At HP, Thin Is In (Thin Clients, That Is)
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|The HP Multiseat's ms6000 desktop PC and MultiSeat t100 Thin Client access device|
While it's often the sexy new PC workstation or powerful new servers that grab the headlines in the IT space, thin computing systems remain widely deployed and key infrastructure for a vast assortment of industries and applications ranging from small businesses and enterprise workgroups in developed markets to community Internet kiosks in emerging markets. Retailing, heavy industry, digital signage and kiosks, education, libraries and Net cafes have all come to rely on thin computing, to name but a few sectors.
Yet like the rest of the tech industry, times are changing in thin computing, with end users demanding increasingly advanced capabilities like multimedia while businesses seek to simplify management and keep costs under control.
That's where HP (NYSE: HPQ) aims to come in, with a new lineup of thin clients, servers, software and solutions.
HP t5745 Flexible Series thin client
Click to enlarge.
The new offerings also include the ultra-tiny t5325 Essential Series device, which provides a compact package containing all the hardware necessary for basic thin client Web and multimedia activity.
All three new thin client additions include new easier-to-use configuration and management interfaces for Linux and Windows.
Then there's the massive, 47-inch HP LD4700 Widescreen LCD Digital Signage -- a piece of thin client hardware aimed at uses like 24/7 displays.
On the server side, there's the HP ProLiant WS460c G6 Blade Workstation. At the same time, HP also talked up three new client virtualization architectures -- Citrix XenDesktop 4, Citrix XenApp and VMware View -- for use in connection with HP ProLiant servers.
In connection with the launches, HP also introduced new workshops and pilot programs designed to help customers understand and test new thin client setups.
Pricing for HP's t5740 and t5745 Flexible Series thin clients starts at $399, while the t5325 Essential Series thin client device begins at $199. Both the t5740 and t5745 are now available, while the t5325 is slated to ship Dec. 1.
The HP LD4700 Digital Signage starts at $1,799, while HP's ProLiant WS460c G6 Blade workstation starts at $3,044. Both are available today.
A number of new offerings target the educational market. HP MultiSeat enables one PC to serve multiple students, each with their own dedicated keyboard, mouse, monitor and audio -- a design aimed especially at scenarios like classroom labs. Perhaps not surprisingly, the idea is finding resonance among cash-strapped school districts who want to get more students equipped with PCs, HP said.
HP's new TeachNow software is also designed for the PC-centric classroom, enabling a teacher to create lesson plans and remotely restart any of their students' troublesome systems. It also acts as a streaming software server, enabling teachers or school IT to stream fresh copies of the OS and applications to students' machines.
HP TeachNow in action
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There's also HP SchoolCloud, which creates a private cloud hosted on school servers that gives access to files, applications and data for students both on-site and from home. Administrators can also use HP SchoolCloud to generate and view analytical data on students' and classes' application and computer usage -- and can correlate that to demographic or testing data to map out trends.
Behind many of the new solutions are still more hardware and software additions to HP's lineup.
The hub design of HP MultiSeat relies on the HP Compaq MultiSeat ms6000 desktop PC at its core, with MultiSeat t100 Thin Client access devices for each student -- tiny, USB appliances that attach to a host computer, each giving an individual user their own display and peripherals.
The ms6000 desktop runs Windows MultiPoint Server 2010, Microsoft's newly released software that enables just such hub-like configurations. The setup can handle up to 10 students, HP said.
HP SchoolCloud is available now, the company said, while it expects to ship TeachNow later this year. HP MultiSeat will become available early in 2010.