Too Much Variety
Too Much Variety With the proliferation of thin clientsor not-so-thin clients, in Lockers viewa new problem arises for senior IT managers: variety.Companies pick from many hardware types, ranging from traditional thin clients to server-based virtual desktops, in addition to modified desktop PCs. Thus, companies such as Ardence and, to some extent, VMware, are emphasizing software, leaving the hardware choices up to customers. The Software-Streaming Platform from Ardencewhich transmits a users desktop image to his or her screenrelies on back-end servers more for file serving than for processing. Thus, when using a shared image, which is the same for all users, it can support as many as 200 to 250 clients per server. Those clients can be diskless PCs, such as Dells, or older PCs whose hard drives have been removed. Given that they use PCs, drawbacks such as showing multimedia files are lessened, said Jeff Hibbard, Ardences vice president of marketing, in Waltham, Mass. "When I turn my PC on, I choose, do I want to be on Channel 1 or Channel 2? Once booted, I have full Windowsits all running locally on my PCand I get the full, rich experience," Hibbard said. However, "if someone stole a box that had intelligence data on it, thered be nothing in that box." And that appeals to customers such as New London Hospitals Foss. "Its great to know that physical piece of hardware will have little to no value to anyone once it leaves this place," he said. Thin-Client Flavors Blades: Acting either as stand-ins for single desktopsin a blade desktop productor as hosts for multiple users desktop environments, these machines literally move the desktop, its data and all processing to the server room, allowing data, applications and operating systems to be accessed remotely. Prices: $1,200 to $2,600 Thin Clients: Sometimes called Windows terminals, thin clients operate off a central server that hosts data and specific applications but retain an operating system and handle some computing on the desktop. Prices range from about $300 to $700 or more. The In-Between: The alternative to traditional thin clients and blades is the PC. So-called diskless PCsdesktop computers without hard drivesreceive their applications and data from servers. Corporate desktops generally range from $350 and up. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing. Click here to read reader response to this article.
The rising number of choices among thin clients can complicate a decision, ODonnell said.