News Column

Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Method to Obtain a Virtual Desktop Stored in a Cloud Storage System, a Corresponding Cloud Broker and Cloud...

July 3, 2014



Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Method to Obtain a Virtual Desktop Stored in a Cloud Storage System, a Corresponding Cloud Broker and Cloud Desktop Agent", for Approval

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors PIZURICA, Veselin (Gent, BE); BONNE, Kurt (Haren, BE), filed on July 12, 2013, was made available online on June 19, 2014.

The patent's assignee is CloudFounders NV.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "A desktop defines a set of user preferences, e.g. menu bars as well as their look and feel, applications and shortcuts to files that a user desires to access easily, e.g. through a single mouse click or finger touch. As a consequence, a desktop provides a unique view over one or plural storage spaces of the same user, like for instance the user's private and public cloud storage, the user's local hard disk storage, the user's dropbox storage space, the user's google drive storage space, etc. On a PC or laptop, a desktop definition per user is stored locally, on the hard disk. In a corporate network, a desktop definition per user is stored centrally, on a server. In case the desktop is a corporate desktop, it shall typically also prevent access to some of the storage spaces such as particular cloud storages, the dropbox storage space, etc. for security reasons.

"In the above definition of desktop, the term 'shortcut to files' must be interpreted broadly to cover any shortcut to directories, subdirectories, documents, data, etc., whether stored on the client device, private or corporate servers, or in a cloud storage environment. It is further noticed that a single user can define more than one desktop stored locally.

"Whereas a desktop is a locally stored set of user preferences, applications and shortcuts to files that a user desires to access easily after login on his/her client device, a virtual desktop in the context of the present patent application is a set of user preferences, applications and shortcuts to files that the user desires to access easily, that is stored remotely, in a cloud storage system. A virtual desktop in other words does not reside on any of the user's client devices, e.g. his laptop, tablet PC or smartphone, but is stored in a cloud storage system and pushed back to the user's client device after login. Similarly to traditional desktops, a single user can define more than one virtual desktop stored in the cloud storage system.

"One example of such virtual desktop is the Transferable Desktop from ZeroPC, of which a description can be retrieved from the Internet via the URL:

"www.zeropc.com/go.htm?src=transfer.html

"The Transferable Desktop solution from ZeroPC enables a user to customize one or more virtual desktops, stored in a cloud storage system, and to share one or more of his desktops with other users in the cloud environment.

"ZeroPC however does not allow to create virtual desktops per device type. With the introduction of 'bring your own device' policies in corporate organizations, different corporate users will desire different virtual desktops depending on the device or devices they are using.

"Further, corporate organizations desire to define and control the access policy from one place, such that for instance a corporate IT department can block access to one or some of the public cloud storage providers by disabling access to them through the virtual desktop definitions.

"European Patent Application EP 2 357 558 A2 entitled 'Independent access to virtual machine desktop content' recognizes in paragraph the desire of users to use any type of device to access data stored in the cloud, and the complexity of delivering and running virtual desktops on a wide spectrum of devices. EP 2 357 558 thereto proposes an Enhanced Virtual Desktop Management System enabling a user to access its data, applications and settings stored in cloud storage. The Enhanced Virtual Desktop Management System known from EP 2 357 558 uses an API incorporated in the web browser or other third party interface providing access to the user's data without running a virtual desktop (see for instance paragraphs and ).

"It is an objective of the present invention to disclose a method and system for obtaining a virtual desktop that overcomes the above mentioned drawbacks of existing solutions. More particularly, it is an objective of the present invention to disclose a method and system for obtaining upon request of a user a preferred virtual desktop representation for that user and the device type (laptop, tablet PC, smartphone, . . . ) of that user. It is a further objective to obtain upon request of a user a preferred virtual desktop representation for the location (office, home, public location, . . . ) of that user. It is a further objective to obtain upon request of a user a preferred virtual desktop representation considering the type of access (private/corporate) of that user."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "According to the invention, the above defined objectives are realized by a method to obtain a virtual desktop comprising a set of user preferences, applications and shortcuts to files that a user desires to access, the virtual desktop being stored in a cloud storage system, the method being defined by claim 1, comprising:

"A. transferring from a client device of the user to a cloud broker a virtual desktop request comprising at least a user identification and a client device type identification;

"B. passing the virtual desktop request from the cloud broker to a cloud desktop agent responsible for maintenance of virtual desktops and virtual desktop metadata in the cloud storage system;

"C. selecting by the cloud desktop agent a list of available virtual desktops for the user and the client device type based on a comparison of the virtual desktop request with the virtual desktop metadata;

"D. transferring in response to the virtual desktop request from the cloud desktop agent to the cloud broker the list of available virtual desktops; and

"E. forwarding the list of available virtual desktops from the cloud broker to the client device to enable the user to select a virtual desktop to be opened.

"Thus, at the time the user initiates a request for a cloud-stored virtual desktop, information identifying the user and the type of device is passed to a cloud broker, e.g. an HTTP cloud broker that tunnels cloud IO events to different client devices using WebSockets or HTTP REST calls. The cloud broker shall pass the request including the user identification and device type identification to a cloud desktop agent, i.e. a software program residing in the cloud environment responsible for managing, i.e. storing, selecting and deleting virtual desktops and virtual desktop metadata. The cloud desktop agent compares the information in the request identifying the user and device type with the virtual desktop metadata and selects a list of virtual desktops accessible by that user and suitable for the client device from which the user has issued the request. The list of available virtual desktops is sent to the cloud broker which in turn delivers the list to the client device.

"Through the current invention, the user is enabled to choose the preferred virtual desktop after logging-in from a list of available virtual desktops that suit the client device he is using. The user can share his virtual desktop with other devices. Assuming that other users have access rights to the underlying data, the user can also share his virtual desktop with other users by simply sending the virtual desktop definition from one device to another.

"It is noticed that the user can also decide to create a new virtual desktop and store it in the cloud storage system via the cloud broker.

"According to a further aspect of the invention, defined by claim 2, the method to obtain a virtual desktop according the present invention comprises transferring user credentials of the user from the client device to the cloud broker, authenticating the user at the cloud broker, and executing the steps B, C and D only after successful authentication.

"Thus, at the time of the request, the user can either provide his credentials or not. In case the user provides his credentials or login information, the cloud broker can authenticate the user and only after successful authentication pass the request to the cloud desktop agent (step B). The latter shall return a list containing all configured virtual desktops for that user that match the given device type (step C) and this list will be forwarded by the cloud broker to the client device of the user (step D) enabling the user to open the virtual desktop he/she prefers. In case no user credentials are provided, the cloud broker can pass the client device's IP address to the cloud desktop agent which can check which Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are registered for that IP address. In case the cloud desktop agent concludes that the request is received from a predefined VPN, a default desktop with login request can be returned. The default virtual desktop can for instance be a default corporate virtual desktop in case the request is received from a corporate network. This may for instance be the case in a corporate organization with 'bring your own device' policy where the device automatically connects to the corporate network, e.g. through WiFi, even prior to the user actually logging in with his user credentials, i.e. his corporate username and password. The default corporate virtual desktop may already provide some read-only access to a set of files that can be shared without authentication.

"According to an optional aspect of the method to obtain a virtual desktop according to the present invention, defined by claim 3, the virtual desktop request further comprises a location identification, and in step C a list of available virtual desktops for the user, the client device type and the location is selected based on a comparison of the virtual desktop request with the virtual desktop metadata.

"Indeed, in selecting a list of appropriate virtual desktops, the cloud desktop agent preferably also matches a location identifier in the request with location information stored as part of the virtual desktop metadata. The location information may for instance indicate if the user sends the request from home, from his office, or from a public spot. Depending on the location, the preferential virtual desktop may be different. E.g. the set of applications or files that the user desires to access from a public spot may differ from the set of applications or files that the same user using the same device desires to access from his office.

"According to another optional aspect of the method to obtain a virtual desktop according to the present invention, defined by claim 4, the virtual desktop request further comprises an access type identification, and in step C a list of available virtual desktops for the user, the client device type and the access type is selected based on a comparison of the virtual desktop request with the virtual desktop metadata.

"Thus, in selecting a list of appropriate virtual desktops, the cloud desktop agent preferably also compares an identification of the access type in the request, i.e. whether the request comes from a corporate or private network, with access type information stored as part of the virtual desktop metadata. Indeed, the virtual desktop metadata can be enhanced with information indicating if the virtual desktop definition contains corporate or private data. Depending on the type of access, the preferential virtual desktop may be different. E.g. certain applications or files that the user can access from a corporate access point may be blocked for access from a private point for security reasons.

"In accordance with another optional aspect defined by claim 5, the method to obtain a virtual desktop according to the present invention comprises:

"re-directing the user request to a private virtual desktop environment in case the access type is private access or re-directing the user request to a corporate virtual desktop environment in case the access type is corporate access.

"Thus, in case the user request specifies private access, the same cloud broker can re-direct the user's request for a virtual desktop to a private virtual desktop environment that is backed by private storage space. Such private storage space could reside with the same cloud storage provider as the corporate storage space, or with a different cloud storage provider.

"Further optionally, as defined by claim 6, the method to obtain a virtual desktop according to the present invention for corporate type of access may comprise the step of:

"verifying at the cloud desktop agent which Virtual Private Networks or VPNs are registered.

"Indeed, as mentioned already above, a device may automatically connect to a corporate network prior to the user logging in with his user credentials. This will for instance be the case if the corporation has deployed a WiFi network and the user's client device has already been connected to the corporate network in the past. If the IP address of the device can be correlated with the registered VPNs of the corporation, a default corporate virtual desktop incorporating a customized login page with limited access to certain files may be returned. The cloud desktop agent preferably can access the IP VPN definitions of different corporations in order to select a default corporate virtual desktop of the appropriate corporation before the user has successfully logged into the corporate network.

"As is further specified by claim 7, the method according to the present invention may foresee for corporate type of access in the step of:

"returning a default corporate virtual desktop upon unsuccessful authentication.

"The default corporate virtual desktop shall typically contain a customized login page enabling the user to submit his user credentials. In addition thereto, the default corporate virtual desktop may already provide access to a limited set of files and/or applications.

"Still optionally, as defined by claim 8, the method to obtain a virtual desktop according the present invention may further comprise:

"returning a default login page upon access from a public IP address.

"Hence, in case the request for a virtual desktop is received from a public IP address, the cloud broker shall only provide a default login page.

"As further defined by claim 9, the virtual desktop request may be an HyperText Transfer Protocol or HTTP request and the cloud broker may be an HTTP broker.

"The HTTP cloud broker is a server that tunnels cloud IO events to different HTML clients using WebSockets or HTTP REST calls.

"In addition to the method defined by claim 1, the present invention also relates to a corresponding cloud broker defined by claim 10, adapted to tunnel cloud IO events to/from different client devices in a cloud storage environment in order to enable a user to obtain a virtual desktop comprising a set of user preferences, applications and shortcuts to files that the user desires to access, the virtual desktop being stored in said cloud storage system, the cloud broker comprising:

"A. an interface configured to receive from a client device of a user a virtual desktop request comprising at least a user identification and a client device type identification;

"B. an interface configured to tunnel the virtual desktop request to a cloud desktop agent responsible for maintenance of virtual desktops and virtual desktop metadata in the cloud storage system;

"C. an interface configured to receive in response to the virtual desktop request from the cloud desktop agent a list of available virtual desktops for the user and the client device type, the list of available virtual desktops being selected by the cloud desktop agent based on a comparison of the virtual desktop request with the virtual desktop metadata; and

"D. an interface configured to forward the list of available virtual desktops to the client device to enable the user to select a virtual desktop to be opened.

"Furthermore, the present invention relates to a corresponding cloud desktop agent able as defined by claim 11, adapted to maintain virtual desktops and virtual desktop metadata in a cloud storage system in order to enable a user to obtain a virtual desktop comprising a set of user preferences, applications and shortcuts to files that the user desires to access, the virtual desktop being stored in the cloud storage system, the cloud desktop agent comprising:

"A. an interface configured to receive from a cloud broker a virtual desktop request comprising at least a user identification and a client device type identification;

"B. virtual desktop selection logic, adapted to select a list of available virtual desktops for the user and the client device type based on a comparison of the virtual desktop request with the virtual desktop metadata; and

"C. an interface configured to send in response to the virtual desktop request to the cloud broker a list of available virtual desktops, to thereby enable the cloud broker to forward the list of available virtual desktops to the client device to enable the user to select a virtual desktop to be opened.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a functional block diagram of a cloud storage environment incorporating an embodiment of the cloud broker and cloud desktop agent according to the present invention;

"FIG. 2 illustrates an embodiment of the method for obtaining a virtual desktop according to the present invention;

"FIG. 3 illustrates storage of a virtual desktop that can be obtained through the method according to the present invention;

"FIG. 4 illustrates exchange of a virtual desktop that can be obtained through the method according to the present invention between different client devices; and

"FIG. 5 illustrates an embodiment of the method according to the present invention wherein a default corporate virtual desktop can be obtained prior to authentication."

For additional information on this patent application, see: PIZURICA, Veselin; BONNE, Kurt. Method to Obtain a Virtual Desktop Stored in a Cloud Storage System, a Corresponding Cloud Broker and Cloud Desktop Agent. Filed July 12, 2013 and posted June 19, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=87&p=2&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140612.PD.&OS=PD/20140612&RS=PD/20140612

Keywords for this news article include: Internet, CloudFounders NV.

Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2014, NewsRx LLC


For more stories covering the world of technology, please see HispanicBusiness' Tech Channel



Source: Politics & Government Week


Story Tools






HispanicBusiness.com Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters