Windows Cloud Desktop
Windows Cloud Desktops have been around since the last century running on a Windows Cloud Server. What started as Terminal Services, a partnership between Citrix and Microsoft to deliver Windows Cloud Desktops from their server product starting with Windows Server 2000. Desktop Anywhere sure saw the potential and was soon a leader in this style of windows cloud desktop services.
While an awesome product for turning on its head to deliver Cloud Desktops in Windows style from a cloud-based server, the partnership was short-lived. Microsoft and Citrix both took the source code and went in different directions. Both did well, but Microsoft had the server product itself and went with it.
Microsoft 2003 server was a great improvement and Windows Cloud Desktop implementations continued to grow. It had been possible for a long time to “remotely access” your Windows Desktop to the Cloud, the server product was a different thing altogether. Rather than administer corporate desktops on individual PCs, administrators could create a single server installation and each User created would have their own desktop configuration.
However, these Windows Cloud Desktops were limited in configuration. Administrator rights were required to make many kinds of updates. While users squawked, the administrators of these servers should have known that was a good sign. Users had more access to the company computer but were limited in the havoc they could wreak in security breaches, illicit activities and the like.
A huge opportunity was missed and many organizations paid the price. A Windows Server delivering Windows Cloud Desktops was, and still is, a great way to keep users computers on the company business in a secure and accessible fashion. With new releases coming every few years like Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Microsoft Windows Server 2012, Microsoft Windows Server 2016 and beyond, Windows Cloud Desktops are here to stay.
Now, the personal versions of Windows Software such as Windows 7, Windows 8 and even the discontinued Windows XP installations can be accessed as Windows Cloud Desktops. The model required is different because you actually use your PC installation of the Cloud Server for the Desktop. Of course, this means leaving it the computer on, configuring the PC, firewall and then using some web or software service as the client to access your Windows Desktop over the cloud. Delivering the same Windows PC directly from the cloud is restricted by Microsoft from being used on such services by the license agreement. So, spinning up one on Amazon’s Web Services doesn’t appear to be legal. If anyone knows how to do this, please drop an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.