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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Thinclient setup for Home in Technical; I have about 6 home PCs that use up about 80-100watts while idle and would like to replace them all ...
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    Thinclient setup for Home

    I have about 6 home PCs that use up about 80-100watts while idle and would like to replace them all with a zero client setup (I know very little about thin clients).

    I don't know which thin client server software to use. There is XenDesktop, Vmware View (too expensive), and Hyper-V. I'd like to chose one that has the best graphical performance. Two of the PCs are HTPCs therefore will need to use Windows Media Center, netflix (silverlight 1080p), and Amazon VOD (flash 480p). I know Microsoft is coming out with RemoteFX soon that gives a real user desktop experience and from the demos, it looks like it supports graphic intensive applications.

    1) Will a zero client and any of the virtualization software above support real 3d acceleration? (I know Hyper-V won't support it without RemoteFX which is coming out soon)
    2) If all of the virtual machines are idle, can the server go to sleep or even hibernate?
    3) Is there a ZeroClient with dual DVI (or hdmi even) and at least an optical audio out?
    4) How does the zeroclient know which VM to boot from? Is there a setup interface?

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    Butuz's Avatar
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    My first question has to be - Why do you have 6 home PC's and only 1 you??

    Butuz

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    Well, I got two HTPCs, main pc, HTPC server, and a dev server. I recently upgraded 3 of the machines to be passively cooled and now they emit high pitched frequency noise in a quiet room (due to poor motherboard design). My goal is to move them all into the basement, virtualize them all, and use zero clients.

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    I'll first declare my interest - I'm from Wyse so thin/zero clients & related software is what we do. First a definition that may help: For us, a zero client is a dedicated device that connects to one back-end infrastructure, whereas a thin client is a more flexible device that will connect to a wide variety of infrastructures. So my guess is you need a thin client, because it will give you more flexibility from one device, and not lock you in to one back-end vendor. If you are already managing 6 PCs/servers, then you don't really need to zero-config simplicity of a zero client :-)

    In terms of the hardware, you should go for a high-performance thin client. This will give you dual DVI output (HDMI is very rare in thin clients) and have enough processing power to handle the more demanding protocols like PCoIP (VMware View), RemoteFX (beta just released) or HDX 3D Pro (Citrix). Any of these will handle the 3D graphics you are looking for. If you are only looking for streamed video, then other options such as Citrix HDX, Microsoft RDP 7, or the Wyse TCX suite all do multimedia redirection and rendering of the video on the client which will give you up to HD video playback (depending on the client specification).

    Re knowing which VM to boot from, zero clients use the broker software (VMware View, XenDesktop or MS broker) to present available VMs based on user credentials. But with a thin client, you can configure multiple sessions on the client using the embedded OS.

    Which OS to have on the client is another question. If you were a bigger organisation I'd strongly recommend going for an ultra-thin OS such as Wyse ThinOS so you didn't have to manage the clients, but is only you, so embedded Windows will give you a more flexibility, the ability to install the latest Flash/Silverlight clients, and client side browsing if you want it.

    I'm not trying to plug our stuff, but so you can see what is available, and checkout the specs on our website:
    Wyse R90L7 is a high performance WES7 thin client with dual DVI output & 15 watts power consumption
    Wyse X90L7 is a thin client laptop so you can access you multiple servers from your sofa
    Wyse C90L7 is a small 6 watt thin client. Lower processor power but has an on-board media processor and will run up to 1080p video (MPEG/WMV etc.)

    Hope this helps,
    David

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    ...at these prices a PC must look pretty tempting, costs less, more flexible, more powerful (?), and have same downsides as a PC in terms of manageability, virus implications, Windows updates, local user accounts etc).

    ThinStore - Thin Clients - Wyse - Windows XPe - R Class

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    @nut-ed But if you look what I said: " If you were a bigger organisation I'd strongly recommend going for an ultra-thin OS such as Wyse ThinOS so you didn't have to manage the clients..." ThinOS is also virus immune, does not need windows updates, no local user data, and is cheaper! It's by far our most popular solutions for deployment in schools.

    A PC is a good solution for home use, but if mwok wants to reduce power consumption, then a thin client is an option. But, given the high performance being looked for, and a technically competant admin, my recommendation is to get the most powerful and flexible thin client.

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