Brian & Gabe LIVE #22 - Part 1: Guise Bule of tuCloud explains his challenge to Microsoft licensing


Listen to the whole interview with Guise Bule here!



Brian: Good morning on March 20th 2012 from San Francisco. This is Brian Madden and you’re listening to Brian and Gabe Live. Thank you everyone for joining us today. Gabe, how are you?

Gabe: Not bad. How are you?

Brian: I’m doing great. Thank you so much. Sitting with me in the studio here in San Francisco is Jack.

Jack: Good morning all.

Brian: And joining us via Skype from, actually, I don’t even know where you are, is Guise… how do you pronounce your last name or your first name?

Guise: Guise Bule.

Brian: Guise Bule.

Guise: But you can call me Mr. Bule, Brian, if you like.

Brian: Guise Bule and you’re joining us now from?

Guise: I’m in London, but my heart’s in San Francisco.

Brian: Oh, look at that. Well, it’s actually good you’re not here because someone took home the third microphone stand over the weekend and didn’t bring it back. It’s good that you’re calling in. Guise, you’re joining us as we have guests every week to just sort of join our chat about the industry, but I guess as a quick background on yourself, are you founder, the CEO?

Guise: I’m chief executive at TuCloud and also the founder. We are a platform agnostic virtual desktop cloud builder, but we also can see ourselves focused on desktop application delivery, anything to do with virtual desktop, Brian. That’s what TuCloud does.

Brian: And so you tweeted yesterday… can we just go right on this?

Guise: Sure.

Gabe: Why not have our record sixth show in a row bitching about Microsoft. 

Brian: Yesterday there was an article written about you, Guise, that was you want to start a new desktop service company that flagrantly – is that the right word – just very openly violates Microsoft’s license policies because, hey, if OnLive is able to give you a desktop for five bucks a month with Office and Brickell licensing and not be sued like crazy, then why can’t you?

Guise: Well, we’re not going to do it exactly like OnLive, Brian, because you know you can’t deliver a $10 desktop. It’s impossible. To do so you’d have to steal from Microsoft. We’re not prepared to do that. We’re not. Think of the exercise as a proof of concept deployment. That’s exactly what it’s going to be. It can’t be a real business because it’s not based on legitimate Microsoft licensing regs. It can’t be a legitimate business. Licensing is a serious issue, you know this. 

If a CI messes with Microsoft or toys with the licensing regs of their organization, people get sacked and sacked fast. It’s a hot potato. Everyone tends to want to comply, meaning the business is going to have no real customers, but we’ll get to have a lot of fun mounting a wonderful infrastructure, throwing desktops out there, and beta testing the platform in preparation for the real time, the big time, the real thing. It’s going to be a lot of fun. It really is. We’re looking forward to it.

Brian: End users could buy, right, and they don’t care about getting sued by Microsoft?

Guise: We don’t really care about making money off this actually. We’ll probably give the desktops out for free just like OnLive. We’ll announce the release of the 25 desktops shortly once we’ve conducted our beta testing. Just actually out of curiosity OnLive hasn’t launched their $10 desktop have they? It always kind of says coming soon next to it. I don’t think they have. It says coming soon next to it.

Jack: Was there a $5 one? I thought there was a $5 desktop.

Gabe: I also think that’s true. According to comments at least there was a paid for version was released. I’m not sure. Let’s look at the website here. The beauty of having the internet. They have $4.99 a month plan that also gives you a browser and that’s about it. So $5 a month gives you a browser on top of the free edition that has no browser. The $10 a month one is coming soon which, Guises, apparently, in the article that Bridget Botelho wrote she said that you were going to offer a $10 desktop at 

Guise: We did intend to. We did intend to, but then the though occurred to us that you can’t do a $10 desktop. It’s not possible. If we wanted to go out and actually physically buy one retail copy of Windows 7 for each individual user we sell a desk top to, you still can’t do it at $10 even if – 

Brian: But you can do the hardware. The hardware can do it; you just have to steal Windows.

Guise: Sure. You can’t do it. You’ve got to steal Windows and we’re not going to do that. We’re not going to.

Brian: Buy why not?

Jack: You don’t say how often you charge them $10 either. It could be per month, it could be per week – $10 per hour. 

Jack: Yeah. The website is 1-900-DESKTOPS – $10 a minute.

Brian: OnLive, okay, we won’t spend the whole show on this, but I’m collecting opinions of this. Your opinion is OnLive is, I guess, not in compliance?

Guise: We both tried to talk to OnLive and, in fact, I have been for over the last good few months going back eight months speaking to people within the organization, engaged with them on a couple opportunities ‘til they withdrew citing lack of resources. I’ve been chatting with these Guises on and off for months and just like you, Brian, they told me nothing, absolutely nothing. 

I had my questions the same as you, but this overriding sense of absolutely no concern about Microsoft licensing what so ever was the single biggest feeling I took away from my conversations with them. I don’t what they’re doing. I don’t know how they’re doing it. I don’t know what their conversations with Microsoft are, but I sense from every single person I spoke to in the organization they don’t care. 

They’ve got no concerns. It’s like they’ve been given a wink and a nudge and I don’t know. You’d be concerned if you were them right now. No? I’d be concerned.

Brian: Last week we were talking, it was a little bit conspiracy theory-esque, but we were talking about the possibilities that there are background arrangements going on and such and maybe an acquisition target or something like that.

Guise: Anything’s possible. Anything’s possible. 

Brian: I guess if that’s the case, they wouldn’t be afraid.

Guise: That would certainly make sense. That line of argument, Brian, that would make sense. I’m choosing not to focus on conspiracy theories or what OnLive is doing. I’m much more focused on getting the model we’ve kind of chosen as a business out there, this non-persistent virtual desktop platform that you just can’t do with service licenses. 

OnLive is happy to run their business any way they choose, but we have a very specific model that collides directly with Microsoft licensing regs. We have our own gripes about them. I’m sure OnLive have theirs, but for different reasons, Brian. I happen to think OnLive’s non-persistent desktops are sweet. It’s the future of the hosting virtual desktop, that lack of persistency for lots of different reasons, but I happen to really like what they’re doing with that platform. 

They’ve got an awesome set up there. It really is a cloud DC wet dream they’ve got going on over there. It really is. I wish I could afford to buy them. I do. I would.

Brian: So what does TuCloud do that’s different than OnLive? I don’t know too much about TuCloud and since you’re here we’ll give you a couple minutes. The point of this show is not to be a commercial for TuCloud, but –

Guise: Sure. TuCloud operates in a very specific nature. We only build private desktop clouds, full stop private desktop clouds and offer professional services for around those private desktop clouds focused on app and desktop delivery. We only deal with companies that have software assurance in place exclusively. 

We don’t deal with any other part of the market. We’re not allowed to. It’s a happy niche. We’re seeing great traction within this niche and the model we’ve kind of propagated. We were the first to really put the non-persistent hosting virtual desktop model into operation in any size. We coded that model in collaboration with advanced computing team over at the National Security Agency, Lawrence Livermore. 

It’s our baby this non-persistent virtual desktop model. It’s one that’s resonating with every single customer we speak to. It just so happens the model collides with Microsoft licensing. It’s a shame. It really, really is. 

Brian: The non-persistent collides with Microsoft licensing, but you mean in your case all your customers have SA so it doesn’t. That’s how it could not collide.

Guise: Exactly. It doesn’t bother us at all; however, why can I not sell $25 desktops for an automated payment portal like Go Daddy sells domains. I’ve got the platform built almost. Why can I not sell them just like OnLive’s doing it? That’s what I’d like to know because if I could, I would and people would buy them.

Brian: So how did you crack the non-persistent, you mentioned Lawrence Livermore and something about nuclear, is that what… Do you use a layering from a Unidesk or something like that or did you build your own or is it?

Guise: No, because the desktop requirement is low hanging fruit. The non-persistent desktop’s running browsers. The only persistency on the desktop front is things like browser plug-ins. It can’t have browser bookmarks. All focused around the browser. It’s folder redirection right? There’s no complicated layering in the model which is why it’s a beautiful model. 

It’s just a desktop clean with a browser or three browsers to mitigate the risk into. You handle all of your forward facing internet activity on that one desktop. The reason we kind of brought this product to market was at the demand of a customer. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, they had a problem with attacks. Every single major organization in the US and globally has been cyber attacked over the last two years. 

We read about it, but what we read about really is the tip of the iceberg by lots of state and non-state operators. It seems the trend emerging is anybody who doesn’t control intellectual property has realized it’s remarkably easy to go and steal that intellectual property from those that do.

Brian: See OnLive.

Guise: Why invest in R&D? Why invest in R&D?

Brian: It’s better ROI in hacking and stealing then you do actually developing it.

Guise: Yeah and that’s affecting everyone. It’s not just big business, but small business too. The same applies to anything of value, your financial details, your personal banking information straight the way through to your customer book and all their CC details. It goes on and it goes on and it goes on. You have to begin to shut down hatches. 

The interesting thing is that 95% of these attacks are in the form of advanced persistent threat. They attack the individual user through their persistent desktop running Windows OS over the open internet because that user’s going about their daily business which these days involves social networking, web mail, and the whole shebang. 

Really, the only way to protect against these attacks is to shut that desktop down. Close down internet access completely to all of your users within your organization, but then you get pushback. Can you imagine being sat at a desk in front of a computer with no internet? It would be a miserable existence. They open up internet access over time, but with a bit more security and then boom. They get hit again. 

It’s a reactive response to cyber security threats. So with a non-persistent hosted virtual desktop, hosted outside of your DCs and your critical infrastructure and away from your IP, it makes perfect sense. You give all your users a nice non-persistent virtual desktop. Let them do all the risky stuff on that. 

When they’re finished with it at the end of their session, they log out. The desktop’s destroyed. None of that open internet touches the internal infrastructure. If you think of it, it’s the perfect supplication of VDI.

Brian: That’s exactly what I thought in 1998 when we called it Metaframe.

Guise: I’m calling it the non-persistent desktop model of the future.

Brian: Why are you doing it with VDI instead of with remote desktop session host?

Guise: We’re a desktop virtualization company, Brian. We deal in desktop virtualization technologies. We’re not just a VDI shop.

Brian: We have hammers.

Guise: We also focus on the client’s side. We can run non-persistent desktops on a client’s side, on a laptop using it next to our virtual computers and we do. It’s a wonderful way of achieving exactly the same end. Multiple desktops you can hotkey between – one for online banking, one for porn and the other one for work. 

Brian: That’s why I have three browsers. You don’t need three whole desktops.

Guise: But it’s not really…yes, you do. If you’re really going to take it securely, seriously, you need three individual VMs and isolate that risk out properly.

Brian: You partner with virtual computer from Next Top for the client based stuff.

Guise: Yeah. You have a laptop with a Next Top on it. You can hot key between three Windows XP desktops for work or Windows 7 desktops for personal use and one for online banking or whatever, dedicated to that purpose. You can have a desktop for every task if you really wanted to be paranoid about your security. 

If they’re non-persistent threats, malware threats don’t hold between sessions. It’s a wonderful way of mitigating against any kind of cyber-attack and malware because, let’s be honest, client end point security is a running joke, right? Are we protecting our users and bot nets not proliferating? Are we not hemorrhaging financial details and IP out of our economies? 

You could say this problem, and I will say it, affects the prosperity of western world Guises. We need to be able to start shutting down hatches and the way to do this is to use VDI in this non-persistent fashion and give people more than one desktop.


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