Along with Wyse, we hosted a webinar last Tuesday featuring research analysts from IDC. In case you missed the event, you can watch the replay here:

Thanks to those of you who attended and for your questions. We’re sorry we weren’t able to get to all of your questions during the live event. We’ve provided answers to your questions below:

  1. What’s the larger trend…repurposing PCs or moving to thin clients? How are other customers determining which is best for them?This really depends upon the company, but speaking broadly IDC would say that most companies begin testing CVD using repurposed PCs. As they move forward into full production, most companies look to replace their old PCs with thin or zero clients to realize the improved security, reliability, and  manageability features inherent in the those endpoints.
  2. We’re looking to replace most of our desktop PCs with thin clients, but some of our desktops are quite new. To make things simple, should we replace those PC units, too?It’s not suggested to replace those newer PCs just yet. In addition to the previously mentioned option of transforming those PCs into thin-client like devices, chances are there will always be users in your organization who require a full PC. From a fiscal perspective, it’s better to keep your recent-vintage desktops around in case you need them rather than having to repurchase PCs a year from now.
  3. We’re a relatively small company, should we shoot for 100% VDI? – It really depends on the specific use cases for implementing VDI in your organization. I don’t believe any organization can achieve 100% VDI, there are segments of users that VDI just can’t address at this moment, segments like mobile users and high performance required (3D animation, graphics design) users. Instead of chasing 100% VDI, focus on address the user groups that can benefit from VDI the most, and manage those users to achieve maximum operational efficiency. At the end of the day, VDI won’t fit everyone, but for those that VDI does fit, the benefits are enormous.
  4. How do you feel software vendors are buying into the VDI solution from a license perspective?From a licensing perspective, VDI vendors are trying to lower the barrier to entry by offering attractive incentives and lower costs of their products. In this sense, now is a great time for organizations to begin evaluating VDI for their desktop environments. For the end user organizations, implementing VDI in conjunction with application virtualization (like Microsoft App-V) can deliver great results in rationalizing applicant management. First, application virtualization can effectively reduce the number of software licenses required because apps no longer need to be installed locally on the PCs themselves. Second, different versions of the same apps can be eliminated because hardware based application compatibility is not an issue in a virtual environment. Finally, updating application can be centralized, so additional reduction in operational costs can be achieved.
  5. Can you expand on this comment……”VDI is not the future for virtual desktop delivery — XenClient is proof of that,” said Simon Crosby, chief technology officer of Citrix’s data center and cloud division, during a one-on-one interview at Citrix Synergy 2011.<from IDC> I think what Simon meant was that VDI isn’t the only way to deliver a virtual user environment. Sure, it is the most talked about technology in recent years, but different use cases warrant different approaches, thus, different delivery and management technologies. For example, in a call center environment, where everyone uses the same apps and desktop, utilizing VDI where everyone gets their own individual VM is overkill; technology like XenApp is much better suited. As for XenClient, it’s extremely applicable for mobile users, disconnected users and general notebook users. This is why IDC categorizes different end user technologies into the larger Virtual Client Computing model, because each client virtualization technology has it pros and cons. To maximize the value of virtual client computing, an organization needs know the types of users it has and which type of client virtualization it needs to utilize. Often, this means combining different technologies to realize the best result.
  6. What have you seen as the average end user cost per virtual desktop instance for internal vs outsourced deployments? There isn’t a cost metric available for internal vs. outsourced deployments. However, IDC has conducted studies where it suggests that most organizations will engage externally during VDI implementation, one way or another. IDC believes that in smaller deployments, internal IT can usually manage, but as the scale of the deployment grow, internal IT would be hard pressed to keep up due to lack of knowledge and manpower. Additionally, VDI requires a new way of management that many internal IT professionals aren’t too familiar with, so having a helping hand externally can help IT organizations manage the VDI implementation better, thus delivering value sooner.
  7. Don’t power users balk at the idea of using a hosted desktop? How do you deal with push back from these types of users? The most important thing to get buy in from users is to give them something better than what they had before. So, for users that love their desktop, show them that a virtual desktop enables them to access their corporate environment from anywhere – they no longer have to be in the office. For laptop users, it may be showing them that they can now use ANY type of machine – their Mac, iPad, Chrome notebook, Dell gaming device, or even their smartphone…anything. Really, it is about explaining the benefits of desktop virtualization to users – telling them why the business made the decision – but also proving that what they now have is better than what they had.
  8. Does Citrix plan to support any non-windows desktop OS’s in the future? Citrix’s overall strategy is to delivery Windows desktops to users on any device, anywhere. While virtualizing other OSs is technically possible, we have not seen enough demand to have any firm plans of alternative OSs as this point. However, we are always interested in hearing from our customers about their requirements.
  9. Has the Microsoft VDI licensing been finalized? To license Windows in a virtual environment, you are required to have Software Assurance on your Windows Client licenses or purchase VDA. Much more information can be found here:
  10. What is needed and what is different to use XenDesktop vs XenApp? From a Xenith perspective, XenDesktop and XenApp should work equally well and you should be up and running in no time. As it pertains to XenDesktop and XenApp, here are all of the additional features you get with XenDesktop:
  11. What is the ballpark software cost per station or per user for implementing XenDesktop? Citrix list prices for XenDesktop are featured below.
  12. What is the footprint for a virtual PC, (GB/pc)? If I have multiple images (for different departments) do I need multiple images or do you make use of application virtualization to add to the image? If I have a laptop which I will take away from the office can I take a copy of the virtual with me?A virtual desktop can range from 5 -40 GB (and much more depending on user and how user data is stored). With XenDesktop, you can offer a single golden image for all of your users and then deliver the applications (using application virtualization) and user data separately. This enables a single image that still delivers the unique apps and data your users need. For mobile users, XenClient enables you to get the benefits of desktop virtualization for users without internet connectivity – user changes are synchronized back with the datacenter upon network connection. More information about XenClient can be found here:
  13. What types of applications are still not well-suited to the thin client model? Assuming you are referring to the traditional “thin client”/ Server-based computing models. In this case, applications that cannot run on a server OS cannot be run in these environments. When you find you have these applications (that you want the centralization of but cannot run them), desktop virtualization is a great option as you can centralize them on a Windows Client OS, thus preventing the incompatibilities.
  14. With VCC the backend infrastructure is important.  How do you go about evaluating the needs for that backend – bandwidth, server specs, storage?For information on your storage requirements: /blogs/2010/08/05/design-storage-for-desktop-virtualization-properly/ and /blogs/2011/05/25/xendesktop-5-with-intellicache-cuts-vdi-storage-costs-in-half/, For information on your server requirements: You can look up reference architectures from your favorite server vendors (Cisco, Dell, HP, etc.) for our recommended specs for XenDesktop. There is also a Citrix recorded webinar that should help as well: /blogs/2011/03/09/guarantee-availability-and-scale-for-xenapp-and-xendesktop-deployments/. For information on your bandwidth requirements: /blogs/2010/08/10/virtual-desktop-bandwidth-averages-are-just-a-start/
  15. Are there savings to be had with VCC for software licenses such as Microsoft Office? Desktop virtualization does not change your application licensing, in most cases. So, if your application licenses are per user, those requirements remain the same with a virtual desktop. Same goes with a device license. You should consult your application vendor for specific questions.
  16. What are the ideal scenarios I should use a thin/zero client? How about rich PCs? Thin clients are ideal anyplace where the complexity, maintenance time & cost, security vulnerability, high energy consumption, and capital cost of rich PCs is determined problematic.  For organizations of all sizes who want to a thin client can be ideal to: vastly simplify their desktops; reduce desktop down-time and ongoing maintenance; secure desktops from viruses, malware, worms, and unwanted software downloads; minimize energy use to improve their carbon footprint; and reduce the capital cost of hardware and software “overkill”. Zero clients address the same concerns and provide the same benefits as thin clients, but on a much more desktop environment-specific scale.  For example, our Xenith and Xenith Pro zero clients address Citrix desktop environments only.  This environment-specific focus allows zero clients to automatically boot up with little to no user intervention, making them even easier to configure and use than thin clients, albeit on a more environment-specific basis. Rich PCs still make sense for the typical “mobile power user” who requires mass storage on-hand (hard disk) along with a rich mix of locally-accessible applications.  An example of this type user would be a marketing or sales professional who travels often.
  17. We have a few people in remote offices. Do we need to send IT to those offices to provision a Wyse Xenith for XenDesktop? No, Wyse Xenith is designed to be able to discover the XenDesktop environment through network settings (i.e DHCP options) automatically.  If it is not able to automatically detect the environment through network settings, it will show a single dialog asking the location of the XenDesktop server (i.e the same address people normally put into a web browser).  After that single entry, you instantly see the XenDesktop logon screen and the unit is ready to go.
  18. Our company has tested out thin clients in the past, but they seemed to require as much upkeep as a full PC. What makes zero clients better?  Zero clients are inherently better than thin clients because there is no local operating system that you have to secure with antivirus, patch security holes (web browsers, flash client, etc.), and generally manage what is installed locally.  A zero client follows the same model as a “cable box” for your TV service whereas with Xenith, it’s the “cable box” for your Citrix Desktop. This also means you don’t have to worry about training users how to handle two desktops (i.e the local desktop they log into, and the remote desktop they have to launch to access their work environment).  Finally, the zero clients are designed to automatically check if the admin has designated a new configuration or zero engine (i.e with new Citrix features) to be applied so even if you have 1,000+ thin clients, all you have to do is modify a single file on the file server and every device will upgrade automatically on the next reboot.
  19. I see the value in a low cost, hardened device that is less susceptible to viruses, etc. But, these devices are close to the same price as rich PCs. How can I justify this expense of a thin client when there is so much more use of a rich PC? Although we continue to see a significant difference in the capital cost of rich PCs vs. thin/zero clients (usually hundreds of dollars less), the main driver behind thin/zero client adoption are NOT initial capital cost.  Rather, our customers are buying thin/zero clients because: they must lock down their desktops, as the security threats have become too numerous and too costly to fix; they must reduce ongoing desktop maintenance costs and down-time; they must reduce the complexity of configuring and maintaining desktops that may have any combination of apps/software loaded from just about anywhere; and they have to reduce their ongoing energy costs. It is also worth noting that a thin client can support the same rich mix of apps, including HD multimedia, as a rich PC but without all the drawbacks noted above, and without the security risk of coupling a hard disk within the system.
  20. Can local (USB) printers and/or scanners be used with the Wyse Xenith units and XenDesktop?  – Yes, you can use technologies like HDX Plug-n-Play or ThinPrint to redirect the USB Printer to the remote environment.
  21. How do the thin clients work with CPU intensive applications such as graphics, cad, etc?  – Some Wyse thin clients have graphics (2D/3D) as well as multimedia acceleration capabilities in hardware. This provides excellent user experience for graphics applications.
  22. How does Wyse PC extender work? Is it your OS? PC Extender is based in the same SUSE Linux we use in our Linux Thin Clients. Is bundle with extended drivers to enable peripherals in PC’s. All other functionality is the same as our Linux devices.  More information can be found here:
  23. Is there a thin client or no client device that support multi monitor? Most of Wyse Thin Clients support multiple monitors.
  24. My company is about to deploy a VDI solution and most of these users use CADs (Illustrator, Photoshop, 3D draw), does Wyse Xenith offer HDX capability? If not, which endpoint should be the best for us?  – Yes, Wyse Xenith is HDX Ready.  Although for heavy graphics editing a more powerful platform is recommended on client side such as Xenith Pro or the new Z-class from Wyse which is the most powerful thin client in the market.
  25. We currently use XenDesktop with PCs & Macs as endpoints.  These endpoints require the Citrix client installed (we use the web plugin/Citrix web interface).  How does a zero client device “connect to” or “find” the XenDesktop environment? The Wyse Xenith is a next-generation zero client which means that there is a tiny software layer (<5MB) that provides the HDX experience and unlike other zero clients, allows you to stay up to date with the latest protocol enhancements with a simple update of the Citrix Receiver for Wyse Xenith that is embedded in the 5MB software layer.
  26. What sort of challenges will I encounter deploying zero clients?  Is there a distance limitation?  Network speed constraints?  – Since the zero clients leverage HDX natively for all interaction with the backend, it is only limited by the capabilities of the protocol. HDX is optimized for longer distances and latencies than some other protocols and hence should allow you to use it in numerous remote scenarios.