Zero Client VendorsBy Frank Ohlhorst | Posted 2010-04-27 Email Print
Virtualization has changed the cost structure of the data center, and now it can change the cost center of managing a fleet of end-user clients. Here’s a look at the promise of zero client technologies, a list of the players, and how they can make a difference for IT organizations.
For example, Pano Logic offers a small hardware device that works with VMWare’s ESX Server hypervisor, where a virtual PC is created in the data center
and delivered over an IP connection to the Pano device, which handles transferring all I/O between the desktop peripherals and the hypervisor based PC.
Digi approaches the zero client environment with their PCoIP (PC over IP) based ConnectPort Display technology. With ConnectPort, a dedicated PC or blade is located in the datacenter and functions as the remote PC, all I/O is converted into an IP carried protocol which the ConnectPort Port Display device delivers to the user’s monitor, while all peripheral activity is passed back to the datacenter.
Wyse combines multiple technologies to deliver a zero client solution. The company offers their WSM appliance (or WSM provisioning software), which runs in the datacenter to deliver PC desktops out to the company’s zero client devices. WSM can be combined with virtualization to build out a VDI solution.
Teradici approach has its roots in PCoIP technology.
The earliest Teradici zero client solutions involved placing a PCI card into a host PC, which then redirected all I/O over IP to a piece of zero client hardware located at the desktop. The company has recently partnered with VMware to create a virtualized version of the host PC, which changes the zero client relationship from one user mapped to one physical PC to a one (virtualized PCs on server) to many relationship.
N-Computing combines the traditional zero client device with VDI in the form of their L300 solution. A small device sits at the user’s desk, which replaces the PC. That device uses IP to connect back to the datacenter, where a server is running N-Computing’s vSpace virtualization software provides the virtual desktop. The L300 can be further integrated with VMware or Citrix technologies to incorporate advance monitoring and management technologies.
The impact on the channel
Although Zero client technology is still in its infancy, it will have a growing impact on the enterprise, especially when one considers the savings of scale. As zero clients replace desktop PCs, operational, management and services costs will also decrease. The key for solution providers is to be ready for the transition and be able to step in when businesses seek to pilot zero client solutions. Solution providers will be able to provide hardware, software and most importantly, the services to make the pilot a success, which in turn build a customer relationship where the solution provider can offer a range of services and solutions. Those services and solutions include business continuity, disaster recovery, security, remote management and many more.
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