Ncomputing is now offering a new take on the thin-client paradigm with its M300 3-in-1 Thin Client Kit for Virtual Desktops. The M300 was announced Feb. 23 and started shipping in late March. With a street price of around $400, Ncomputing is claiming that the M300 kit is less than a third of the cost of other VDI systems.
That claim is attributed to the fact that the M300 kit offers the capability to turn a single host PC into the network host for multiple thin clients and offers virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployment and management capabilities, as well as the benefits of host-based computing. In other words, Ncomputing is taking a hybrid approach to offering a thin client on the desktop.
Simply put, the M300 uses Ethernet as a delivery mechanism to transmit virtual machines to endpoints, similar in concept to what VDI does. However, unlike most VDI solutions, Ncomputing does not require a complete, dedicated infrastructure to be in place for a virtual machine to work. For the most part, the M300 works with existing infrastructures and leverages standard PCs to work as network hosts for the virtual machines, taking a page from the world of host-based computing.
While NComputings M300 (and related M-series products) may not be revolutionary, the technology does effectively tackle many of the pain points that IT pros have had to deal with in the past when pushing VDI or thin-client solutions. For example, the M300 does not require a complex, dedicated infrastructure to operate; also, everything needed to deploy thin clients is included with the product.
Typically with VDI deployments, multiple products from multiple vendors are needed to build a complete system. Ncomputing eliminates the need to purchase additional hypervisors, connection brokers, display protocol accelerators and so on. Ncomputings single-vendor approach makes deployment, management and operation much simpler than other VDI or thin-client solutions. Whats more, no additional licenses are needed to run Ncomputing's thin clients, helping to keep costs down and eliminating another management hassle.
The cornerstone piece of the M-series is the M300 thin client, a small piece of hardware that is responsible for replacing the traditional desktop PC. In brief, the M300 thin client is a small device that sports a VGA connection, Ethernet connection, USB connections, audio connections and so forth.
In short, the M300 thin client eliminates the desktop PC (or more correctly, the CPU) and offers a methodology to plug in a monitor, keyboard, mouse and other devices directly into the networkhence, a true thin client.
Of course, there is more to the M300 than a thin client. The M300 is the designation for a 3-in-1 Thin Client Kit for Virtual Desktops. In other words, the M300 kit includes three thin-client devices, NComputings vSpace Server desktop virtualization software, as well as remote management software, and a few other bits and pieces. Whats more, the M300 thin client offers more than just typical PC component support, it offers USB 2.0, as well as that ability to handle multimedia, as well as video chats, voice over IP calls and so on. In short, it offers the power of a desktop PC without the costs or hassles.
Ncomputing is not the only player in the thin-client space; others, such as Pano Logic, Wyse and HP, ship some form of a thin client. However, Ncomputing takes a different tack and combines everything needed into a single SKU for three thin-client devices. Another major difference between Ncomputing and the competition is in the ease of deployment, which is enhanced by Ncomputings single-vendor approach and wizard-driven installation.