Feeds

Wyse words mate

Not having to think is grand

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Sysadmin blog Next year is Wyse’s 30th anniversary. The company rose to fame during the 1980s with terminal emulation thin clients, and although it had a brief flirtation with own-brand PCs it is its focus on thin clients that has made this company famous.

Today, Wyse specialises in the client side of remote computing and desktop virtualisation. Partnering with companies such as Microsoft, Citrix and VMWare has enabled it to build low-power embedded systems tailored to the needs of remote workers. When I say low power, that is something of an understatement: the C90LEWs I have in service pull less than 7W under full load, which is nearly 90 per cent less power than the desktops these systems replaced. Even factoring in the extra server load, my Wyse + Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) deployment has resulted in over 75 per cent power savings.

Whenever I have mentioned my Wyse deployment the topic has generated more interest than anything else in my mailbag. The main question is not “should all the desktops we are using essentially as thin clients be replaced?” but rather “with what shall we replace them?”

In our case, the Wyse thin clients have performed brilliantly. The flavour we bought was Windows Embedded Standard 2009 but Wyse thin clients come in Linux ThinOS and Windows 7 Embedded versions as well. Ours were reasonably cheap at about $500 (£340) a pop and do pretty much exactly what they say on the tin.

There are some niggles. One problem is combining video and RDP. We purchased the Wyse TCX suite, software that speeds up certain video Codecs or flash and also supports things like USB pass-through. In theory, Wyse will offload the video and flash acceleration to the thin client hardware you are using, allowing you to use multimedia through an RDP session in a seamless fashion.

When it works, it works well. I have watched a 720P movie over a WAN link with TCX. Real world usage is another story. The TCX suite causes IE in my Windows 7 VMs to randomly crash. Similarly, it only seems to accelerate a narrow band of video Codecs and then only when played within Windows Media Player. I ended up abandoning it for all but USB pass-through and using VLC on the local thin client for those rare instances in which my users required video.

That brings me to the big compromise. The C series Wyse clients are woefully underpowered, If you use a barcode scanner to enter information into an RDP session you absolutely must set your RDP connection’s “Apply Windows key combinations” to “on the local computer.” Similarly, without some nearly impossible alignment of Codecs, proper video drivers and using Windows Media Player, video greater than 720p just isn’t going to happen. But Wyse does have a far beefier line, the R90s, which are ready to handle anything I can think of throwing at them.

The good news is that these devices are designed from the bottom up to be centrally managed and imaged, running with their entire file system set as read-only. The thin clients all plug into the Wyse Device Manager (WDM). I bought myself an extra “development” Wyse client and simply turn the write filter off, make any changes I need to this master device and then copy the image to the WDM server. There are then a great many options for pushing this image down to the appropriate clients, from scheduling to forcing a system to reboot or even popping up a message on the screen, giving users a fixed time to save their work before the device restarts for imaging.

The ability to manage the entire fleet with a few clicks is a huge time saver. Combined with the zero moving parts and low power consumption, I have a set of desktop thin clients that get the job without fear of hardware failure. For the first time in a very long while I don’t have to think about the devices sitting on the desks of my end users. That is absolutely grand. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Wanna keep your data for 1,000 YEARS? No? Hard luck, HDS wants you to anyway
Combine Blu-ray and M-DISC and you get this monster
US boffins demo 'twisted radio' mux
OAM takes wireless signals to 32 Gbps
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Apple flops out 2FA for iCloud in bid to stop future nude selfie leaks
Millions of 4chan users howl with laughter as Cupertino slams stable door
Students playing with impressive racks? Yes, it's cluster comp time
The most comprehensive coverage the world has ever seen. Ever
Run little spreadsheet, run! IBM's Watson is coming to gobble you up
Big Blue's big super's big appetite for big data in big clouds for big analytics
Seagate's triple-headed Cerberus could SAVE the DISK WORLD
... and possibly bring us even more HAMR time. Yay!
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.