RealTime IT News

Wyse to VMware: 'Hey There'

Thin client specialist Wyse Technology announced it's collaborating with virtualization leader VMware on a new virtualization solution.

Wyse said its thin clients can now take advantage of VMware's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) to enable IT to manage desktops as virtual machines on servers in the data center.

The new Wyse Thin OS-VDI Edition is designed to simplify deployment of virtual desktop architectures with a single pushbutton “power on to work” feature.

Thin client devices, like those offered by Wyse, HP,  Sun  and others, have the advantage of being far smaller, more energy efficient and easier to manage than desktop computers.

Wyse said its S Class thin device line is the first built for the VDI architecture.

"Thin clients are a perfect match for what VMware offers," Bob O'Donnel, analyst with IDC, told internetnews.com. "Virtualization has been focused on the server side, but enterprises are increasingly looking to the client side. This is a good step for Wyse."

The advantages of thin clients as a more cost-effective alternative to PCs have been touted for years. They haven't gained much traction beyond certain niche areas, like call centers and hospitals, but O'Donnel said there are new factors in play that favor companies like Wyse.

"Thin clients have a tiny percentage of the overall PC market, but in the market for enterprise desktops, we're seeing growth. Fear is driving a lot of the interest in thin clients.

"There are so many stories of corporations being brought to their knees by a security breach or a stolen notebook. The IT guys realize if something like that happens they are seriously out of a job."

With a thin client there is essentially nothing to steal but the hardware itself because all the files and applications are on the server.

"Being able to take the data off the PC and move it securely to the data center is a huge advantage," said Jerry Chen, director of enterprise desktop at VMware.

On the management side, there are growing number of solutions that allow IT to manage PCs remotely without having to physically open them up for service or upgrades. But Chen notes thin clients have additional advantages such as not having to be turned on to be accessed. They are also simpler hardware devices, designed to last longer than PCs.

The Wyse thin client delivers the "visual performance" of a 1.8 GHz PC and uses 90 percent less energy than an Energy Star PC, according to Jeff McNaught, vice president of marketing and customer support at Wyse. "It uses about the same amount of power as a Christmas tree light," said McNaught.

One large nationwide retailer reported saving $4.7 million in energy costs, according to McNaught, by switching to Wyse thin clients. The company has deployed more than 70,000 Wyse thin clients.

A Thin Preview

At the VMware World conference this November in Los Angeles, Wyse plans to introduced a new thin client device smaller than its current book-sized unit.

"It will be close to the size of a deck of cards, maybe even smaller," said McNaught.

Wyse also plans to roll out new PC-like features that its thin client currently lacks.

For example, Wyse plans to add the ability to connect USB devices, such as the popular keychain storage devices, to transfer files.

McNaught said the USB connection would work "in a way that IT wants it to work, so it can authorize who can transfer files."