Wyse, Citrix Partner for New High-Definition VDI for SMBs

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-05-12
 
 
 

SAN FRANCISCO - Virtual desktop software provider Citrix and thin-client maker Wyse Technology on May 12 introduced a new ultra-thin -- also called zero-client -- unit that is the size of a handheld device, replaces a standard client-server-based  desktop, and provides a secure connection to an enterprise system within an office environment.

The announcement was made on the first full day of Citrix Synergy 2010 at the Moscone Convention Center here.

A conventional thin client must utilize at least a basic operating system for the purposes of connecting to other computers. A trend that is beginning to get traction now is to use an ultra-thin client or a zero client, which uses no operating system.

The kernel in the processor instead initializes the network, starts the networking protocol, and handles display of the server output.

The Wyse Xenith, which is the first product to incorporate Citrix HDX high-definition virtual desktop software, casts a new light on  thin clients because it is basically plug and play.

"It requires no local configuration or management, has no attack surface for malware, auto-discovers XenDesktop right out of the box, and can launch a Windows desktop in literally six seconds," Wyse Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer Jeff McNaught told eWEEK.

"For the first time, IT decision-makers will not have to make tradeoffs in things like usability, security and end user performance," said McNaught, who led the design development for the new product.

Because there is no operating system, Xenith does not need to be configured prior to use or updated with the latest operating system patches, McNaught said. Boot time is instantaneous, viruses are never a concern because there is no OS, and the connection with XenDesktop is handled natively, he said.

Wyse and Citrix are aiming Xenith as their full-fledged entry into the SMB market. Both companies have focused almost exclusively on the large enterprise market for years.

The Xenith costs $329 and saves between $70 to $150 in power costs alone per PC/per year, McNaught said. "Companies have got to look at those numbers, if just for bottom-line considerations. Throw in all those features and HD, and you've got something to really consider," he said.

The Wyse Xenith zero client will be available in June 2010.  More information is available here.

Why the VDI market is heating up

The VDI market in general is getting more creative, and the idea itself starting to heat up as enterprises loosen their budget strings and contemplate alternatives to license- and patch-heavy Windows client-server systems.

New companies such as Kaviza, NComputing and Parallels offer lower-cost VDI alternatives for small and midsize businesses, while market leaders Hewlett-Packard, VMware and Citrix have traditionally aim for larger enterprises.

Kaviza provides built-in high availability, does not require shared storage and is a turnkey deployment. Parallels' offering features enterprise-class manageability tools while maintaining a familiar-looking user interface.

A couple of weeks ago, NComputing launched a new thin-client device that makes a PC perform exactly like a full-fledged Windows machine inside an enterprise network.

The NComputing L300 is a small, 4-inch-by-4-inch device that sits on a desktop, plugs into a standard Windows desktop or laptop, and basically turns it into a server. This enables several users within an office to share one computer through NComputing's own distributed-computing software.

The connected PCs then can add their own keyboards, mice and monitors.

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