Archive for the ‘VDI’ Category

Choose Your Technology Partners WYSE-ly

March 27, 2011

We recently sponsored a day long technology event based around “the cloud” and virtualization.  For our company it was a 1st annual event so to say we had a lot riding on the outcome is an understatement.  We had sponsorship from the primary manufactures that we are VAR’s for, EMC – Cisco and VMware as well as many other key technology vendors which graciously invested their time, money and resources in the event.

One of the biggest challenges for this event was the two live virtual desktop labs we had setup throughout the event.  This gave people the opporunity to play around with Citrix XenDesktop and VMware View and see what they could do.  For any of you who have attended trade shows or events that have had labs go sideways you know what a disaster this can be.  We had over 200 people cycling through these labs so failure was not even remotely an option.  The portable labs didn’t have me too worried as I knew we had our crack team of VDI Ninjas working as hard as possible for weeks prior to the event to make things stable and fast for the final show.  What I was a little worried about was where I was going to get 50 thin clients capable of showing off all the capabilities of Citrix and VMware….. WYSE to the rescue.

We’ve been resellers of WYSE for several years now and they continue to impress me both with the quality of products they put out and the quality of personel and customer service we always seem to get from them.  For these reasons WYSE is almost always the first product we recommend to customers looking for thin clients for their VDI environments.  So let me get back on my soapbox about quality people and customer service for a minute.  Here I was needing 50 loaner thin clients for a 1st annual event with no historical attendance numbers.  To say the least I really didn’t think it would be possible to get that may devices in the short time frame that I need them in but I picked up the phone and called our WYSE representative.  I explained the event we had planned and within 2 days everything had been worked out.  I had been put in touch with multiple people from WYSE Corporate from engineering to marketing – each one extremely helpful and willing to help our event be a success.

This experience is exactly what we get when  we call asking for 1 or 2 demo devices for clients to use in their environments as well as 50 for a trade show.  There is very little paperwork, no hassle and a genuine desire to do what ever it takes make people believe in their products and technologies.

So I’d like to use my blog this week to say THANK YOU to WYSE for their help over the past few weeks and encourage anyone interested in thin computing to take a look at what WYSE has to offer – you won’t be disappointed.

Remove the Client from Your Thin-Client (Sort of)

December 12, 2010

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is certainly nothing new but it is becoming more and more common in the market place.  There are very good solutions from all the major technology players like Microsoft, Citrix and VMware.  With VDI you are essentially moving your “desktop” to the datacenter and basically controlling your desktop as a remote session.  To do this you still need some sort of “client” to enable you to connect to that session.  There are lots of options out there but most have traditionally been small, dumb, “Thin Clients” with very little memory, no hard drive and keyboard, mouse and monitor connections.  There are other options like converting your desktop to a thin client or using something like an iPad but for the most part the dumb little thin client box is the most common.  The thin client has little or no moving parts and draws very little energy compared to a traditional desktop.  I would say they’re “cheap” but that could be argued either way with the falling costs of desktops and laptops.  Lets just say they are, for the most part, “more cost effective”.

Looking at the biggest players in the thin client market you’ll probably come up with Wyse and HP as the largest and then serveral other smaller companies like ChipPC, Pano Logic and several others.  One you probably wouldn’t think of is Samsung.  For awesome flat screen tv’s, absolutely, but thin clients?  Samsung came up with a very attactive option for thin computing – just a monitor.  I’d heard of these a few months back but really never had any first hand feed back on how well they worked until recently. The idea is simple, build the thin client right into the monitor itself.  Let’s face it the monitor is the one thing you just can’t get rid of no matter what your solution.  So I talked to one of our clients last week that recently implemented a few of these new thin client and they have been real happy with it.  It is a very clean solution.  No little boxes with cables coming out all over the place – just a monitor with a keyboard and mouse hooked up and one power cord.

The TC240 is a  24” LCD monitor with full feature thin-client.  It is capable of at least 1280 x 1024 resolution, have 256MB of RAM a 1Gb ethernet connection and a USB hub built in.  The thin client OS is Windows XPe to give you great flexibility and power.  You can find full specs for the TC240 here:

http://www.samsung.com/ca/consumer/office/monitors/lcd/LF24MGSLBM/ZA/index.idx?pagetype=prd_detail

Looking for a PCoIP solution in a smaller monitor – they have that too.  Take a look at the 19” NC190 here:  http://www.samsung.com/us/business/monitors/LF19PPBCBNA/ZA

I really like these Samsung monitor/thin clients as a VDI option just due to their pure simplicity.  Slap a monitor on the desk and hook it into your Citrix XenDesktop or VMware View environment and your good to go.  The only downside I have noted is there isn’t a model with built in wireless available.

Repurposing Old PC’s

October 22, 2010

Let’s face it, the concept of VDI and virtual desktops is definitely not new news.  The technology has been around for a long time and has proven to be a cost effective model for desktop deployment for more and more companies.  What we are seeing as a reseller of both VMware and Citrix, arguably two of the biggest players in this market, is that many companies are just now starting to consider VDI as they look at having to replace hundreds or even thousands of their pc’s.

May customers own their pc’s but the hardware capabilities just can’t keep up with newer operating systems like Windows 7 so VDI is a very viable option.  A problem we see over and over is restricted budgets.  As customers look at replacing say a $500 desktop that they already own with a $200-300 thin client, there is some “savings” depending on how you look at it but at the end of the day you still end up purchasing more equipment.  An obvious solution to this problem is to turn those older PC’s into thin clients.

The question we get as a reseller is “What should we use to convert our PC’s to thin clients?”.  There are several solutions out there, some of them even free but we typically recommend 2 in particular, purely based on our experience with the products and the manufactures.  Below is a list of some of the features and benefits of the two products.

WYSE PC Extender

  • Well established company know for quality thin clients
  • Easy to deploy and manage.  Has a centralized management program that allows you to manage and configure all of your PC’s remotely for things like system updates.
  • Support for Citrix ICA/HDX, VMware View (PcoIP) and Microsoft RDP
  • Based on SUSE Linux
  • Auto Central Configuration and Auto Update capabilities
  • Local/Remote printer support
  • WYSE TCX support for multimedia, USB, sound and flash
  • WYSE Virtual Desktop Accelerator for better performance across high latency links
  • Minimum Hardware requirements **
    • 1Ghz Processor
    • 512MB RAM
      • ** May not work on all hardware

 

DevonIT VDI Blaster

  • Easy to deploy and manage.  Has a centralized management program that allows you to manage and configure all of your PC’s remotely for things like system updates.
  • Support for Citrix ICA/HDX, VMware View (PcoIP) and Microsoft RDP
  • Can be setup for dual-boot on existing XP desktop so you can keep the core XP image alive
  • Will work on most hardware that is capable of running Windows XP

Both the WYSE and DevonIT solutions will run for around $30 or less per desktop which is very reasonable when you look at the cost of an average thin client.  So if you’re considering going the VDI route in your environment you may want to take a look as one of these products.

 

WYSE TCX Flash Redirection

June 26, 2009

When it comes to Thin Client computing there are several questions that typically come up.  The big one is usually “What about video performance?”.   Video performance was typically subpar or “choppy”, how choppy usually depending on what protocol (ICA or RDP) you were using.  WYSE responded with it TCX Multimedia Redirection software which significantly improved video performance by redirecting the processing associated with certain video files to the local client.

Now with the advent of more and more flash content in web pages and web apps, “What about flash video performance?” is becoming a much bigger concern.  Yet again WYSE is answering the call with its new TCX Flash Redirection software (still in BETA).  Whereas TCX Multimedia redirects video files to the local client, TCX Flash redirects flash video.  Now your end users can watch YouTube videos all day at work with minimal irritation and stop calling the help desk to complain.

Speaking of YouTube…..there is a good YouTube video demonstrating the flash video performance both with and without TCX enabled.  You can check it out here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4rPs84-FgY

Here is a little technical documentation about the product as well:

TCX server components required for TCX Flash Redirection Tech Preview

–          Rich sound Server  ver.1.1.7

Supported Thin Clients:

–          V class and R class with XPe (WFR2 SP2 & WES) and

                                i) Rich sound Client ver. 1.1.7  (Only for Xpe Clients)

                                ii) MMR client ver.1.24.0.0  (Only for Xpe Clients)             

–          V class Wyse Thin OS client (6.3.0_25)

Supported 32-bit operating system platforms:

–          XP Pro SP3

–          Vista (all flavors)

–          Windows 2003 Enterprise SP2

–          XenApp 4.5 & 5.0

Supported Protocols:

–          Microsoft RDP

–          Citrix ICA

–          Citrix PortICA

Supported Connection Brokers:

–          VMware View

–          Citrix XenDesktop

Supported Browsers:

–          Internet Explore Version 6

–          Internet Explore Version 7

WYSE Thin Clients in Your Environment

March 8, 2009

As VDI is used more and more across the enterprise, the use of thin clients becomes an obvious choice when it comes time to replace client hardware.  Some of the advantages to going the thin client route are:

          Cost – Thin clients are usually half the cost or less of a standard PC.  Prices can range from $200 to $500 generally.  Thin clients also need much less maintenance and support which is a huge cost for any company.

          Footprint – Thin clients take up a fraction of the physical footprint of a PC but more importantly they have a fraction of the carbon-footprint.  These devices usually draw around 10W of power compared to 80W+ of a PC.  If your company has hundreds or thousands of desktops this can mean significant savings on your power bill.

          Longer Refresh Cycles – because thin clients have no moving parts they don’t need to be replaced as often.  Where we see typical refresh cycles on desktops and laptops of 3 to 5 years, thin clients can go twice as long.  This also translated in to big savings for companies with a large desktop infrastructure.

There are many different manufactures for thin clients but perhaps the largest and most popular is WYSE.  WYSE makes a wide range of thin client devices from the most basic all the way up to a thin laptop client.  They also develop software specifically in this space such as their TCX Multimedia and multi-display capabilities. 

There are several “OS” choices to consider when you are looking in to thin clients for your environment.  You have 4 choices from WYSE:

          WYSE Thin OS – The simplest and lightest weight of the 4.  This is perfect for your most basic client needs.  It supports ICA and RDP protocols and is very inexpensive.  Examples:  S10, V10L

          Windows CE – The mid-range client OS which adds a local IE client and support USB CD-ROMs, ZIP drives and Smart Cards.

          Linux v6 – A full function scalable OS with a local copy of Firefox and Java.  It is fully customizable and supports all the functionality you would probably need.

          Windows XPe – The most robust of the 4.  Essentially a thinned down version of Windows XP.  Enables the ability to run local applications including video and Java.

I recently sat through a presentation from Citrix and WYSE demonstrating their latest and greatest and was very impressed.  If you are considering implementing a VDI solution for your business you should definitely check out their product line.  In most cases WYSE will give you free demo product to try-out for yourself.  www.wyse.com

VMware View 3 Multimedia Performance

February 15, 2009

VMware View 3 Multimedia Performance

Implementing a VDI infrastructure in your environment can have lots of advantages including simplified management and lower hardware costs.  This is attractive to most companies but one concern that almost always comes up is that of performance, in particular multimedia performance.  How well will video and other multimedia files perform over a VDI session and will they be tolerable to the end users?

The last thing any IT admin or manager wants is a bunch of end users screaming that their YouTube videos or Windows Media files (purely business related of course) are choppy and impossible to watch.  The newest version of VMware View 3 integrates a technology from WYSE called TCX to help overcome this shortcoming.  TCX has a server and client component which detects certain types of files and redirects them to the local device (Thin Client) and works with RDP.  More info on TCX can be found on WYSE’s website.  http://www.wyse.com/products/software/tcx/index.asp

VDI still has its challenges but the list is getting shorter.  Better multimedia performance and the ability to check out sessions and work offline (experimental) are just a few of the things that has addressed in its latest release of View.  Check it out.

VECD Licensing Made Easy/Easier

January 22, 2009

After my last blog entry regarding Microsoft VECD licensing it appears I was still confused.  Here is the way VECD licensing works (really this time).

 

 

 

 

The Clients:

          Licensing must be purchased through the Microsoft Open Value Program which is a 3yr subscription

          For desktop/laptop Clients the OS must be upgraded to Software Assurance licensing for Vista

o   If the Client OS was purchased more than 90 days ago it will need a Vista Upgrade with SA.                   

§  MFG #:  66J-01442          

o   If the Client OS was purchased less than 90 days ago it needs a Vista SA Upgrade.

§  MFG #:  66J-01287           

          For Thin Clients there is no Software Assurance licensing to worry about

 

The VECD License:

          Once the client is licensed correctly as described above you also need a VECD license to cover the virtual desktop.  There must be 1 VECD license per client.  Each client can connect to up to 4 concurrent VDI session at one time per VECD license.

          For Desktop/Laptop Clients:

o   VECD License

§  MFG #:  DSA-00050         

          For Thin Clients:

o   VECD License

§  MFG #:  DTA-00051         

 

Note:  To start an Open Value agreement with Microsoft requires a minimum purchase of 5 Microsoft Licenses in any combination.  This can be for Windows OS, VECD, Office, …..”