MS Live Mesh – Remote Desktop Meets the Cloud
You might not think of remote desktop as a cloud tool but MS has added cloud storage to remote desktop and called it Live Mesh. I have been using it recently and it is pretty nice. I use VNC fairly extensively and, when I’m not using VNC, I tend to use SSH. Well, I heard about this Live Mesh thing and decided to download it and give it a try. It is currently a beta product but I haven’t had any issues.
My first thought on using it was that it was a clone of gotomypc. I’m not a user of gotomypc so I can’t say for sure but it looks that way. The big difference is that gotomypc doesn’t have a free version or online storage. I think the integration, storage and synchronization services are what make Mesh a unique tool.
Being an MS product, you might expect there is no Linux support. You would be right. There is MAC OS/X support though and Windows Mobile is on the way. I would be a lot more excited if they planned to support blackberry. But, it is still a great way to stay in touch with my desktop, laptop, work computer and the non-linux database servers in my lab.
This is what my home desktop looks like from the Live Mesh Desktop:
You can access a live mesh remote desktop from any computer that can run IE. The computer you are connecting FROM does not need to be running Live Mesh at all. Just log into your account at livemesh.com and login. You can then connect to any device in your mesh.
When you log in via a browser, you get a device screen where you see all of your devices and can connect to new ones. Your device names are not the actual hardware identification. You get to give them friendly text names.
If you open your live desktop, you can create folders to store data in the cloud. You currently get 5GB of storage for free,. You can create multiple directories and automatically sync those directories to the devices of your choosing. As an example, I created a Documents directory. Anything I put in that directory is automatically propagated to my work computer, my laptop (BIGDOG) and to one of my database servers (which has partially become my son’s computer).
This is my Live Desktop:
I haven’t really noticed any speed differences between the IE connection and the Remote Desktop tool. I prefer to use the remote desktop but I can’t really say why. Here is what my db server looks like, first in IE and then in the remote desktop tool:
If you notice in some of the above shots, Mesh windows have a side window with tips and information. I snipped that window out of some of these shots. It’s kind of annoying but usually provides helpful information. I could see in the future, if this becomes a pay service, that ads might be placed there to support a free version.
This is the text of the help window when connected to a remote desktop:
So that’s pretty much live mesh. It offers synching and free storage (more than mozy even) as well as a remote desktop that is accessible from a browser. I think this just shows how much cloud computing will be integrated in everyone’s life and not just in business.
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