HP announced the newest addition to the top of their thin client device line. The t820 series focuses on delivering the highest level of performing thin clients, targeting users that historically have not been able to use thin clients in the past. In a press release on August 19th, “There is new and growing demand in today’s market for quad-core processing and multimedia graphics on thin clients,” said Jeff Groudan, marketing director, Thin Clients, HP. “With the HP t820, we’ve delivered a more advanced thin client solution to give companies the speed and performance required for their most demanding applications.”
Multiple Intel® Core™ i5 or Intel Pentium® processors
Video capabilities to support up to seven (7) high-definition monitors
Advanced Security Features:
-Fiber-optic networking option
-Intel® vPro™ technology
-BIOS implemented to NIST guidelines and TPM Chipset. (http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/drafts/800-155/draft-SP800-155_Dec2011.pdf)
Microsoft Windows® Embedded Standard (WES) 7 E operating systems
Upward Trend for Thin Clients
According to a recent IDC report, Thin Clients make up a majority of desktop devices in large enterprises. As the adoption of virtual desktops grows, many organizations are realizing the benefit of a lighter impact endpoint computing device, but still need to deliver high quality audio and video, in and out of band of the virtual desktop sessions. Financial Services, Architecture and Engineering and Public Sector organizations were verticals where the greatest application demands of video performance has presented challenges for thin client vendors in the past. HP is targeting these specific users with the t820 devices. With the advancing vGPU implementations by the virtual desktop vendors; financial modeling, market data and computer aided design (CAD) applications are now capable of being delivered remotely to users who traditionally needed high powered workstations, reducing the cost and flexibility of deployment.
In a customer round table discussion I attended, that represented medium to large organizations, there was a lengthy discussion on thin clients, and it reinforced the IDC statements about the adoption and use of thin clients as a preferred desktop device. For this group, the Windows Embedded devices are becoming the platform of choice as they are looking to provide audio, video and unified communications along with virtual desktops. Non Windows devices face issues with single sign-on integration, and these customers are looking to take advantage of all the unified communication features (IM, voice dialing, video conferencing) specifically of Microsoft Lync, which requires a Windows operating system. To them the non-Windows thin clients lag behind in features and performance, and often requiring optimization tools to provide nearly the the same level of services. There is still a very strong case for non-windows devices, especially in the retail/branch locations where bandwidth back to the data centers are limited. These devices often have a small system footprint and are easy to maintain and update.
Some attendees have taken the steps to extend the life of their existing PCs by re-purposing them with a locked down instance of Windows 7, mimicking the control they get with the thin client devices. For them the management of the base Windows operating system is something they have operational maturity around. When these devices do finally expire, they are often replaced with a new thin client terminal. The end user performance is so critical to them, that not only will they provide them with an high performing end point device, but they will allocate dedicated storage of up to 100GB and RAM of 6-8GB for each virtual desktop session. For them, the users need to have like-local performance.
Security is a Concern
These organizations have a growing remote computing population, and a surprisingly low number of them actually implement a BYO-PC program to connect into the corporate network. The complexity of ensuring an employee’s device meets corporate compliance and security requirements is too high, and any issues of support become the responsibility of the company. For these users, a pre-configured thin client is often provided. Admittedly their users are not accessing government secrets, but one the use of the remote thin clients ensures that inappropriate content is kept out, while intellectual property is kept within their control. HP has seen some recent public sector success with organizations like the U.S. Navy making strategic investments in stationary and mobile thin clients for the primary purpose of secure access to applications and data.
Thin client and virtual desktop use is on the rise, and it can be attributed to the advancements in protocol and video acceleration in the datacenter and more powerful endpoint devices that are resulting in an increased number of viable use cases that provide excellent end user experience. Follow the link to read the full HP press release
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