Before focusing on the business value of cloud-native desktops (and applications), let’s take a quick review of cloud-native technology.
What is Cloud-Native?
The term “cloud-native” describes an operational concept for developing, deploying, and running apps on cloud computing systems. In essence, cloud-native software is built to run on the cloud, leveraging its scalability, flexibility, and resilience at all times. The most common examples of cloud-native software are dev tooling essentials such as containers, microservices, APIs, etc.
Running applications and desktops on the public and private cloud offer a few revolutionary advantages:
- cutting down operational costs and human effort,
- faster scaling, and
- flexible pricing based on usage.
Cloud-native applications are built as clusters of independent, loosely attached services. Generally, they tend to be smaller in size and are built for easier development, deployment, and iteration. Since these apps are architected for maximum compatibility with cloud computing models, they can, by their nature, offer faster load speeds, flexibility of access & usage as well as a better end-user experience.
A cloud-native architecture takes the concept of web apps and applies it to your entire desktop experience.
Imagine what you see when you switch on your laptop or desktop. You stream all of that - the desktop and applications – the same way you’d stream a movie. However, there’s a major difference – you can interact with, modify, adjust and work with the stream.
Suggested read - Application streaming: Where it has taken us
That entire home screen, along with all the applications installed on your device, can be accessed via your browser as a cloud-native desktop. In other words, instead of downloading and installing applications and files on your device’s local memory, you do so on the cloud.
We’ll be diving into the advantages, especially the business-facing advantages of cloud-native apps and desktops in this article. But a specific key advantage deserves mention here.
When you’re running a cloud-native desktop, the processing and operational load required is entirely undertaken by a remote server - the one that is streaming your browser-based desktop.
Your own device only has to take care of running a single browser, and you can access the most updated OS and apps on the market. As an example, you can run resource-heavy design and dev tools (Figma, VSCode, etc.) on a Chromebook without any lag, since the applications are no longer dependent on the Chromebook’s technical abilities to perform at optimal levels.
The Limitations of Traditional Apps (and Desktops)
By virtue of their design, cloud-native applications generally perform better at delivering business value. Compared to their cloud-native counterparts, traditional applications have a larger and more complex code base. They are also completely dependent on the processing capability of the device running the – hardware, software, OS, and support features.
For example, an app designed for Windows 11 will have a fairly hard time running on older versions of the OS, since the application’s functioning largely depends on the advanced abilities of the OS itself. This imposes limitations on the app’s usability since it can only be fully leveraged by specific device configurations.
This restricts scalability and adaptation to changing technologies. Consider an employer who wants all existing employees to install and utilize a new project management tool with proven benefits; they must first consider employees’ device capabilities. If the tool is designed to work best on a newer OS (Windows 11, macOS 12 Monterey) and 40% of employees are still on older OS versions, they will either be unable to use the tool or use it in a depleted capacity due to incompatibility with the target OS and device.
Traditional apps and desktops need IT teams to constantly update devices across employee pools, which can incur significant expenses for any business. Additionally, onboarding new employees take longer since company-approved devices have to be purchased and sent across locations (for remote/distributed teams), which takes time and more expenditure.
Now that we’re aware of the operational gaps encountered with traditional tech architectures, let’s explore how these gaps are addressed and remediated with cloud-native software ecosystems.
How cloud-native desktops contribute to business growth
Device and platform-agnostic performance
As mentioned above, cloud-native desktops make it easy to run resource-consuming apps even if the underlying device does not have RAM and memory juice to do so. All processing required to run and stream the cloud-based desktop is run on a separate machine, while the end-users machine just has to run a regular browser.
Suggested read - The Curious Case of Chrome's Memory Consumption - Neverinstall it
Without browsers, apps, and files slowing down a user’s system, IT does not have to deal with frequent support, replacement, and update requests for aging machines - preventing lag, productivity drops, or employee dissatisfaction with work tech.
Reduced maintenance costs
If users’ devices don’t suffer the wear and tear of running heavy applications, they last longer and encounter fewer issues. This cuts down on the usual costs associated with IT maintenance - support costs, security implementation, lag, slower functioning, etc. Additionally, certain issues may require the user to take the device to a support center or ship it to their employer - further expenditure of unproductive time, money, and effort.
IT teams simply have to manage the cloud-native desktop from a centralized dashboard. They can trigger necessary updates for performance and security, monitor for vulnerabilities, and address any user issues remotely.
When working with distributed teams, IT teams have to manage and secure multiple (hundreds or thousands, in some cases) endpoints operating across several locations. Since they no longer have immediate access to all devices in a single office, IT must deal with the constant threat of data theft, unauthorized exposure, device loss, or misplacement.
Suggested read - For your eyes only: Data Privacy with Neverinstall
Cloud-native desktops store all data on remote servers, eliminating these concerns. No data is stored on employee devices, thus minimizing the possibility of device loss leading to data loss. Anytime a device is lost or stolen, IT can remotely lock access to the company’s cloud desktop and reliably secure business data.
Consistently improved productivity
Cloud-native desktops let you seamlessly work with apps that your actual device may not be equipped to run. As long as the device can support a browser, employees can use industry-best software, regardless of device health.
Companies no longer have to deal with sub-optimal productivity caused by outdated technology. Employees, too, do not have to resort to using unapproved tools to get work done, reducing the likelihood of shadowing IT.
Ease of access
Employees are not dependent on company-issue devices to accomplish their tasks. They can use any device as long as they have access credentials for the company’s cloud-native workspace. No need to transfer files, align with security protocols or worry about cleaning the device after work is completed. They just log in through a browser and start working.
Significantly greater ROI
Cloud-native desktops ensure that your employees can effortlessly use resource-intensive applications, such as ones often required by developers and designers. IDEs and design tools tend to make high demands on a device’s processing capabilities, making them unsuitable for hardware on the lower end of the capability spectrum. Trying to run Figma on a regular tablet would probably lead to major lag and a system crash, preventing users from driving their best possible output.
Cloud-native apps run on remote servers equipped to execute and stream all functions with very little contribution from the local device. Businesses no longer have to worry if their employee devices have sufficient RAM or GPUs to process necessary software since all operational overhead is solely undertaken by the cloud.
Easier employee onboarding
A cloud-native workspace can be initiated, customized, and set up in minutes. New employees no longer have to wait for a company-issued device to reach them before onboarding begins. Even the onboarding process becomes simpler, as the employee does not need to report device status, download organization-approved antivirus, or set up anything at all.
The employee just needs a working computer and a fast enough internet connection. Once your IT team gives them the cloud-desktop login credentials, they can immediately get started.
Bear in mind that easier onboarding also allows businesses to hire people from any internet-enabled location across the world. You can pick from a wider talent pool, and no longer have to turn down talented individuals simply because they live too far away from the office.
Superior customer experience
On account of its scalability, flexibility, and resilience, application development is far easier on the cloud. As part of modern CI/CD pipelines, cloud-native tools such as containers and testing infra play a central role in building, testing, and deploying high-quality software, fast. Better products result in better customer experiences, boosting brand value and customer trust.
However, cloud-native desktops, such as the ones provided by Neverinstall, also help with boosting customer experience in non-development contexts. For example, collaborative browsing lets customer service folks directly observe a customer on their user journey, see the problem occur in real time, and accelerate resolution - all without screen sharing.
Leverage business-ready cloud-native desktops on Neverinstall
Leveraging high-functioning, low-latency cloud-native desktops has never been easier than it is with Neverinstall. Here’s a quick glimpse of what you get when you sign up as a Neverinstall user:
- A fully-functional browser-based Linux OS that can be accessed and used via any device with an internet connection.
- Our desktop experience has also been optimized for mobile device users. All Neverinstall workspaces are designed to run effectively on mobile phones. The platform offers responsive design, equipping it to render in different display modes. We also offer single-touch and multi-touch interactions across device classes. A virtual keyboard is also available.
- Fully customizable desktops that come with popular pre-installed and pre-configured applications (Figma, Slack, VSCode, Android Studio, Discord & more). No limitations or reductions in in-app features.
- The ability to select required apps before launching a workspace. For example, if you need Obsidian, VSCode, Chrome, and Spotify, you just select them, launch a workspace, and said apps are installed and prepped for use by the server itself. No effort is required by the user.
- The cloud desktop streams in alignment with the maximum network bandwidth available to a user. Users can launch workspaces through servers in the US and Europe, allowing them to leverage high-speed internet, irrespective of their location.
- A low-latency desktop experience, facilitated by the WebRTC streaming protocol.
- Easy, lag-free use of input devices such as keyboards and mice.
- An expanding server network perpetually strives to minimize operational latency. Currently, Neverinstall has server clusters in the US, England, Singapore, and India. Upcoming servers will cover Japan, Australia, Finland, Spain, The Netherlands, and more locations in the US.
By detaching application and desktop performance from the underlying device and OS, cloud-native desktops have brought about a paradigm shift in how we (individual users and organizations) think of work, technology, and productivity.
The advantages discussed above should make the case for switching from monolith, on-premise architectures to their more reliable, flexible, and manageable cloud-based counterpart. At the heart of this switch lies freedom - the freedom from work from any location, on any device, without worrying about data access, theft, or loss.
In the long-run, cloud-native desktops make life easier for employees, IT teams, management, and investors alike. Better functionality, security, and scalability at a fraction of the price of purchasing and securing employee devices each year - what’s not to like?
Experience browser-based computing with Neverinstall and offload your heavy-duty applications to the cloud. Sign up today!
Author: Shreya Bose
Shreya is a seasoned tech writer. Apart from technology, she has written about healthcare, heavy metal, alcohol, and coffee. When she is not writing, she is reading, drinking tea, and waiting for naptime.