What are zero clients capable of?
Compared to thin clients, zero clients are a relatively new idea. What advantages do they offer over "conventional" thin clients?
Better value for money
Zero clients are a special version of thin clients for standard users who work exclusively with a virtual desktop. Unlike multi-protocol thin clients, zero clients are tied to one of the three leading VDI solutions: Citrix XenDesktop, VMware Horizon View or the Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS) of Windows Server. This specialization reduces the number of hardware and software components required and thus the manufacturing costs, the subsequent energy consumption and the management outlay. For the purchaser, this means good value for money.
Possible risks owing to zero clients
This specialization does however result in certain limitations. For example, many zero clients refuse to work with less common peripherals. The firmware concept can also be problematic. If the zero clients are not updatable because the firmware is embedded in the hardware and cannot be changed, newer versions of the Citrix Receiver, VMware Horizon View Client or Microsoft RemoteFX connection software and thus the resulting new functions and improvement cannot be used. If the VDI solution needs to be changed, this can be really expensive. If a company would like to migrate from Citrix XenDesktop to VMware Horizon View for example, the zero clients must be replaced by new devices and the previous investment is jeopardized.
What makes zero clients future-proof?
The German thin client market leader IGEL follows a different approach. The zero clients in the IGEL Zero (IZ) range avoid the risks typically associated with zero clients yet still offer the same advantages. In order to achieve this, all zero clients in the IZ range have a particularly lean and updatable firmware based on the IGEL Linux thin client operating system. The IGEL IZ2 and IZ3 models even offer a thin client upgrade path. An optional firmware upgrade turns the IGEL IZ2 into the IGEL UD2 Universal Desktop thin client, while the IGEL IZ3 can be converted into the successful all-round IGEL UD3 thin client.
Zero touch: deployment and management
IGEL zero clients along with the Universal Desktop thin clients can be set up and remote managed without local configuration outlay. In order to apply settings efficiently to the zero clients and hardware/software thin clients within freely combinable end device pools, IGEL supplies the high-performance IGEL Universal Management Suite (UMS) remote management software with all its solutions.
Verdict: efficiency and investment protection combined
With the new zero clients in the IZ range, IGEL proves that efficiency, low procurement costs and zero local management can be combined with investment protection – something that is often missing.
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