Wyse adds support for virtual desktops

Virtual PCs on every desktop as virtualisation market heats up

Thin computing specialist Wyse Technology has launched a new version of its popular Wyse S10 thin client, optimised for use with the recently announced VMWare Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).

The traditional model for server based computing connects thin client devices to desktops running on shared application servers. Typically servers running Windows Terminal Services combined with Citrix Presentation Manager.

According to David Angwin, senor marketing manager for Wyse Technology in northern Europe, VDI does away with that dependence, with each thin client connected to a dedicated virtual PC hosted on a secure server running VMWare.

"Instead of a hosted session, each user gets their own dedicated PC and their own applications," explains Angwin "but that PC is virtual."

The thin client connects to the virtual PC using Microsoft's RDP protocol with extensions added to the new Wyse S10 VDI edition to provide seamless connectivity. Most notably a feature Wyse calls "power on to work" whereby users are automatically connected to their PC as soon as they switch on the thin client.

Special brokering and management software is required for this to happen, such as Virtual Desktop Connection Broker from Leostream, Propero Workspace and ClearCube Sentral . This software can be configured to connect users to the same dedicated PC each time or allocate virtual machines dynamically based on user requirements and availability.

IBM is another vendor with an offering in this market with its Virtual Hosted Client Infrastructure, while Citrix is also known to be developing a desktop brokering tool. However everything so far has been designed to work with VMWare and, although the market leader, other virtualisation platforms could be used.

To date there have been no actual product announcements but similar thin client desktop solutions for use with Microsoft Virtual Server and Xen virtual machines are on the cards.

In the meantime the new Wyse S10 - VDI Edition will sell at the same price - 201 ex. VAT - as the existing product. However, based on the Wyse's own Thin O/S software the S10 is a cheap entry level terminal and restricted in terms of functionality with no multimedia or local USB facilities.

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