Google Chromebook for the Enterprise: Yeah or Meh?


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While Google Chromebooks were originally designed primarily for consumers, their rising popularity, and low cost are attracting enterprises. Google and its partners are aware of this, and are starting to focus on this market segment as well. That being said, Google Chromebooks still have many limitations that can impede their usefulness as an enterprise platform.

In this presentation, originally presented at BriForum US 2014, Ericom CTO Dan Shappir provides concrete guidelines that will enable you to determine if Google Chromebooks are a viable option for your organization and users. He also highlights tools and applications that can increase the usefulness of this platform for enterprises.

To learn how Ericom can help your organization make the transition to Chromebooks, visit the following URL:

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  • Don’t take my word for it - take Google’s!
    Our IT director agrees: “I can solve most any Chromebook problem in seconds by simply reverting to factory settings”

    Microsoft and HP will introduce a $200 netbook this fall: the Stream
  • Classic “less is more”
    Windows 8.1 also boots quickly - seconds from SSD
    Chromebooks and Google Apps managed from the same Cloud Console
    More than sharable, it’s discardable
    Microsoft Surface Pro 3 theoretically provides up to 9 hours of battery life, but in-use it’s only ~4.5
  • Also, Chromebase - All In One computer running Chrome OS
  • Funnily, Google introduced the Chrome OS desktop just as Microsoft deprecated the desktop with Windows 8
    I think Google had it right in this regard
  • Applications vetted by Google - can retroactively remove apps
    Integrated payment system
    Almost every Chrome, not just Chrome OS
    Google and Mozilla works on standardization via w3c - but not all extended services will be standardized

  • Additional future Android integration:
    Automatic proximity-based unlock / login
    Notifications: incoming / missed calls, battery, …
  • Office file support is improving in latest releases of Google Apps
  • Source:
  • Source:
  • Source:

    Exynos is a series of ARM-based System-on-Chips (SoCs) developed and manufactured by Samsung
  • Source:
  • Source:
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  • Much less choice
    With exception of Asus, much to expensive IMO
    I want a $100 Chromebox
  • Tablets with docs weigh roughly the same as Chromebooks, but even more expensive

    What about a Chrome OS tablet?
    Ultimately it will probably mean Chrome Web App support in Android
  • Uses LDAP - works with Microsoft AD, Lotus Domino, etc.
    Requires the installation of a Google Directory Sync component next to LDAP, with appropriate permissions
    Timed sync
    Uploads your LDAP data into the Google Cloud
    Update in one way: LDAP never modified
    Directory Sync component available for Windows, Linux and Solaris
  • Devices will only show up on the Shipments tab if your order was fulfilled from Google inventory. Devices ordered from vendors, resellers, or third-party sites will not appear on this page. As of late 2013, Google no longer fulfills orders from its warehouse, so administrators will not see any information related to recent hardware orders on this page.
  • Assign device to user or location
  • Installed from Chrome Web Store
    Work like regular native clients
    Direct RDP / VNC connections, without requiring special gateway
    Some can run outside browser window, and access local resources e.g. USB
    Requires installation + configuration - installation, at least, can be automated by Chrome Management Console
  • Downloads like a regular web page
    No installation or configuration required
    Works on any browser/devices, not just Chromebooks
    Requires gateway to connect to RDP/ICA/VNC. Blast doesn’t require gateway
    Constrained by browser sandbox
  • Brian wrote about this:
    Google ChromeBook + VDI/DaaS = Awesome! (Even for the enterprise!)

    So did I three years earlier!

    But dedicated thin-clients, with built-in support for ICA/HDX or PCoIP or RFX2 can provide better performance
    Also, screen may be too low res
  • Future proof thin-clients
  • Google Chromebook for the Enterprise: Yeah or Meh?

    1. 1. Google Chromebook for the Enterprise: Yeah or Meh?
    2. 2. Dan Shappir CTO at Ericom Software @DanShappir blog: Six-time BriForum speaker
    3. 3. Agenda Answering these questions: 1. Why are we having this discussion? 2. What are Chromebook, Chromebox and Chrome OS? 3. What can and can’t a Chromebook do? 4. How do you manage Chromebooks? 5. How to access Windows Desktops and Apps? 6. Is it appropriate for your Enterprise?
    4. 4. Google Savings Calculator PC Chromebook Purchase price $61,500 $24,900 Hardware maintenance $12,300 $9,000 IT Software & Infrastructure $58,500 $15,000 Management and administrative overhead $343,500 $21,900 End-user Costs $145,500 $36,400 3 year total cost of ownership $621,300 $107,200 For 100 devices:
    5. 5. Chromebook Benefits (Per Google) ● Low cost, CAPEX and OPEX o Starts at $179 ● Boots in seconds ● Easy to use ● Integrated with Google Apps ● Sharable ● Battery lasts entire workday / school-day
    6. 6. What’s a Chromebook? Personal Computer running Chrome OS ... designed to be used primarily while connected to the Internet, with most applications and data residing "in the Cloud" ... A Chromebook is an example of a thin client - Wikipedia
    7. 7. Chromebook Facts ● Chromebook, not ChromeBook ● Chromebox is a Chromebook in Thin Client form-factor ● Very successful in Education ● I want a Chromebook Pixel, but won’t pay $1,449 for it
    8. 8. Google Ecosystem Integration ● Login using Google+ credentials ● Chrome browser sync ● Manage using Google Apps Console ● Best platform for Google Docs o Including offline ● Apps from Chrome Web Store ● Google Drive bundle
    9. 9. Chrome OS ● Linux based ● Open source (Chromium OS) + additional firmware features (verified boot, etc.) o Must be official Chrome OS to be Managed ● Driven by Google ● “Aura” window manager ● Google Cloud Print
    10. 10. Chrome OS Desktop
    11. 11. Chromebook Keyboard
    12. 12. Chrome OS Application Types 1. Web apps 2. Chrome Web Store apps 3. Future: Android apps
    13. 13. Web Apps on Chrome OS ● Google Chrome is world’s leading browser ● Leading in HTML5 support o Offline o WebGL (3D) o Location-based services o Audio / video input / output o WebRTC (“like Skype”) o Voice input / output o Much, much more ● Supports Flash & PDF, but not Java or Silverlight
    14. 14. Chrome Web Store Apps ● Purchased & installed from Chrome Web Store ● Package containing “web resources” stored locally o Offline first o Self updating ● Permission-based access to extended services o Run outside browser window o TCP / UDP sockets o USB / Bluetooth / serial, clipboard, … ● Native Client (NaCl) - apps built with C++
    15. 15. Future: Android Apps ● Announced and demoed at Google I/O ● Select apps by end of the year ● Eventually most apps
    16. 16. Audio / Video Conferencing ● No Skype o Until Android app support? ● Citrix Hutt: and go! o Built with WebRTC ● Google Hangouts o Built with WebRTC + NaCl (this is new) o Integrated with Google+
    17. 17. Chromebook Limitations ● Potentially underpowered ● Limitations on offline capabilities ● Limited VPN options ● Limited local storage size and capabilities ● Office files challenges ● Keyboard and touchpad issue
    18. 18. Purchasing a Chromebook
    19. 19. Chromebook & Chromebox Vendors
    20. 20. Screen Size
    21. 21. Screen Res
    22. 22. Processor & Speed
    23. 23. Memory
    24. 24. Storage
    25. 25. Battery
    26. 26. 4G / LTE
    27. 27. Touch Screen
    28. 28. Weight
    29. 29. Price
    30. 30. Chromebox Models Available Brand Model Processor RAM Price 2013-03 Samsung Series 3 XE300M22- B01US Celeron B840 4 GB $479 ($329) 2013-02 Google Chromebox for Meetings (equipment bundle) Intel Core i7 $999 2014-03 Asus Chromebox-400MU 1.4 GHz Celeron 2955U 2 or 4 GB $179 / $225 2014-05 Asus Chromebox-M075U Intel Core i3-4010U 2 or 4 GB $407 2014-06 HP HP Chromebox Intel Celeron 2955U/Core i7-4600U 2 or 8 GB ?
    31. 31. Chromebox For Meetings ● Video Conferencing System from Google ● High-end Chromebox - Intel Core i7 ● HD 1080p camera ● QWERTY keyboard on back of remote ● 24/7 support ● Works best with Google Apps for Business (duh!) ● Starts at $999, management & support $250 after first year
    32. 32. Chromebooks vs. Tablets ● Keyboard + mouse vs. touch ● On a surface vs. handheld ● Also: o Large screen tablets 2x the price o But half the weight o Tablets generally have better resolution o Tablets still better offline o Chromebooks more manageable and less hackable
    33. 33. Chrome OS Management Principles Web-based management Configure and manage key settings centrally Customize from the cloud Specify apps, themes, and extensions to install Security built-in Provide multiple layers of protection including sandboxing, data encryption, and verified boot Forever fresh Chromebooks and apps update themselves; new users sign into a fresh computer
    34. 34. Four Major Management Areas ● Proxy Access and URL Management o For example: block websites ● Applications and Extensions ● Security ● Hardware
    35. 35. Apps ● Pre-install apps from Chrome Web Store ● Preform bulk purchase ● Create “private app store” by whitelisting / blacklisting apps ● Pin apps and extensions for easy access
    36. 36. Security ● Sandboxed browser documents/sandbox ● Safe browsing - via Google services ● Verified boot ● Screen lock and password policies ● Global proxy settings ● Restrict device use
    37. 37. Sync With Active Directory
    38. 38. Google Cloud Print ● Cloud based service ● Associates printers with Google account ● Print from anywhere ● Cloud Ready printers ● “Classic printers” via agent in local Chrome browser
    39. 39. Chrome OS Settings
    40. 40. User Experience Settings
    41. 41. Track Shipping
    42. 42. Asset Tracking
    43. 43. Windows Desktops and Apps ● Remote access only ● Many options, including all leading vendors o Except Microsoft ● On premises and hosted ● Pure HTML5 and Chrome Web Apps
    44. 44. DEMO
    45. 45. Chrome Web Store Apps ● Google Chrome Remote Desktop - free o Chrome/Chromebook to Chrome o Access Windows, Mac and Linux ● Ericom AccessToGo for Chrome (RDP) - free o Blaze acceleration ● 2X Client for RDP - free ● RealVNC Viewer for Chrome - free ● Citrix Receiver for Chrome ?
    46. 46. HTML5 Remote Access ● Ericom AccessNow ● VMware Horizon View Blast ● Citrix Receiver for HTML5 ● Cybele ThinRDP ● RemoteSpark Spark View ● Stoneware webRDP ● and more ...
    47. 47. Ultimate Mobile VDI Client? ● Windows form-factor o Except keyboard layout ● Easy online access ● Low cost ● Long-lasting battery ● Centralized management ● Local browsing / media playback
    48. 48. Points to Consider ● Target hosts o VDI / RDSH / physical o Windows / Mac / Linux ● Published desktops / published apps ● Chromebook keyboard ● Performance ● Printing ● Connection brokering ● Secure remote access & SSL VPN compatibility
    49. 49. Chromebooks Yeah! 1. Bought into Google ecosystem 2. Going web: Office 365,, … 3. Cost conscious - both CAPEX and OPEX 4. Content producers 5. Specific verticals, e.g. Education 6. Mobile VDI client 7. If / when Chromebox prices drop
    50. 50. Chromebooks Meh ... 1. On-premises / can’t use Cloud 2. Totally Windows - unless mostly VDI / SBC 3. Often offline 4. Content consumer / mobilized 5. Or high-end content producer 6. Windows laptop / Surface can do everything Chromebook can do ...
    51. 51. Summary ● Chromebook advancing at rapid pace ● Google services becoming Enterprise Ready, and Chromebooks are natural extension ● Benefits from advances in Web tech, and improving Net Access ● Improving management capabilities
    52. 52. Q&A