Posts Tagged ‘cloud os’

What is cloud computing?

February 19th, 2013 Comments off

Today’s post is a guest post by Rens.

What is cloud computing?

Let’s say you are the owner of a company. Your responsibilities include ensuring that all your employees have the right computers and software. You’ll need to buy the right software for all of them to make sure they can do their job properly. You can purchase and install all the software onto their computers but there is also another alternative, in which you only have to install one application. That program allows your employees to log into a web-based service that suffices for all the programs your worker needs. Another company hosts these programs and ensures that applications like word, email and a large variety of other programs run smoothly. This is called cloud computing.

With cloud computing the local computers do not have to run installed applications but the network of PC’s handle that instead. On the user’s side software and hardware demands decrease. You’ll only need a computer with the cloud’s software interface and the rest of the work is done by the cloud’s network.

If you have an email account then you’ve already had experience with cloud computing. Services like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail run in that way. With these web based programs you only need to log in and the storage and software is not on your computer but in the ‘cloud’.

The front and the back end

A cloud computing system comprises of the front and the back end, which are connected with each other through the internet. The front end is what you see on your computer and the back is the cloud part of the system. Yet some cloud systems have different interfaces to others. For instance, an email program can work on internet Explorer while other systems can have unique applications that provide network access to clients.

The cloud can be found on the other side of the system and consists of various servers, computers and storage systems. Theoretically any computer program can be included in a cloud system and each application has its own server. The central server monitors traffic, client demands and administers the system to make sure everything keeps running. It uses middleware, which is a type of software, and follows a set of rules. The middleware permits computers that are in the same network to communicate with each other.

What are the advantages of cloud computing?

There are an almost limitless amount of cloud computing applications. You are able to work with all the programs a normal computer could run if you have the right middleware. Therefore customised programs specifically designed for a company can be run on the cloud but, for instance, also a regular word processing software. Let’s have a look at some of the advantages of cloud computing:

Users are able to access data and applications at any time from any location. The only thing you’ll need is a computer and an internet connection. In this way data is not restricted to only one hard drive on a computer.

Hardware costs can be reduced because the cloud will take care of most of the work. You don’t need to buy an expensive, high-tech computer. A computer terminal that has enough power to run the middleware is enough. A large hard drive is not necessary as you can store your data on the cloud. Also software costs will decrease as employees will no longer have need for it. Instead, you pay a fee to the cloud company making cloud computing an attractive way to save money.

Rens works for Intralinks, a leading virtual data room provider.



Defining Cloud Computing – Part 5: Desktops as a Service

February 20th, 2009 Comments off

Desktops as a Service

Falling some somewhere between software and a platform are Cloud Desktops (also called a Cloud OS). These desktops run inside a browser and are accessible from any desktop with an internet connection.

A cloud desktop offers word processing, spreadsheets, development tools, networking tools and more. While relatively immature at this time, we can expect this market to grow significantly in the coming years, especially as more and more smart phones and ultraportables hit the real world.

Microsoft LiveMesh offers free storage, machine synchronization and a cloud based desktop. iCloud and both offer complete, robust desktops (including browsers, applications and storage) completely in the cloud. The greatest benefit to a cloud desktop is that all of your applications and data is accessible from any computer. The downside is that with no internet access, you have access to none of your data or applications.

EyeOS is a completely open source cloud OS that you can download and install in your own data center. It offers all of the expected functionality and installs as a simple PHP application on your Apache web server.

The nice part about these platforms at the moment is that most are completely free. Sign up, login and you have a virtual desktop off in the clouds. The business model of most of these (such as iCloud or are subscriptions for enhanced services and extra capabilities (such as bandwidth or disk space).

The other significant aspect of these cloud desktops is the ability to run desktop quality applications, such as word processors and spreadsheets, from a phone. Business at internet speeds and internet availability.

It remains to be seen whether cloud desktop catch on but SaaS in general is here to stay. It’s easy to use, cheap and covers just about any category of software that you might use.

Throw in a pair of virtual world gloves and goggles and it’s almost like science fiction.


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3 Cloud Operating Systems You Can Use Right Now

February 1st, 2009 8 comments

Have you taken the leap into the cloud? If you don’t want to start with data centers in the sky, you can start with a desktop in the sky. Microsoft has offered Live Mesh for a while now. I wrote about live mesh on this blog. Live Mesh, even though it offers a desktop, is not much of a cloud OS. It’s more of a synch and remote desktop tool.

You could wait for Microsoft Azure. That’s MS’s services based, cloud OS. It’s still mostly fog at this point though. Fog, vapor? Get it?

Anyway, there are a few Cloud desktops that you can start using today. They run in a browser, offer desktop apps like word processing, email and file storage. Below I discuss three different desktops that are usable today (even though they may be in beta or alpha). All three of the desktop solutions below are either offered as an open source download and/or are free to use online.


EyeOS is an open source cloud desktop that you can download and run in your own data center. Download the software, install it and you have an instant Cloud OS and remote desktop for your organization.

EyeOS will install on any web server that supports WordPress or Drupal. EyeOS is a PHP application and does not require a database. Just Apache and PHP 5. Installation takes about 10 minutes and that includes the download time.

You can try it out by signing up for the EyeOS free server at You probably won’t want to host a large organization here but it runs well enough that I use it. If you don’t want to run it on your own servers and you don’t want to take the risk of using a free server, you can sign up for paid professional EyeOS hosting with safehosting.

You can get much more information from the home page or from the EyeOS blog.

Some applications that ship with EyeOS include:

  • Office Tools (word processing, spreadsheet, presentations, calendar, etc)
  • Games
  • File Explorer and Archive Browser
  • Note pad
  • Network Tools (RSS reader, Internet Browser, Email, FTP, IM)
  • Multimedia (mp3 player, video player)
  • Desktop Widgets

View a demo of EyeOS.


I first mentioned iCloud a few months ago in this blog. iCloud is a product of Xcerion. iCloud is a very nice, very stable cloud based desktop. I think it has the richest interface of any of the current crop of cloud desktops. On the flip side to that, EyeOS is more responsive when using it.

iCloud is not meant to be a download. It is a cloud service. You signup for an account and use the desktop. I’m honestly not sure what the business model is. The parent company offers a cloud OS called XIOS. Here is the blurb from the web page:

Xcerion Internet Operating System/3 (XIOS/3) the clean, carefree, zero-footprint XML-based OS, running within the browser. Since the OS and its applications executes in the browser it also works offline. The Internet OS boots itself (takes around 3 seconds) and runs in the primary memory of the computer. As soon as the browser is shut down, the OS disappears from the computer. Using XIOS/3 you never has to think about installing patches, updates or new versions of software again. The OS updates itself. You may also access your applications and documents from any Internet connected computer.

After playing with it for a while, I have to say I really like the look and feel. Check out the video below. It is a very rich OS.

iCloud comes with all of the tools that you would need (and expect) on your desktop.

  • Office Tools (word processing, spreadsheet, presentations, calendar, etc)
  • Games
  • File Explorer and Archive Browser
  • Note pad
  • Network Tools (RSS reader, Internet Browser, Email, FTP, IM)
  • Multimedia (mp3 player, video player)
  • Desktop Widgets
  • Application Development Tools

iCloud offers a basic interface for mobile access. I was able to reference my documents from my Blackberry which is a nice feature.

View a demo of iCloud.

The award for coolest name (and URL) would have to go to Yes, that’s actually a URL. is built on an open software stack but is not a downloadable project. You signup and use it much like icloud. Actually, very much like iCloud. You get some file and email space with the other two services but I am not sure exactly how much. spells out exactly what you do get: 5GB of file space and 3GB of email storage. You can get an additional 1GB of file space for each user you refer who signs up.

I believe the business model is going to be built around selling extended services. For example, you will be able to upgrade file storage beyond 5GB by paying a subscription fee. They may also offer some professional level applications. comes with pretty much the same tools and applications as EyeOS and iCloud but with some tweaks.

  • Office Tools (uses zoho and google docs)
  • Games
  • File Explorer and Archive Browser
  • File Storage on Drive
  • Note pad
  • Network Tools (RSS reader, Internet Browser, Email, FTP, IM – meebo)
  • Multimedia (mp3 player, video player, Internet radio – and Pandora)
  • Desktop Widgets
  • Application Development Tools
  • Login management offers a detailed interface for mobile access. I was able to reference my documents and files from my Blackberry which is a nice feature.

As a side note, the company is a unique blend of collaboration is a hard situation. From the web site: is a collaborative company meaning that relies heavily on its partners to provide the outstanding technology and services that delivers to its users. partners with its users, with Web-based service and software providers, with developers and with hosting companies.

Collaboration is at the heart of what does. The team is itself a rare Palestinian-Israeli collaboration. Ghosts go through walls and the very first wall that goes through is the 425 mile wall that Israel has built in the West Bank between itself and the Palestinians and which physically divides the team into two. However the Internet and collaboration between human beings transcends all physical boundaries.

That may not make a difference in your business decisions but I think it’s a pretty cool note.

View a demo of


So there you go. I wouldn’t say that Cloud OSes are a mature niche as of yet but I think the field will grow. If you are ready to start playing, here are three very robust and usable environments.


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iCloud OS

December 11th, 2008 3 comments

I’m evaluating various web based desktops. A web desktop is a desktop in the cloud. So far, I have found three that I like. Today’s is iCloud by Xcerion. I’ll have a lot more info after my beta login is approved but from the videos, it looks like iCloud is the most advanced of all the Cloud OSes that I have looked at this far.

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