What is Frame? Think of Frame as an online computer in which you put your software, applications, and related tools and access it through a web browser, anywhere, on just about any device. There are many benefits of using Frame, including the flexibility of working from any location, only requiring an internet connection and a browser.
Frame uses the power of the cloud to let you work freely from anywhere.
I recently got a chance to test drive frame, and after using the “Personal” edition for a couple weeks I decided to upgrade to Frame for Business. Frame Personal is for a single user – used as your own online system. Frame for Business is a single administered “sandbox”, published to a pool for users to access. If you haven’t heard or seen Frame you should start by reading my previous article, found here.
The Dashboard is where the administrator installs applications and selects products to include for the team members. Using the dashboard, external “drives” are connected to act as the “local” storage. This includes support for Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box. Connecting drives is as simple as clicking the button and logging in.
Frame for Business is really “IT light.” Your software only needs to be installed and setup one time and then can be accessed by any number of users from the Frame Launchpad (in a browser). Frame is easy to use and you will literally be up and running in a few minutes, well a few minutes plus the time it takes to install the software.
From the dashboard you literally power on the Sandbox (which is the “online PC” you use as your master image) to install the application you require, as you would with your own system. You are running Windows, no differently than you would on your own system. As the Administrator you configure the environment and then publish it for access by your team members.
Inviting users is accomplished via the Team Settings section. An email is sent to them with the instructions to set up their new account. Added team members will only have access to the system you have configured.
There is a bulk option when you have multiple people to invite all at once.
After adding users, direct them to the Knowledge Base, specifically the “End user Quick Start Guide”, which will get new users of Frame up and at it in under 15 minutes.
The Knowledge Base serves other purposes other than just for new users. I accidentally navigated away from the Frame page and wondered what the best course of action was to restore my session…. the Knowledge Base had the answer!
The Administrator of a Frame for Business account is provided tools to track usage. This includes real-time viewing of the active sessions and usage by hours over a day, week, month, or the entire year. Additional settings include things like setting the maximum length of any session.
The basic Air system contains 1-CPU, no GPU, and 4-GB of RAM, but this can be quickly kicked up to the Pro system with instance switching under “My Account” to get access to 4-CPUs, 1 4GB GPU, and 16-GB of RAM. With this flexibility, you can use the Air system for “lighter” type work and consume less credits.
Frame is subscription based, based on a monthly fee, which gets you an amount of credits. The credits are consumed as you use your online PC. The amount of credits used however is dynamic, based on the system type you are using. For example, the Air system is great for working with less graphic intensive applications like Microsoft Word and it consumes less credits per hour than using the Pro system – which is best for graphics apps like 3D CAD.
One of the things that impresses me the most about Frame is how they seemed to have thought of everything. The Utility Server addon provides a general purpose Windows 2012 Server to host license managers, databases, and other things like that. Basically, it’s an area to put things that are accessible by all systems within your Frame ecosystem.
People hate waiting, especially for technology. That’s why Frame incorporated elasticity to automatically scale the system between minimum and peak usage. With elasticity, you set the minimum and maximum number of instances and the desired buffer. A buffer is up and running constantly, so that a system is ready to go when someone wants to connect. After the first person logs in (and consumes the buffer system) the next system boots automatically to become the buffer.
As mentioned earlier, the process is to launch the Sandbox and install the applications as you normally would. When the application is installed you will be prompted to Onboard it. When an app is onboarded it is accessible as a standalone application that can be run without first starting a desktop session.
What else can I do with Frame?
How about sharing your session with your customer, vendor, co-worker, or good buddy? It’s doable with the Share Session feature, meaning you can invite someone else to join your session and see your application, sharing the mouse and keyboard. The other person does not need a Frame account to join in on the fun.
How about embedding your apps on your website? Yep, it’s possible with the embed code feature. Embed your app by adding just a single line of code to any web page, just like you would embed a YouTube video — only this is a fully interactive application.
As I said in the last post, the Frame offering is well thought out and creates a great user experience. With the connection to cloud storage, it truly does provide the ability to log in anywhere, anytime, and continue right where you left off.
The exclusive offer from Frame just for Design & Motion readers has been extended until the end of November. Enter the code DESIGNMOTION2015 for $25 off Frame Personal or Frame for Business (expires 11/30/2015).