As the desktop virtualization space matures and as customers become increasingly more sophisticated, the consideration and use of thin clients in desktop virtualization initiatives grows in importance. 

This shifting wind has really become evident for me in the last few months.  There is a marked contrast between the customer conversations happening now relative to those of a year ago.  In mid 2008, thin clients weren’t really coming up in discussions and they certainly weren’t top of mind for customers interested in desktop virtualization.  Over the last few months, thin clients have been part of nearly every customer conversation that I’ve had. 

To further substantiate this point, Citrix ran a survey earlier this year asking customers and partners about their intent regarding the use of thin clients in their desktop virtualization initiatives.  Fifty-five percent of respondents replied that they intended to use thin clients (existing or new) as part of those initiatives.  Recent analyst reports cite similar figures and predict that the thin client market is poised to grow at a brisk pace.  One of the prime reasons for this growth is the desktop virtualization tailwind.  So, it seems there will be a strong attach rate between desktop virtualization and thin clients.

So, that begs the question: ‘What caused the winds to change direction over the last year?’

As customers consider their desktop virtualization initiatives, they are moving beyond their initial evaluations and proofs of concept.  Many are now sold on the idea of desktop virtualization.  It’s now less a question of if they should do desktop virtualization, but of when.  The conversations turn to discussion of broader enterprise-wide deployments. 

There is a clear recognition that going thin on the endpoint is a must in order to realize the promises of desktop virtualization.  Thin clients offer a number of endpoint benefits, among others: Dramatic reduction in management, better security, reduced power consumption footprint and better total cost of ownership.  These benefits are magnified as desktop virtualization deployments expand through the organization.

Given the increasing importance of thin clients with desktop virtualization, I’ll explore the topic of selecting and using thin clients with XenDesktop over the coming weeks and months with the goal of helping you optimize thin clients in your desktop virtualization initiatives.  Here are some specific initial discussion areas: 

  • Choosing a thin client for your desktop virtualization initiative
  • Describing the ideal end user experience when accessing a virtual desktop from a thin client
  • Thin clients from an administrators point of view
  • The role of repurposed PC’s

Please let me know other areas of discussion related to thin clients you’d like to see covered.