Thin clients are lightweight endpoint devices which connect to the data center hosting the virtual desktop. Users are increasingly shifting towards thin client solutions for VDI due to the benefits of installing, running and maintaining such computer devices. In a thin client environment, every device is administered from the server and all application deployments and software updates are programmed for central management, thereby saving organizations the hassle of individually supervising them. These factors make thin client effortlessly manageable endpoints for a VDI environment where user desktops are hosted on virtual machines in the datacenter.
Choosing the perfect thin client solutions for virtual desktop infrastructure deployments is one of the most critical aspects in achieving desired business outcomes. Given that every business has unique IT environments, budget and performance requirements, many questions should be considered before organizations can make a realistic decision about a thin client solution that would harmonize perfectly with their VDI environment. For instance, what features would they like in a thin client? How does one configuration measure up against another? These factors play a crucial role in determining which thin client would be ideal for a company’s VDI project plan.
The following are key considerations when tailoring the perfect thin client solution for your VDI setup.
When evaluating thin client alternatives, the first thing to consider is how you wish to manage your endpoints. Can they be centrally managed and will you configure them similarly? This is important as it helps you to filter thin client solutions that enable policy settings for automatic compliance and implement a single profile for all endpoints with an identical configuration. Next, consider thin clients which can be deployed in your virtual desktop infrastructure environment with minimum time and effort. This makes it easier and quicker for even non-IT personnel to install and manage the system, therefore resulting in cost savings opportunities.
Thirdly, evaluate the type of remote display protocol support which you will receive from a specific thin client. Individual configurations offer varying levels of support and vendor-based thin client solutions are only compatible with that particular vendor’s protocol. Visit thin client product categories online and look for summaries detailing the features and capabilities of different configurations so that you can easily select one that offers maximum remote display protocol support. Moreover, read the standardized information for all thin clients. Review firmware details, the OS version of each thin client solution and any additional features that come with each endpoint.
Some organizations are yet to move on from technology of the past such as PCs, simply because they are in the process of realizing the great possibilities associated with migrating to thin client technology for VDI. One of these major benefits is security. Essentially, thin clients are designed to offer the same convenience which users have come to expect from PCs, but with an extra layer of security and a wide variety of management tools.
Industry level information security is paramount to VDI projects and session-based deployments. Protect sensitive client data by making unit-based thin client customizations and creating security configurations so that potential unauthorized access to specific applications and programs can be averted. Furthermore, since a centralized server stores data and applications in a thin client setting, possible interruptions or malware attacks that may present the threat of information loss are minimized. Any data that is lost can be retrieved effortlessly, therefore making thin clients solutions a viable investment in VDI environments for business continuity and data recovery purposes. Furthermore, users can also customize the level of security, performance and manageability in different thin client configurations to their unique business needs.
What is the energy consumption level of a server designated to support VDI using thin clients? This is quantifiable if we compare it against the proportion of power used by traditional PCs.
According to the statistics in a post featured by Computer Weekly, thin client endpoints and server virtualization both draw approximately 30% of the power of older PCs. This can lead to substantial cuts in power consumption for organizations that leverage VDI with server virtualization. In such a scenario, the virtual infrastructure is expected to draw at least 60-70% lesser energy load as compared to the present deployment. Thus, integrating virtual desktop infrastructure into thin clients minimizes carbon footprint, promotes environmentally sustainable computing practices and gives organizations an opportunity to reinvest their cost savings from electricity.
Also, while thin clients typically save around 15 watts on an hourly basis and consume about 1/50th of power to that of a thick client’s, the optimal level of energy efficiency you can achieve depends entirely on your IT requirements. In this case, you should consult a specialist to guide you through the process of selecting the most suitable thin client solution for cost-justifying an energy friendly VDI environment.
Using thin clients with virtual desktop infrastructure creates a streamlined and centralized management system. This is because reliable thin client solutions can significantly reduce downtime in a VDI environment by being effortlessly programmed to run specialized features that are mandatory for completing day-to-day tasks. Older technology including PCs are not feature and performance equivalent to thin clients in these terms, therefore making them more vulnerable to technicalities which require troubleshooting and maintenance.
Thin clients also have the capacity to identify and analyze bandwidth consumption requirements for different applications, therefore making them a network friendly solution for managing bottlenecks such as latency and packet loss that result in slowdowns. All these contribute to minimized downtime and congestion, therefore accelerating the end user experience and productivity. Also, while the percentage of downtime achieved by thin clients vary by configuration, a white paper by International Data Corporation (IDC) reveals that users who shifted from traditional PCs to thin clients experienced a percentage of 88% in worker downtime. Therefore, it is recommended that you consider an ideal thin client solution which has the capacity to minimize downtime along these lines.
Every thin client solution is purpose-built for maximum performance in VDI setups. However, consolidating thin clients into VDI environments will only be effective if an organization is clear about the long-term business goals it intends to achieve by undertaking such deployments. While all thin clients are designed to accelerate efficiency, security and scalability, the benefits offered by each configuration may differ from one another. For example, a business looking to fortify its computing platforms, practices and applications would prefer a thin client solution that simplifies management and integrates the highest possible level of security into its IT infrastructure. This is possible with the built-in virus-immune firmware system offered by thin clients that minimize the risk of potential endpoint malware and viruses. The firmware reduces the possibility of threats from sources such as local browsers, locally accessible file systems, open APIs and routine network security vulnerabilities.
Another common business aim of integrating thin client solutions into VDI is to increase the efficiency of IT systems and enhance end user experience. Begin by conducting research to discover thin clients which are compatible with VMware, Citrix and Microsoft desktop environments. This combination drives exemplary security, greatly scalable device management and stellar performance capabilities. Regardless of the thin client solution you integrate into your VDI setup, it all comes down to ensuring that your choice matches your needs in every possible way.
It all comes down to how thin client solutions offer an unparalleled VDI experience in terms of common IT deliverables. If we look at what should truly matter to businesses in this era of uncompromised performance, it is the ability to work faster and smarter than ever before. Thin client solutions offer just that and more. They enable users to run programs and applications on powerful servers, thus giving these endpoints faster processing speeds and graphics-intensive capabilities that are crucial for users transitioning to virtual desktop infrastructure.
Also, it is easier to choose thin client solutions simply by assessing the user type in your workplace. This is because thin clients have the ability to accommodate every possible type of user including task workers, multimedia knowledge workers and power users. There are cost-friendly, flexible and powerful endpoint solutions for users who operate everyday office and custom applications, graphically intensive or otherwise demanding assignments requiring full 3D, CAD or multimedia support.
Conclusively, every feature of individual thin clients is designed to ascertain that the end user gains the intended experience specific to their network, energy, consumption and overall business requirements.