Companies that use virtual desktops have more thin client options this month, as Hewlett-Packard and Dell Wyse have both delivered updated versions that dispatch a better end-user experience.
Hewlett-Packard (HP) launched its t820 Flexible Series Thin Client, which provides enhanced performance, clearer graphics, support of multiple displays and a secure connection. Dell Inc. released this week the Dell Wyse D10DP with multimonitor and full PC over IP (PCoIP) support.
While Dell, HP and other thin client makers continue to churn out devices to compete with one another, most enterprises will stay with the same vendor because of comfort, familiarity and, more importantly, the compatibility with the management tools they're using, said Bob O'Donnell, vice president of client and display research for IDC, based in Framingham, Mass.
Thin clients are generally easy to manage and cost less compared with PCs, but when virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is factored in to the price, the cost goes up.
"While thin clients are cheap themselves, you have to have a lot of servers, virtual clients and licenses to run them," O'Donnell said. "The cost of infrastructure to support thin clients makes them expensive and can get complicated."
The latest thin clients from HP
Even though thin clients are secure, security is amped up in the HP t820 release for industries that need added security, said Jeff Groudan, director of HP's worldwide thin client product management in Houston.
It has also been enhanced with fiber-optic networking, Intel Corp.'s vPro technology, a basic I/O system implemented to the National Institute of Standards and Technology's guidelines, and the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) Chipset. Pre-boot authentication and connections also allow users in private industries to securely log on to their protected network.
Performance and graphics are also improved, and a built-in Video Graphics Array (VGA) video port and Display Port 1.2 enhance functionality and support running on multiple HD monitors.
While there are some environments that need multimonitor support, it's a niche use, said David Johnson, principal analyst at Forrester Research Inc.
"It's a great idea, but not many people need four monitors," O'Donnell said. "Some enterprises, such as ones in the finance industry, could benefit from those."
The t820 supports higher-end computing needs than what most thin clients provide, such as graphic design, Johnson said.
It also includes HP's previously released Velocity software to improve the user experience by automatically adapting to changing network conditions.
Overall, the HP t820 should make it easier for organizations to manage desktop environments, but the company could improve virtual desktop management further, Johnson said.
"They need tighter ties between the data center, software and the thin client," Johnson said. "It's easier to manage an end-to-end system that way. They're in a good position to do that, but they aren't doing as much as they possibly could. They need to get into next generation of converged infrastructure."
In addition, the HP WS460c Gen8 Graphics Server Blade was updated with new NVIDIA GRID graphics cards aimed at virtualized environments. It also lowers the cost per user while delivering higher levels of graphics performance. The new NVIDIA GRID K1 and K2 GPU adapters also enable multiple media-rich PC or high-end graphics users per blade by providing graphics capability to each virtual machine.
The HP t820 starts at $500 and will be available worldwide in November. The HP Graphics Server Blade is planned to be available worldwide this fall. Pricing starts at just under $9,000.
Dell thin client goes multiprotocol
Dell Wyse's new D10DP supports PCoIP for VMware View environments and three remote display protocols, Microsoft RemoteFX, Citrix HDX and PCoIP, said Jeff McNaught, a spokesperson for Dell Wyse Cloud Client Computing, based in San Jose, Calif.
It also includes a dual-core processor with 1.4 GHz, along with full HD, full-frame multimedia, and can support dual displays. The D10DP includes an AMD processor with a Radeon HD 6250 graphics card, but it doesn't include GPU virtualization through an NVIDIA graphics card on the client itself; there is NVIDIA support in the back end on the server.
Dell also touts that its thin client is highly secure and malware-resistant.
"It's the only virus-immune thin client," McNaught said. "No known virus or hacker can break into or remotely control our devices."
However, thin clients, in general, are.
"Virtually all thin clients are virus-free," O'Donnell said. "Dell and HP both offer similar conceptions, and all have a feature of being virus-free."
This device will ship in late September, and the price is not yet available.
Site editor Alyssa Wood contributed to this report.