Cirrus launches new DaaS service with Desktone to Extend life of PCs

A Bermuda start-up tech firm is introducing a new cloud-based service that its founders say will extend the life of desktop computers by several years.

Kelland Hayward and Terrance Dean, two of the four founding partners of Cirrus Dynamics, say their service can save organisations 25 percent to 35 percent over physical desktop environment costs.

The young company has teamed up with Desktone Inc to to offer Desktops as a Service (DaaS) for the first time on the Island. The two Bermudians say they have already had an enthusiastic response from prospective clients they have visited, from schools to local and international businesses.

DaaS allows users to have cloud-hosted desktop infrastructure, which effectively means that the processing work happens in the Cirrus data centre rather than inside the computer, thereby considerably extending the life of a PC.

This, says Cirrus’s founders, will help organisations to eliminate the “rip and replace PC cycle” that requires companies to make periodic, painful capital outlays to buy a whole new batch of machines. The concept has already met with great enthusiasm from schools seeking to make their budgets go further and from businesses seeking cost efficiencies.

The service, for which Cirrus charges a price starting at $1 per day, per desktop, has an added advantage of allowing remote access capability. It also has web-based management tools that enable IT professionals to manage the virtual desktop environment remotely.

It is technology independent, meaning it works with whatever software the user wants to use, on whatever computing device.

In a demonstration, Cirrus illustrated how the DaaS system could allow the use of Microsoft Office software on an Apple iPad, for example.

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, in which shared resources, such as software and information, can be tapped into by computers and other devices, much like an electricity grid.

With data securely stored in Cirrus’s data centres, PCs using DaaS do not get cluttered. There is an added security advantage in that when someone accesses the company network remotely and works on a laptop or mobile device, when they switch off, none of their work is stored on the machine itself. Thus a lost or stolen laptop would not be carrying valuable data.

Mr Dean said he and Mr Hayward found the DaaS product attractive in that it could offer clients, whether large scale or small, multiple benefits that no other product on the market could match. DaaS can be used for anything between 20 and 200,000 units and is claimed to offer savings of 10 to 15 percent over internal virtual desktop interface (VDI) deployments.

When they approached Desktone to propose partnering the US company, they could have been forgiven for having an inferiority complex. Desktone’s partners include corporate giants such as Bank of America, Verizon, Infosys and IBM.

“We called them up and they said we don’t really deal with small companies, but let’s set up a meeting’,” Mr Dean recalled. “So we showed up and they were impressed with our grasp of the technology. They were satisfied that we had the technical expertise to deal with this, so they took us on.”

Cirrus started out its operations in Montreal, where it established a data centre, as the firm targeted the north-eastern Canadian market. The company has since built a data centre in Bermuda in preparation for entering their home market.

Mr Dean and Mr Hayward used to work together at international law firm Conyers Dill & Pearman, as did the other two partners in Cirrus, who are based in South Africa and New Zealand respectively.

Mr Hayward said that one of the appealing things about the DaaS was the ease of getting established on the system.

“Companies who do this internally have to buy the servers and hope it all works,” he said. “And you don’t have the management piece which we bring to the table.

“We come with a complete, out-of-the-box solution. You don’t have to buy infrastructure so there’s no capital expenditure. It’s only operational expenditure from the start.”

Apart from the savings on desktop replacement, Cirrus says users can benefit from the minimising of software licence costs, through the ability to assign pools of desktops to changing groups of users, regardless of location.

There is also the option to replace ailing PCs with “thin clients”, a small device with no moving parts or hard drive that is claimed to achieve energy savings of 60 to 80 percent.

Read this article in The Royal Gazette

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