How Well Would a Raspberry Pi Function as a Thin Client?


ClearCube is a trusted partner for driving centralization and virtualization initiatives with its innovative, competitive and secure endpoint solutions. What lies at the heart of our mission is the principle that every successful VDI deployment requires more than simply a clear end-to-end planning and execution process. We realize that it is ultimately the endpoint device which delivers a truly optimized desktop virtualization experience. Our engineering team thinks beyond the product by creating tailored solutions which cater to the many different needs of our clients.

While ClearCube offers an extensive range of thin clients, zero clients, blade PCs and storage/compute solutions, we recommend you to use Raspberry Pi as an initial solution. This is especially the case if you operate a startup or require more firsthand experience in initiating a desktop virtualization deployment using a basic yet effective endpoint.

The question is: how well can the Raspberry Pi thin client function in a VDI environment?

In the following section, we will explore the performance benefits of the Raspberry Pi endpoint device for your business.

Raspberry Pi as a Total VDI Solution for Task Workers

Every VDI undertaking begins with categorizing and profiling the end users in an organization. Essentially, there are three major types of users in every workplace, namely task workers, knowledge users and power users. Task workers typically perform routine assignments within small-scale computer systems and applications. Hence, the programs they implement are not necessarily CPU or memory-intensive.

Conversely, while knowledge users also run basic applications, they research, acquire, analyze and manage important information on a daily basis. The level of technical functionality in their operations is relatively higher and they often multitask by running multiple software programs and using lightweight web browsers.

Power users frequently require rich interfaces as they handle massive workloads, implement complex programs and use graphics-intensive applications.

In such scenarios, businesses should help users focus on what is important and hence, VDI should facilitate efficient operations and task completion. Keeping this in view, although task workers generally perform repetitive duties using small-scale applications, they implement equally important roles as knowledge workers and power users. For this reason, IT administrators must ensure the same level of superior UX across all stacks of the user community so that their staff remains engaged.

Taking this into account, how can organizations provision Raspberry Pi to serve task workers? To begin with, Raspberry Pi is the best fit for this group of users. They do not require heavy processing functions and their work involves relatively lower frame rates as compared to knowledge workers and power users. This endpoint works well as an embedded systems platform where users can configure its functionality for performing tasks without codec decompression. Hence, the Raspberry Pi is an outstanding device for simple tasks and projects with light computational power.

Raspberry Pi’s Immunity to Vulnerabilities

All organizations, regardless of how solid their IT infrastructure may be, occasionally experience computer connectivity or malfunctioning systems that result in downtime and low productivity. In such cases, adopting VDI is a good initiative as desktop virtualization supports disaster recovery and true business continuity opportunities.

For this, a VDI environment must be backed with a thin client solution which possesses an intelligent immune design and ClearCube’s Raspberry Pi 3 offers just that. IT can use ClearCube Cloud Desktop OS to virus-proof Raspberry C3Pi Pi 3 thin client and secure its connection to centrally hosted applications, hosted desktops and cloud-hosted desktops. The Cloud Desktop OS embeds the Linux based system which comes with its own security and management settings. This enables users to control almost every aspect of the OS.

Why is this important? Generally, IT vulnerabilities are capable of bringing an entire IT infrastructure to a standstill by affecting the functionality of computer systems. Two recent examples of such viruses are Spectre and Meltdown which leverage speculative execution to read private and business-critical data from running programs.

However, Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton confirmed that this thin client solution is not affected by these vulnerabilities due to its state-of-the-art processors. These include the ARM1176, Cortex-A7 and Cortex A-53 cores. Although ARM processors generally run on zero clients, their inclusion in Raspberry Pi thin clients means that IT can use the latter to manage VDI environments with optimized working efficiency. All users need to do is configure the Raspberry Pi for maximum security and they then have a versatile device which supports information assurance and minimizes IT downtime.

Additional Raspberry Pi Capabilities

While the ClearCube Raspberry Pi thin client promises uncompromised performance in a compact device, it is also the perfect solution for VMware Horizon environments. Consolidating Blast Extreme into the Raspberry C3Pi thin client reduces CPU consumption as video decompression is offloaded to its native hardware from the CPU using H.264-based decoder. This improves bandwidth and enhances performance in Horizon 7.1 settings.

Concluding Statement  

The success of a standard thin client solution comes down to its ability to provide cost-effective access to virtual desktops and applications. As a remote access client with high-performance graphics and multimedia features, ClearCube’s Raspberry C3Pi thin client effortlessly sees small-scale VDI deployments through to completion. Feel free to get in touch with our experts on how this endpoint can further benefit your VDI project plan.

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