The more people I speak with, the more I continue to be amazed at the ideas that are coming out around how different organizations are looking to leverage the cloud for achieving greater flexibility and cost savings to their business. The impact is truly amazing and I’m already anxious to see where these initial steps lead us as we watch an increasing number of actual cloud infrastructures go up and enterprises adopt them at scale.

However, as we’ve discussed these transitions whether it be through the use of SaaS, IaaS, or even just bringing an application to leverage the Enterprise Web via the private cloud instead of client/server, the challenge that repeatedly comes up is that of seamlessness. Different clouds, different applications, different deployments, different impacts to the applications. These differences are felt both operationally from a networking point of view as well as an end user point of view. In short, we’re trading the gains in infrastructure efficiency at the expense of usability and security.

The cost savings equation starts getting shaky right about here. How much are you going to save if there are quite literally 4-5 different ways your end users can start applications?

We’ve heard from people that insist that solutions to these kinds of problems are just over the horizon, however the problem with the horizon is that no matter how many steps you take, it still doesn’t get any closer. Fortunately, the folks over in the Desktop team have been dealing with this problem for desktop applications for years and have a powerful set of tools around Receiver to help.

Receiver is a client based tool that is available for a significant number of platforms such as PCs and Macs, but most notably for the iPad and a variety of Android based devices. With the Receiver, users quite literally get integration to whatever applications they have access to on the desktop, even if some of the applications live in San Francisco and others live in a Berlin. From the end user’s perspective, it’s all the same because it’s just an icon on their desktop.

By working closely with the Receiver team, we have finally extended it’s capabilities to include SaaS, IaaS, and Enterprise Web applications using our newly announced OpenCloud Access technology. These enterprise and cloud applications are now part of the Receiver application list complete with on-the-fly provisioning driven by the end user and managed by administrator defined workflows. For the end user, Salesforce is just another icon next to SAP and Microsoft Word. Click and start. No additional passwords. No having to know whether it is part of the company or part of a SaaS application. No having to know whether you have access to it.

The practical impact is significant -- users get seamless access to all applications. Administrators can control access. End users can easily ask for access to applications without any complex and tedious process. Applications are automatically signed into just by starting them.

In other words, instead of trying to figure out how to bring the users to the clouds, we’ve kept it simple and brought the clouds to the desktop.