Cloud Provider Puts Services Spin On Google Chromebooks


While cloud providers can't yet resell Google Chromebooks, one solution provider and Google partner is taking a services approach to make Chromebooks enterprise friendly.

SADA Systems has launched new services to Web-enable any application, whether it is Windows, legacy or other, for Google Chromebooks, the search giant's growing line of cloud-focused notebooks.

Tony Safoian, CEO of North Hollywood, Calif.-based SADA Systems, said that while many business apps are already available via Chromebooks, SADA is enabling all types of apps, including older client-server apps that companies can't yet port over to Google App Engine or another cloud platform. Apps, like Windows applications old accounting apps and others, can be accessed in their current form from the field on a Chromebook.

Safoian said offering access to Windows apps for Chromebooks could help fuel Chromebook adoption in enterprises, higher education and K-12. SADA is currently the only cloud provider that configured Chromebooks, desktops, applications and services to give Chromebook users access to their portfolio of enterprise applications.

"Enabling Windows apps for Chromebooks opens up a world of possibilities," Safoian said. "Giving users access to critical Windows based applications could pave the way for widespread Chromebooks adoption for enterprises of all sizes, as well as higher education and K-12 school districts."

Access to all apps via Chromebooks comes as Google partners continue to await word from Google regarding when they'll be able to resell Chromebooks.

"There's no official way for partners to resell Chromebooks yet," Safoian said, adding that SADA is going to market with Chromebook services to help clients and get familiar with Chromebooks for when they're released to partners.

In an e-mail to CRN Tuesday, a Google spokesperson said partners will be able to resell Google Chromebooks in the near future.

"Resellers cannot resell Chromebooks yet, but we're on track to build out a reseller program for Chromebooks later this year," the Google spokesperson said.

So far, Safoian said, customers have shown interest in Chromebooks, but like any new technology, they are taking time to catch on.

"There's a lot of curiosity out there," he said, noting that many companies want to test and trial 10 or 20 Chromebooks at a time to get their feet wet.

Google Chromebooks from Samsung and Acer went on sale in June. The cloud-focused notebooks come equipped with Google's Chrome OS and look to be a lower-cost cloud alternative to the Windows PC stranglehold. Google also launched a subscription service for Chromebooks through which businesses can rent them on a three-year refresh cycle with support, warranty and Web-based management included for a roughly $30 monthly fee per unit.

Google has already teamed up with Citrix and VMware for some enterprise applications to work on Google Chromebooks. And in August, Google updated Chrome OS to add support for VPN, secure Wi-Fi (802.1x) and access to virtualized applications through Citrix Receiver, enhancements that could make Chromebooks more attractive to enterprises.

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