In my last post, I started to explain my re-interest in End User Computing (EUC) as I entered the world of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). In this post, I wanted to look deeper into thin and
zero clients combined with VDI.
After I had set up the VMware Horizon View infrastructure in my home lab; I was able to bring up a Windows 7 desktop on my Macbook Air. But though that demonstrated the mobility aspects that View can offer; it didn’t give me the insight into how many companies and organisations are using VDI in their workplace today. Namely, I wanted to see how VDI worked on zero and thin clients. I was lucky enough to be offered a couple to try out by 10ZiG Technology and it’s been a real insight in how a product can be made that embodies making life simple for the end user and the administrator alike.
10ZiG Technology offer a huge range of thin and zero clients at are VMware, Citrix and Microsoft ready certified. The present product range includes 12 different clients that are VMware Ready Certified which is the focus of my blog today.
Zero and Thin Clients
Firstly, what are zero and thin client? A zero client has a very cut down Operating System (OS) and no hard drive. The sole purpose of a zero client is to facilitate a connection to VDI. In contrast a thin client’s purpose is the same but also could include some essential applications natively/locally.
Hardware or Software Zero Client
A hardware Zero Client is solely for use with PCoIP to give support for VMware Horizon View environments offering high-performance for CAD/3D etc users. A software Zero Client is a far more flexible device and allows for support of not only PCoIP, but also Blast Extreme, VMware’s new protocol. Although VMware will continue support for PCoIP, in the future its reported that they will drop PCoIP for Blast. This means that the ‘Software Zero Client’ offers a greater level of flexibility and also future-proofed offering for VMware Horizon customers.
The V1200-P I looked at, is a hardware zero client that connects via PCoIP to your View Connection Server. Based on Teradici PCoIP Zero Client which runs on the Tera2 chipset it seems to offer a fully featured VDI client. I could write about how it has dual screen capabilities, 4 USB ports and other features such as USB Smart Card options but what really impressed me was the zero setup time.
I did the basic setup of plugging in power, USB keyboard/mouse, a monitor and lastly a network cable and then it was time to turn it on. After less than a couple of seconds of hitting the power button, I’m prompted with the login screen to my View Connection Server! There was no time consuming setup, no install; just a login screen to my View setup. The ‘wow’ moment of out-of-the-box to running without any setup just blew me away.
The 5848qV was the other zero client I was able to setup and review. Very much like the V1200-P, the setup was minimal, but it is designed for more multi-monitor, full HD multimedia content for those VDI users that need more power such as 3D graphics or CAD users.
As the 5848qV is a Software Zero Client it offers a greater level of flexibility than its hardware client counterpart . Though I didn’t test this in my lab (A constraint in my lab environment) it also offers unlike the Teradici devices, wireless connectivity. It also supports Real-Time Audio Video (RTAV) for seamless Skype-for-Business and overcomes traditionally problems with running UC through VDI environments.
As I have spent more time with the 10ZiG hardware and Horizon, I have really appreciated what 10ZiG have created. At first, I really struggled to think about what I was going to write. After years of configuring full desktops, servers, storage, etc. that took hours or days to setup it was mind blowing to have a product that was full operational within seconds. So what was I going to write? “It just works!” seemed a very short blog post. As someone who has come with fresh eyes into the world of VDI, I just loved that simplicity. 10ZiG Technology have a range of solutions for most use cases, and I would urge you to give them a look at if you are either considering VDI, migrating from full to thin/zero clients or are considering another vendor.