Comprehensive guide to using cheap thin clients for VDI

Last updated:July 2016

Editor's note

Users can access virtual desktops from traditional PCs, thin clients, zero clients and even mobile devices using an HTML5 browser, but not all endpoints are created equal, particularly in terms of price.

A fully functional PC armed to the teeth with features, for example, costs a lot more than a zero client, which is little more than a keyboard, mouse and Ethernet connection. Or IT can choose the middle ground and use cheap thin clients such as Raspberry Pis and Google Chromebooks. In addition to the initial hardware savings, these low-cost VDI thin clients are also simple to manage, include security features and are easy to replace, so organizations won't rack up any big expenses down the line, either.

Take a closer look at the options for cheap thin clients, discover what to look for in a quality VDI client and learn what's preventing Chromebook laptops and Raspberry Pis from more widespread adoption.

1Raspberry Pi devices come cheap

One of the cheapest VDI thin clients on the market is the Raspberry Pi single-board computer, starting at a modest $35 each. They run Linux and because Raspberry Pis are such basic computing devices, they are often easier for IT to manage than more expensive VDI clients. See what Citrix is doing to push the Raspberry Pi 3 closer to widespread enterprise adoption and learn how IT administrators should prepare for these cheap thin clients.

2Google Chromebooks make their case

Google's Chromebook laptops are another cheap thin client option -- and viable for VDI. The Chromebook is as secure as many traditional PCs, performing a verified boot upon each login to check if anything on the device is compromised. If the device notices a problem, it automatically resets itself. Uncover some of the reasons why Google Chromebooks haven't caught on yet in the enterprise, how to make them more business-friendly and what the future holds.