Are VDI and thin clients the chocolate and peanut butter of desktop virtualization? It’s clear they go together very well. While many organizations are buying the peanut butter cups, according to a recent TechTarget article (Broadening your VDI horizon beyond thin client devices), many others are starting with just the chocolate. Author Alastair Cooke writes:

“The reality is that a large proportion of [VDI] deployments use PCs for virtual desktop access…[PCs] can be a useful way of moving the thin client expense out into the second year of the VDI deployment.”

This could explain the 8.4% decrease in thin client shipments in Q1 2013 from the same quarter a year ago, as reported by IDC. They also predict that by 2017, thin client and terminal client device shipments are expected to reach 9.2 million worldwide. PC shipments, on the other hand, are expected to reach 271.6 million, according to Gartner.

Certainly, thin client and PC shipments are on different growth trajectories — and tablets sales are expected to far outpace both — but over the next few years VDI deployments will largely include PCs.

Instead of buying the famous packaged twin cups, organizations are buying the chocolate and using the filling that’s already in the cupboard – PCs – to bake fresh peanut butter cups for workers.

For organizations that want to adopt VDI but need to minimize capital expenses, Citrix XenDesktop is a great peanut butter cup recipe, as it can turn existing PCs into locked-down thin clients. In his article, Cooke points out several advantages of reusing existing PCs in VDI deployments, but he also adds:

“The downside of reusing PCs is the continuing requirement to manage their operating system and antivirus updates. Reusing existing PCs purely for VDI access is usually a transition phase, even if the phase lasts for years.”

XenDesktop local mode — powered by Citrix XenClient — solves this problem. By installing XenClient onto existing PCs, IT can centrally manage their OS and antivirus updates, eliminating patch failures and desk-side troubleshooting.

Better yet, XenClient-enabled PCs don’t need to be converted into thin clients exclusively. For added flexibility, they can run like a thin client with everything locked down, and they can also run some workloads locally just like a native PC – only the entire desktop is virtualized and centrally managed and secured.

That’s the beauty of XenDesktop with FlexCast: mix the ingredients you have with the chocolate you want and bake all kinds of peanut butter cups – some with new and existing PCs, others with thin clients, and even different batches for laptop and tablet users. It’s a mouth-watering good approach to deploying VDI today.