Tom Nikl, product marketing manager, NComputing, says:

Desktop virtualization can be expensive. Everyone knows and understands that. But in spite of the often hefty price tag, we deploy it because we know that at the end of the day it’s going to yield more benefits than staying with the status quo of distributed PCs. But, what happens when organizations take the plunge into desktop virtualization but leave those distributed PCs as glorified thin clients to access a user’s virtual desktop and applications?

Well, they’re basically throwing money down the toilet.

Yep, that’s right: money down the toilet. Because, at the end of the day IT still has to manage those distributed PCs in, at the very least, all of the following ways:

  • Operating Systems require patching to make sure the PCs themselves are not vulnerable to outside attacks. And don’t even get me started if those PCs are still running Windows XP
  • End point software needs to be kept up to date as well (for example, Citrix Receiver or VMWare View client) for an end user to get their virtual desktop and applications properly
  • Moving parts break and we all know that PCs have a lot of them. IT stays stuck monitoring, maintaining, and replacing hardware when a PC inevitably breaks

Those are just three of the most common support pitfalls that occur when IT tries to leverage old PCs to deliver virtual resources to end-users. To be fair, some users will probably still require a PC (namely, a laptop) when they are more mobile than they are local. But, for any workforce that resides within the local walls of an organization, distributed PCs just don’t make much sense anymore.

It isn’t just logistics and support where PCs lead to this distinction – it is money, too. And even if you remove all the ongoing maintenance costs associated with PCs and break it down just to the acquisition cost, a cheap PC is still going to cost you more than a well-thought out thin client—as long as it is the right thin client. You see, even though they look similar, not all thin clients are made the same. Many thin clients are actually more like a mini PC with multiple moving parts and running a Windows-based operating system. All of which can hinder the benefits you’d expect from a thin client and without saving you any money.

This is where System-on-Chip (SoC) thin clients truly differentiate from the rest of the thin client pack. System-on-Chip thin clients leverage a Linux-based chip inside them. Right off the bat, this makes it more affordable than the Windows-based thin clients (which require Windows licensing fees). For Citrix virtualization deployments, a good SoC thin client has Citrix Receiver for Linux baked right into it, which means you can literally drop one of those thin clients on a user’s desk, attach the mouse, monitor and keyboard, and let that user instantly have access to all of their virtual Citrix resources.

Believe it or not, it gets even better for a select few SoC thin clients. Many SoC thin clients are still built with parts from a number of different manufacturers and then pieced together and include multiple virtualization protocols (which sometimes lead to more complicated setup and management). A few thin client vendors, however, own the intellectual property and manufacturing of their System-on-Chip entirely and choose to support one protocol per device. This gives those vendors ultimate control and flexibility to build the right thin clients to meet the specific needs of virtualization customers (in our case, Citrix virtualization customers) at an exceptionally affordable price.

Those tailor-made, wholly owned and manufactured System-on-Chip thin clients are leading the way to reducing IT headaches and cost with their virtual deployments.

About the author:

Tom Nikl is the product marketing manager at NComputing for the N-series thin clients, and oneSpace. Prior to joining NComputing, Tom worked as a product marketing manager at VMware and Wanova (purchased by VMware in May of 2012), and as a product manager at Citrix. He is also an avid Disney fan.