Advice: Having a Windows 7 OS in the Cloud

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symba06

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Hi Everyone!


Hopefully this is the right place for this question. I'm an experienced PC user but only now I'm starting to wrap my head around Cloud services and solutions.


I work as a Mechanical Engineer, and I rely on a lot of high-end engineering applications to perform my work. These applications also require a lot of resources, like fast processors and big chunks of data.


What I'm looking for now is a solution that allows me to my whole Windows 7 OS as it is (installed apps, current settings, current data) through the internet. Meaning, if my computer eventually breaks down or was lost or stolen, I'm able to access my OS immediately through a Cloud / VPS service / Virtual Machine, and can carry on the work like nothing happened.


Are there solutions like this, and if yes, what would you recommend? And most importantly, are these solutions safe?
 

Fireflycph

Morten
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I've never heard of a OS being stored and being accessible in the "Cloud" I've heard of apps and data running from "cloud" as in some kind of virtual machine. But that'll still require hardware and an internet connection. Plus you need to find a service that offers the exact apps that you need. I think that'll be hard to find for more specialized apps.

However, there are many backup solutions that are capable of taking a "Snapshot" of your drive(s) and storing those either on some external media or in the Cloud.. The caveat to using those are that if your system is lost. stolen or just plain fails, you'll need the exact same hardware to restore it on. Especially the same motherboard. Each motherboard, model, requires its own drivers to run. Some boards from Intel, and I'm sure that goes for other manufacturers as well, can startup using drivers for another board. But even if you got it up and running you'll still need to download and install the correct drivers. After de-installing everything that was specific to the old board.

I hope this helped a little. I may not have been able to explain it very well?
 

zx10guy

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What you're looking for is some sort of VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) service. VDI allows you to have a central server run the OS and applications and you connect in with a lightweight/dumb terminal which only exchanges keyboard/mouse inputs and graphics. Corporations are seriously looking into VDI solutions as a way to get on top of managing a large user base. Some of the advantages of doing VDI is the ability to do centralized patch management, maintenance, application deployment, and a central area to focus IT spend. One publicized VDI initiative is with the FBI. They're currently rolling out a system which will support 50,000 users (25,000 of them being concurrent users connections).

So getting back to your request. I haven't seen any service tailored for small VDI deployments especially with a single user base. You may find the cost of standing up a VDI service to be more expensive than just having a second PC sitting around with all the software apps you use and having the data files copied over on set intervals or a central storage which can be accessed by both PCs. But if you want to pursue VDI, try doing online searches for VDI cloud services. Not sure if Amazon Web Services has an offering but I do know AT&T does have cloud based VDI. I also think Citrix has partnered with some cloud services to push out their products.
 

Fireflycph

Morten
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All zx10guy says is true. However, it doesn't negate the fact that if your machine is dead, stolen or internet is down. You'll have no access to anything. Regardless of the solution you'll need a piece of hardware to connect. So my advice would be to have an identical PC stored somewhere off-site. Then, at a schedule you yourself determine, create and install snapshots from the old to the new system. You can use something like Acronis to create and restore images.

Good luck. I hope you find what you're looking for somewhere.
 

zx10guy

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Sorry Morten, but you're wrong. VDI solutions are used to provide as near 100% uptime as one can get. Depending on the VDI deployment, you can use a thin/zero client terminal, a web browser on any type of device (laptop, desktop, tablet), or even your mobile phone. With cloud base solutions, the promise is to have that ubiquitous total access no matter where you are. In internal enterprise deployment, the near 100% uptime is achieved as a result of the entire VDI environment running as a virtual machine deployment under VMware (VMware Horizon) or KVM (Citrix Xen Desktop) which are the two market leaders for VDI solutions currently.

It really depends on what the OP wants as far as features and convenience. Doing VDI means, he only has to install the software/OS once. All data is centralized. And even if there is a disaster situation, a properly built VDI solution can be up in a matter of seconds to minutes. When one virtualizes, even the use of different hardware is no longer an issue. On the server side, if I decide to swap out a Dell server with an HP server, that's not a problem so long as the underlying equipment can support the hypervisor the VDI environment was built on. On the client side, it's the same thing per my reference to being able to use various consumption models. But as I said in my previous post, VDI is in the realm of enterprise deployments with a number of virtual desktops being served up. So I'm not sure if the OP will be able to find a service provider like AT&T who will have a service offering for just one VDI environment. Even if AT&T did, the OP may find the cost too prohibitive for the convenience/features he wants.

Which leads us back to the other solution which is to have a backup PC that BOTH you and I have stated.
 

Fireflycph

Morten
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Zx10guy,

I stand corrected regarding VDI. However fact remains that he'll need some type of hardware and an internet connection to run.

Morten
 
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