic situation.

Flexibility and accessibility: With DaaS, employees can access their desktops, applications, and data over the Internet through any end device like laptops, PCs, smartphones, and tablets from anywhere and at any time. This offers employees greater flexibility and the freedom to structure their work times when they are most productive.

Security: DaaS takes over the real concerns regarding data security from the enterprises. Critical data is stored within a data center infrastructure and is regularly backed up in an environment with high levels of protection. As data isn’t stored on a local device, there is no chance of data loss. DaaS providers also ensure that the data is encrypted and is accessible through tight authentication protocols.

Cloud VDI: The Current and Future of Businesses

Cloud VDI is the current and future of businesses. To establish that, we can stress the following points.

  • Low utilization of resources: Cloud VDI is much better when it comes to pooling all resources to enhance the utilization of the devices and reduce costs.
  • Data security: Guaranteeing that the data on the PCs has an effective backup and can be immediately restored whenever there is any disaster or failure is the most significant differentiating factor of the cloud VDIs.
  • Desktop management: Cloud VDIs are capable of centralizing desktop management, although it is a complicated task. The desktop as a service provider takes it as a primary task to enhance on-demand access to the desktops from any place.

The need and demand for cloud-hosted desktop services are building traction and are expected to grow even more going forward. In fact, a survey titled “Are Desktops Doomed? Trends in Digital Workspaces, VDI and DaaS” conducted by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) supports the statement.

Some of the major findings of the survey include,

  • Security is among the top priorities for businesses and IT professionals, and 79% of the survey respondents believed that VDI and DaaS are more secure than the traditional desktop models.
  • 40% of respondents said that they are already working with VDI and have aggressive expansion plans. Besides, 60% of the organizations that don’t use VDI are already on the verge of implementing it.

Hosted virtual desktops sure look attractive and sensible primarily from a financial perspective. But the earlier predictions regarding the rapid growth of the DaaS market didn’t go as expected. That doesn’t mean that DaaS models won’t witness a rise in their popularity now. It’s just that there are a few hindrances to their adoption as large companies will still need time to convert to a DaaS model. On the other hand, companies that aren’t heavily invested in the traditional desktop infrastructure can easily migrate to DaaS. Hence, it might take a little longer for the DaaS market to match the hype.

FAQs

What is the future of VDI?

Considering the inception of VDI over a decade ago, it has made significant progress as a top desktop solution for several businesses. The traction can also be attributed to big giants like Citrix and VMware, who have successfully helped organizations eliminate their operational and performance challenges.

The VDI market is still evolving and trying to be aligned with the current market requirements like faster desktops with flash storage and high-end graphics processing.

Is DaaS the same as VDI?

VDI and DaaS have some clear-cut differentiating factors. In DaaS, applications and desktops are hosted either on a private or a public cloud, whereas in a VDI, the workspace is hosted on the private data center of an organization. DaaS is also quite flexible when it comes to deployment as geographical location does not matter, but in VDI, the data center has to be in the vicinity.

What is DaaS in cloud computing?

Desktop as a Service or DaaS is a virtual model of deployment of desktops in which the VDI technology gets hosted on a cloud. Organizations can deliver desktops with cloud hosting to their employees with the help of this model.

Is DaaS the future?

Undeniably, DaaS is the future. Many companies resort to permanent work-from-home models, and DaaS helps replicate the office hardware infrastructure and offers several other benefits.

Key Takeaways

  • Organizations’ response to change by adopting digital technologies helped them stay relevant and productive.
  • Some top digital workplace trends:
    • Increased need for decentralized technology services
    • Need for on-demand workforce and virtual collaboration between the employees
    • Hybrid working model as new normal

The pandemic forced enterprises across the world to shut their doors and have employees work remotely. It was a monumental change, and transition to remote working took effort for most businesses. But, many organizations realized that their response to change is what will help them stay relevant, improve their bottom line, and remain productive in this digital era.

As a result of this, some very apparent digital workplace trends in 2021 have emerged – these trends have been on the rise for a while now, but the pandemic has no doubt increased their adoption and importance.

So, what are the trends that businesses should be taking into account with regard to the digital workplace, going forward? Let’s discuss.

Top Digital Workplace Trends in 2021

Need for decentralized technology services increases

Digital workplaces are a lot more democratized, which means going forward, businesses will be relying less and less on a centralized IT team to handle their digital requirements. Instead, the top businesses right now are shifting to an end user computing model, which helps employees connect to virtual desktops from anywhere in the world.

Switching to virtualization technologies like these helps businesses reduce their expenses and efforts. While in the past IT personnel would have had to manually install updates and new software applications in each device, with end user computing, the changes can be deployed just on a central server to reflect in every desktop image.

Automation of routine work

The pandemic has accelerated the usage of algorithms to automate several routine operational activities, and this trend is only expected to grow in the future. Many enterprises have recently made the switch from physical desktops to virtualization technologies, which helps automate disaster recovery, security, and updates. In the past, these tasks would have required a mammoth effort from a dedicated IT team within the organization.

Digital dexterity takes centerstage

One of the key digital workplace market trends this year (and possibly what we will see in the future) has been how artificial intelligence is helping the digital dexterity of employees.

Business users already know how to perform familiar tasks like sending emails, creating documents, and storing data on the local drive, among other things. But, given how fast new systems are being adopted by companies, not everyone can figure out how to best use these technologies, causing employees a lot of stress.

What this ultimately results in is employees resorting to outdated tools and systems to solve novel issues. It’s safe to say that you can’t compete in this digital era by working in this fashion. But, that’s where artificial intelligence steps in. AI can do a lot to improve the digital dexterity of your employees with on-the-job learning. This has an impact on productivity and, in turn, corporate returns.

The need for on-demand workforce

Circumstances have made it such that remote work is a necessity for almost all organizations. While not all businesses were prepared for it, they had to embrace the change. Fortunately, technologies like end user computing allow businesses to sustain a remote, distributed workforce that goes beyond the boundaries of a traditional office setup.

With virtualization technologies, companies can hire the right employees and assemble talented teams in a matter of days. Gone are the days of spending weeks and months trying to find employees with the right skills and competencies. As on-demand workforces become the norm, companies around the world will also increasingly move towards solutions like virtual desktops.

Working beyond physical boundaries will become the norm

Given the impact of the pandemic, it’s likely that we will never go back to our pre-COVID working ways. Remote working has become one of the top digital trends in workplaces, and both organizations and employees have adapted to it.

While some businesses will adopt a completely remote working model, many others will implement a hybrid working model. Fortunately, with virtualization technologies like end user computing, your business can support remote workers, without any hassle or security concerns.

Virtual collaboration becomes more significant

Virtual collaboration is a key trend that has increased in significance over the years. There are software solutions available now that can practically replace all in-person interactions.

Through things like social forums and virtual meetings, your employees will never feel the need to have a watercooler catch-up or in-person meeting, provided you’ve invested in the right tools. Solutions like file-based collaboration and screen sharing enable employees to have fruitful discussions, share inputs, and come up with innovative ideas, in real-time, without being in the same room as each other.

Conclusion

Adopting digital technologies to enable a mobile workforce that can improve your bottom line is key. Fortunately, with our virtualization technologies, like DaaS, Managed Virtual Desktops, Digital Workspaces, and Cloud Transformation, you can be at the forefront of the ever-changing digital workplace service trends.

As a partner to leading industry OEMs like Microsoft, VMware, Citrix, AWS, and Google. Anunta offers managed virtual desktop solutions and digital workspace solutions. Premier organizations, across the banking, healthcare, finance, and other industries, are already using our services to scale their business. To know more about our offerings and how you can deploy virtualization technologies in your workplace, reach out to our experts today.

At first glance, the manufacturing industry may not appear as well positioned as other sectors to take full advantage of cloud services such as virtual desktops. Manufacturers tend to have highly complex and customized IT infrastructures that — to a greater degree than those in other industries — are tightly connected to physical factory equipment.

That means manufacturers cannot simply lift-and-shift IT resources into the cloud in the way that companies might in industries where IT infrastructure is not so tightly coupled with factories and other physical infrastructure.

Nonetheless, manufacturers stand to benefit from cloud services just as much as companies that operate in other industries. Indeed, many manufacturers have already made the jump to cloud-centric IT strategies, and those that have not will find it challenging to keep scaling and optimizing their IT estates.

Desktop infrastructure challenges for manufacturers

The typical manufacturing company faces several special challenges related to desktop infrastructure.

One is the need for ultra-reliable and responsive applications on the factory floor. When a PC hosting application that detects defective items within an assembly line goes down for even just a few minutes or takes longer than a second or two to scan items, the consequences can be far-reaching. Allowing defective items to move down the chain places the entire manufacturing operation at risk. To avoid issues like these, manufacturers must achieve levels of uptime and performance that exceed the standards of many other industries.

Integrating data from disparate systems to drive collaboration between stakeholders is another key challenge for manufacturing. To optimize operations, product designers and engineers must have continuous visibility into the state of the shop floor. But given the distributed nature of teams and the desktop infrastructure on which they rely, it can be difficult to design systems that avoid silos and make it easy for all stakeholders to collaborate over a shared platform.

A final major challenge is security. Manufacturers must guarantee the physical security of their IT infrastructure, which can be difficult when that infrastructure is spread across multiple manufacturing sites and cannot be neatly tucked inside a data centre, as it would be in most other industries. At the same time, the highly distributed and heterogeneous nature of manufacturing infrastructure makes it hard to apply across-the-board compliance and security rules to all desktop systems.

How manufacturers are leveraging the cloud

Manufacturers are already turning to the cloud to help meet these and other challenges associated with their IT infrastructure. Worldwide, around two-thirds of enterprises in this industry have adopted public or private cloud platforms of some kind, according to IDC.

The number is lower in India, where cloud adoption within manufacturing stands at around 22 percent. Nonetheless, that figure is expected to more than double over the coming decade.

It is easy to see why manufacturers are turning the cloud in increasing numbers. With SLA promises that routinely exceed 99 percent — and in many cases reach 99.999 percent or higher — public cloud services promise rates of availability that are difficult to match when working with on-premises infrastructure.

Why and How Manufacturers Are Embracing Cloud Desktops

At the same time, the unlimited scalability of the cloud ensures that workloads always have the resources they need to work at peak performance and process data quickly, even during periods of unexpectedly high demand.

The cloud also provides a central point of collaboration where all stakeholders can store, view, and share data with each other. Instead of devoting a different IT infrastructure to each team and awkwardly linking them together, manufacturers can leverage the cloud as a single platform that accommodates all IT needs for the business.

Security, too, becomes simpler when companies move away from on-prem infrastructure in favour of cloud services that do not require physical security management, and that also deliver a higher degree of uniformity — thereby making it easier to apply standardized security rules across them.

Use case example: Virtual desktop infrastructure for manufacturing

As an example of the cloud at work within manufacturing, consider a client that Anunta helped to transition away from conventional desktops into hosted virtual desktops. The company, which manufactures consumer products and has hundreds of locations spread across India, was struggling with its previous desktop infrastructure, which suffered downtime rates as high as 10 percent, poor security enforcement and frequent data loss, among other issues.

By moving the manufacturer to virtual desktop infrastructure, Anunta was able to achieve a dramatic improvement in availability, which now exceeds 99 percent. The rate of IT incidents has also dropped by nearly a factor of ten, and security and compliance have been standardized across the company’s desktop infrastructure.

The result is faster and more reliable manufacturing operations, with a much lower risk that problems with desktop infrastructure will disrupt the company’s ability to ensure that all stakeholders in the manufacturing process have access to the applications and data they need, when they need it. Read the complete success story here.

Conclusion: Cloud and the future of manufacturing

It may be unrealistic to expect most manufacturers to move all their infrastructure to the cloud. They will always need some IT resources located at manufacturing sites (which is one reason why hybrid cloud architectures, which allow businesses to combine on-premises resources with cloud services, have grown popular in this sector).

Overall, however, the cloud offers enormous promise to help manufacturers overcome the reliability, performance, security, and other challenges they face from their existing IT systems. Going forward, the cloud is poised to play an ever-greater role in enabling agility and scalability for manufacturing, just as it has across other industries.

Are you wondering what end user computing is all about? Over the last decade, end user computing (EUC) has changed the face of IT infrastructure. EUC works by providing users access to business data and applications at any time, from anywhere in the world. This is done by connecting to a virtual desktop infrastructure, through the end-user’s own device.

End user computing offers support for a number of user devices including desktops and laptops, thin-client terminal devices, tablets, and even smartphones! These devices, of course, can be provided by the business to their employees or the business could implement a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model, wherein employees can use their personal devices to connect to their virtual desktops. Regardless of the means that are used, the benefits for businesses are many, especially right now, given that the pandemic has forced many employees across the world to work remotely. Here’s all you need to know about this technology if you are considering making the switch to EUC.

Why Should Your Business Consider End User Computing?

If improving your bottom line, increasing business efficiency, and supporting mobility are goals for your business, you need to adopt EUC. From a security standpoint, it offers several benefits. For instance, you can be sure that sensitive data will never reside on your employee’s (or any other end user) device. Instead, the end user will need to connect to the application server to access their confidential data.

This means even if a device is damaged, stolen, or lost, you don’t have to worry about your data being compromised if you have deployed EUC.

EUC also frees up your employees, so they are able to work from anywhere and at any time. This solves a number of problems for businesses and for employees. Eventually, this will save your business time, effort, and money – resources that can be channeled elsewhere to improve your business profits.

Key Benefits of End User Computing

    1. Centralized Management: Managing a number of desktops is a daunting task for your IT personnel. Imagine having to update each workstation every time there is an OS update or new software application. It would take days, if not weeks, for a large, dedicated team of IT professionals to update multiple desktops. EUC solves this issue for you with centralized management. This makes it immeasurably easier for your IT personnel to manage your IT infrastructure. Not to mention EUC will also reduce the need for dedicated IT staff.

 

    1. Bring Your Own Device Support: Traditionally, organizations of all sizes and industries provide devices to employees. While this may have sufficed in the past, it is no longer the case in the digital era. Employees, today, want the freedom to use their own devices for business tasks, especially if that means they will have the opportunity to work from anywhere.

 

    1. Secure Environment: Another key benefit is the enhanced security offered by EUC. Anunta’s end user computing technology will allow your employees to access business data and applications, without storing anything on their devices. You can further control this access using authorization technologies and modern authentication. Given how important it is to avoid data breaches or intentional cyber attacks, it acts as a safeguard against security threats and malware.

 

  1. Supports Business Mobility: While the pandemic has now forced scores of companies across the globe to migrate to a remote working style, there has always been a need for mobility – that is for employees to be able to work from any location remotely. Given the current state of affairs, the need for mobility is only going to increase. If you go the traditional route, this puts a lot of pressure on your resources and IT personnel since you will have to support all your employees with company-owned laptops and other e-devices that they can access from remote locations. That’s why switching to end user computing right now is a wise choice. With EUC, you can ensure that your employees are able to use their own devices to connect to virtual desktops, irrespective of where they are or whether they have organization-provided devices to work from.

Conclusion

Now that you know what end user computing services are, you know this technology provides a range of benefits. It may, of course, require some operational changes along different stages, starting from design to deployment. But, given its long-term benefits and the fact that it may just be the default computing model in the very near future, it’s essential to make the switch.

That’s where we come in. With our EUC solutions, we help your employees collaborate in real-time, in the most secure manner, helping you scale your business and giving your employees the opportunity to thrive in this remote working era. Our partnerships with some of the largest OEMs including VMware, Microsoft, Citrix, AWS and Google cloud, and helps us offer solutions that will benefit businesses in all sectors, be it healthcare, banking, finance, or anything else. To know more about our offerings and how our end user computing solutions can help your business, schedule a consultation with our experts at Anunta Tech today.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure or VDI is a form of desktop virtualization, where desktop environments are hosted on a central server. This technology allows for several desktop images to run within a virtual machine – these are then delivered to the end-user via a network. The endpoints could be devices like PCs, tablets, smartphones, or thin client terminals. In this post, we will focus on Top 10 benefits of VDI.

  1. Centralized, simplified management: One of the biggest advantages is that everything is essentially managed in a central location. This means end-users are not required to hand over their devices and wait for updates to be installed. Instead, new versions of the OS or applications can simply be deployed to the central desktop image and this can then be managed on several end-user devices.
  2. Accessibility: One of the key end user benefits is that employees can access their virtual desktop image using devices like laptops, smartphones, and mobiles. Also, due to the unique capabilities of VDI, end users can access software solutions that they may not have had access to in the past.
  3. Flexibility: It can help enterprises become a lot more agile. With VDI, businesses can quickly get access to new VMs for temp or seasonal employees, consultants, and for development and testing purposes.
  4. Workforce mobility: This might, by far, be the most obvious advantage of deploying VDI. Given that the desktops are hosted virtually, end-users can access them from anywhere in the world, on pretty much any device, provided they have internet connectivity. This typically results in increased flexibility for both employees and businesses. For employees, this will mean increased morale and productivity. And businesses will also be able to employ a diverse workforce that is not restricted by location, thanks to virtualization technologies.
  5. BYOD: Since virtual desktops are essentially hosted on a central server in a remote location, the device that the end user chooses to connect to the network to access the virtual desktop is of no consequence. Thus, users can essentially use any device they like to access their virtual desktop. Given that the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend has seen a major uptick among organizations, it is expected that businesses, going forward, will only want more and more of their employees to use their personal devices to connect to the network (for at least one or a few applications).
  6. Increased productivity: One rather overarching benefit of VDI is that it improves the productivity of your employees by offering an enhanced work experience with remote access to desktops, increased security, no downtime due to IT maintenance and upgrades, and more. Virtual desktops help your business operations become more agile, lean, and efficient, while employee efforts and abilities become more focused and flexible. You can ensure that your employees are able to maintain their productivity even in case of a disaster. This type of productivity is invaluable to any business over a period of time.
  7. Cost efficiency: If the server setup is already present, VDI comes at a minimal cost. Even if businesses need to foot an initial cost to deploy VDI, the long-term savings it offers is significant. In other words, VDI is a positive investment and can bring you substantial returns over time. This is because when you deploy virtualization technologies, you will need to rely less on desktop computers that have expensive software and licenses. Further, with a traditional set up, in case maintenance is required, it will take the IT team a significant amount of time to perform the necessary updates on every single machine – this time and effort output can be reduced to a minimum with VDI.
  8. Decreased security risks: The security benefits cannot be overstated. As organizations expand, maintaining digital security remains essential. After all, a single data breach or cyber attack can cost a business millions in damages and, more importantly, its reputation. Given this, preventive measures are certainly not optional. If you want to ensure the success of your business, employing the right preventive measures is crucial.

    The virtual environment plays an important part in making your IT infrastructure more secure. Since all the data is located in a central system, you can protect it better than you would be able to if it was in your employees’ devices. Thus, helps you keep your data in the right hands. With this, you can prevent accidental data breaches and intentional cyber-attacks.

  9. Better disaster recovery: Another important benefit of VDI is that it keeps your data safe and backed up at all times. Disaster recovery is an important aspect of IT management. Companies that don’t have a disaster recovery plan are impacted negatively when their data is lost. Of course, virtualization is not the only step you should employ, but it will help significantly.
  10. Centralized troubleshooting: If your end users experience any issues, VDI allows for immediate troubleshooting solving the issue for all systems at once. Since IT departments are continuously on the lookout for ways to perform their operation with a leaner budget and less time, the centralized troubleshooting capability is key.

Conclusion

The many benefits of VDI make it apparent that deploying the technology for your business can be extremely beneficial. That explains why businesses across the healthcare, banking, finance, and other sectors are choosing to make the switch to VDI. But, switching to a holistic virtual environment is a process, and that is precisely why you need a trusted, credible partner.

At Anunta, we have over a decade’s worth of experience in deploying virtual desktop infrastructure solutions for businesses across the globe. With our trusted OEM partners, including Citrix, VMware, Microsoft, AWS and Google Cloud, we offer businesses a smooth transition to virtualization technologies. If you want to know more about how to implement VDI or would like to better understand our offerings, you can reach out to our experts at Anunta today!

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