I hope some will find this interesting.
We've mentioned before that we specialise in providing FileMaker in the cloud using Citrix XenApp to provide a full FileMaker experience from anywhere operating at office network speeds. Due to the success of this, we now choose to no longer do any local network development (which is rather useful as we're located in the East of England and Northern Ireland!).
We're preparing for a local expo where we'll be launching our branded SaaS products, all running as above.
To differentiate our stand, we're going to be running FileMaker 14 on an old XP laptop and it has also lead to our first experience of a ChromeBook; we picked up a refurbished HP laptop for under £120 incl. delivery and plus tax. It looks like a new piece of kit.
So first impressions were that we'd bought a 'pig in a poke'. After downloading Citrix Receiver (stand alone HTML5) from the Chrome Web Store we got connection problems and after delving much deeper it was looking as if we were going to have to do some serious Citrix server reconfiguration to stand any chance of this working.
However, in the background the Chrome OS was updating and it jumped quite a few versions (so perhaps the laptop isn't quite as new as it looks!). Upon reboot, it just worked and we had FileMaker 14 Advanced running in exactly the same way as we do on our Macs and PCs.
This then led on to (Windows/Citrix) server management. LogMeIn worked fine and with a download of 'Secure Shell' we got our SSH Tunnels working and with 'Chrome RDP' we were managing the servers using remote desktop connection.
Where this gets really interesting is that our latest insurance customer expanded by 70% last year and mentioned the cost of computers, software, etc. They also run Terminal Services for their email and Office apps and we also publish Word 2013 on our servers to allow them to edit the Word documents generated by our FileMaker system directly in the cloud. Therefore, they have absolutely no reason to have traditional desktop PCs, as they only work online.
Other than the Chromebook purchase, we're going to have to pay under $10.00 for the RDP software, but that has been it.
Yes our client does have to still pay for Office 365 and our hosting service, but a lot of the hidden costs have been removed. I'm still working out whether to believe that Chromebooks don't need anti-virus and configuration so far has been a fraction of setting up a new PC.
HP, Asus, etc. make 'desktop' Chromebooks that look like Apple TVs and £150 can get you a laptop or desktop by the looks of it.
Tomorrow I'm going to move my trusty 17" MacBook Pro and MacBook Air to one side and use this HP laptop (with HDMI port) to see how it works in anger. But it now looks like I could take out a laptop to manage our business that has a value I wouldn't cry about if it got lost. I'll report back here if anyone finds this of interest.
The next preparation for the expo is to do the above with an Intel Computer Stick, which is a PC on a USB stick that you put into the back of any HDMI TV to turn into a PC. Again, we'll report back, as I've heard mixed reviews of these units.