Teamwork

By Danielle Arad - March 8, 2012

None of us is as smart as all of us
–Ken Blanchard

Here at Cloudshare, you hear us talk a lot about sharing and collaboration (see here, here, and here). That’s because our primary use is pre-production – Application Development, especially on the SharePoint platform, Hands-On Sofware Demos, Corporate Training – these are all situations where various people need various levels of access to the applications, the servers, the network, even the whole development environment. So we offer a number of different collaboration and sharing methods to meet the needs of this specific segment.

One that’s really beginning to see a lot of use is our “Assign Team Member” function. So I wanted to take a few minutes to describe exactly what it is, how it works, and how you might take advantage of it. In the simplest of terms, “Assign Team Member” is how you give the architects, developers, designers, and the rest of the team access to the project hardware. It is the functional equivalent to giving an employee a network login, but it has the marked advantage of being a sandbox entirely outside your firewall. Much less risk, and a greater comfort zone with third parties, contractors and temps.

When you assign a team member to an Environment that you own, they get an email with a link. The first time they click the link they are prompted to register for a Cloudshare account. Currently, this initiates a 14-Day Free Trial, but that’s just an artifact of the registration process – they can start working in the Environment you assigned them to right away. (Please note – if you are using ProPlus for training, your trainees are not eligible for a free trial during the training. They must have a paid environment; CloudShare offers low cost vouchers for sale to trainers – please contact sales@cloudshare.com for more information.)

At the end of the Trial period, their Cloudshare user account remains perfectly usable, for any Environment that is shared with them – the only thing they lose is the ability to create or own an Environment of their own. You can assign as many team members as you wish – just bear in mind that only one user can be logged into a specific Virtual Machine at a time. The most common solution to this in ProPlus is to simply add a couple of low-resource desktops to your Environment after the servers are added and configured to act as a work desktop for your team members.

It’s important to understand the differences between an Environment owner and a collaborator. There are certain specific administrative functions available only to the owner – things like “Take a Snapshot”, “Share a Copy”, “Get a Permalink” and “Delete this Environment”. The team member does, however, have the ability to edit the environment including adding and removing machines, editing hardware and, if he or she has administrative permissions in the Operating System, adding and deleting users.

All in all, the “Assign Team Member” function is the secret sauce that makes Cloudshare ProPlus a useful professional development platform. The company can set up the Environments, and assign them to the project teams, the QA and UAT processes and even to the sales team to set up customized demos for potential clients. As the projects are completed and migrated out to the production servers, the Environments can be easily deleted and configured for the next project or process. With no hardware to maintain, no software licenses to track and Cloudshare’s one click provisioning process, it lets your team enjoy the benefits of teamwork.