Lenovo announces service for cloud-aware clients

Secure Cloud Access adjusts application services to computing power available on an end user's laptop

Lenovo on Tuesday announced a hosted applications service that can detect the hardware capabilities of an end user's laptop and tailor the service accordingly.

Secure Cloud Access (SCA) provides access to Windows applications that are hosted on a central server and optimizes the services based on the available processing power, memory, graphics, battery life and bandwidth, said Bryan Thomas, manager of alternative client computing and server software at Lenovo.

The goal is to deliver services that are commensurate with computing capabilities available on the client, Thomas said. By exposing client hardware information, Lenovo hopes that cloud service providers can adjust operations at the server level, which could help preserve resources. The current approach of the cloud is data center-centric, and very little data is pulled or shared from end-point devices, Thomas said.

Hardware data on a client is exposed to the cloud through specific chip features on Intel's latest Core processor. Intel has published APIs (application programming interfaces) to remotely access data on the hardware attributes.

The SCA service also works with other devices such as smartphones or tablets that include a Java-capable browser, but will not be able to determine hardware attributes, Thomas said. Most of the smartphones and tablets today come with ARM processors, which are not compatible with Intel's APIs.

Exposing hardware information helps expand the capabilities of remote desktop and virtualization within a private or hybrid cloud, Thomas said. Some Lenovo ThinkPad laptops and desktops include Intel's latest Core processors and are designed to take advantage of the service, Thomas said.

SCA provides access to cloud applications through a browser interface that mimics the look and feel of a Windows interface. The service includes security features such as multiple authentication layers to ensure safe access to data in the cloud. The cloud services are delivered through top browsers including Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and Chrome.

The company is targeting the service at companies in the finance, health care and education sectors that deploy remote computing services. The SCA service is available at US$80 per seat. SCA is based on Stoneware's Webnetwork, which allows organizations to deploy private clouds on physical or virtual servers.

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