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Build the best hybrid workstation

February 1, 2018

Build the best hybrid workstation

Hybrid clouds—those that are constituted of a combination of public and private cloud services, and on-premises software and services—are the predominant form of cloud architecture. A hybrid cloud can have a substantial impact on workstations, not just servers. Understanding said impact is the key to designing an end-point fleet that is effective in meeting an organisation’s needs.

STORAGE

Workstations designed for pure cloud architectures have minimal local storage needs because all applications and data are stored in the cloud. Local swap files and, perhaps, enough storage to allow brief periods of offline work are all that’s necessary.

Hybrid cloud workstations, by contrast, assume an infrastructure in which some functions and data may well be stored locally before or after remote processing in the cloud or on-premises servers.

Given that some of the infrastructure will be in the cloud, the storage requirement won’t be as great as in a laptop designed for completely independent work. That means IT managers can look at pricing charts to see whether solid-state drives become an option. Either way, storage can be high performance for the same price as a lower-performance, larger storage option.

MEMORY

Most popular web browsers are inefficient memory users, especially as the number of open and active tabs increases. While many institutional buyers look at minimum memory capacity options (or perhaps, in order to “future proof” the workstations, a mid-tier memory option), workstations intended for hybrid architecture deployment should have maximum memory configurations to keep browsers and other applications running reliably.

OTHER REQUIREMENTS

With moderate levels of storage and maximum levels of RAM specified, the rest of the workstation can fall into place.

Graphics
Hybrid infrastructure doesn’t bring with it special graphics requirements. If the baseline graphics adapter in the workstation is sufficient for web browsing, it should be sufficient for displaying information from hybrid applications.
CPU
It’s not the speed that matters, but the number of cores. Many manufacturers now offer a variety of different processors with one, four, or, sometimes, two cores. Because of the way browsers tend to work within the operating environment, multiple-core CPUs perform considerably better than a single-core CPU. If the choice is between a single-core processor that’s slightly faster and a multi-core processor with a slightly slower clock, go for the multi-core option. You and your employees will be glad you did.
Perhaps the best news is that the same factors that make a workstation best for a hybrid architecture will help keep it relevant for the full length of the refresh cycle. That makes looking at specifications a winning activity for everyone.