The Business Desktop PC Is About to Be Displaced by a Pi

Citrix HDX Ready Pi is about to disrupt the desktop PC industry with a low-cost, high-performance end-user computing device like no other. This sub-$89 device – when coupled with Citrix XenDesktop virtual desktops and XenApp virtual apps – provides an ideal alternative to the traditional desktop PC refresh cycle for IT.


The breakthrough price point was achieved by leveraging the Raspberry Pi platform, which has driven the hardware cost to a minimum with innovative design, high volumes and automated assembly (made in the UK!) The high performance was achieved by leveraging the Citrix HDX system-on-chip (SoC) architecture to leverage client hardware for protocol decoding.

In other words, the HDX SoC Receiver SDK enables off-loading to the Raspberry Pi GPU and achieves hardware acceleration with the SoC Quadcore ARM Processor. The optimized Citrix Receiver is embedded within a secure, locked-down Linux OS and also includes full device management for firmware updates, remote configuration and DHCP tagging for plug and play deployment. These devices are available fully-assembled and ready to order from our partners ViewSonic and Micro Center. HDX Ready Pi thin-clients are preloaded with all necessary software, come with a production case, flash storage, power supply, VESA mount option and are ready to deploy in a matter of seconds by any IT admin.

Citrix has been collaborating with the Raspberry Pi Foundation on this initiative to optimize the user experience and leverage the low-cost platform. Here is what Eben Upton, CEO of Raspberry Pi had to say:

“Here at Raspberry Pi, driving down the cost of computer hardware remains our biggest imperative, so we are excited to join Citrix, ViewSonic and Micro Center, as they launch the Citrix HDX Ready Pi. This innovation introduces a low-cost user device for Citrix’ industry-leading virtual app and desktop technology. Citrix’ reputation of enhancing data security, simplifying IT management and delivering a great user experience will help demolish barriers to cost-effective, high performance computing making VDI accessible to a whole new generation of users, which is exactly what Raspberry Pi is striving to achieve.”

In classic disruptive fashion, the Raspberry Pi has already taken a significant share of the education PC market with over 8 million devices shipped. With the Citrix-optimized HDX Ready Pi, we expect many other industries to adopt the platform, now that the “do it yourself” barrier is demolished. This device does not take the place of a mobile laptop or a high function thin client, but for the hundreds of millions of desktop PCs the HDX Ready Pi with a  XenApp back end is worth evaluating for its compelling price and performance, before a standard PC refresh.

This device represents more than just a “fast-cheap” PC alternative. Rather, the low cost of this device enables new business paradigms. For example:

  • The full stack cost of virtual desktops can now be justified based on TCO benefits, not paying a premium for security and management benefits of VDI. This expands the number of users that can benefit from VDI from a subset to an entire organization.
  • Citrix HDX Ready Pi can be distributed via the mail, IT vending machines or stored in office supply cabinets. Employees can get an HDX Ready Pi and simply plug into an available display and be up and running in minutes. The management software can be configured to recognize any HDX Ready Pi in the network to take control and automatically point to the correct Citrix StoreFront server for instant virtual app and desktop access. On-boarding a new employee no longer means ordering a new PC, waiting a week, imaging the PC, installing the apps, and so on.
  • Eliminate desk-side support. The low cost makes it a rip-and-replace device that has no mechanical hard drive to fail, no data and no time wasted diagnosing device problems. If there is ever an issue, swap the device and drop it in a recycle bin.
  • Eliminate financial asset tracking. The low device cost can be considered a non-capitalized office expense for many organizations, thereby eliminating the overhead of asset tracking. Citrix HDX Ready Pi is especially compelling to virtualize remote branch offices globally.
  • Provide a take-home device for employee remote access. With no ability to save or cache corporate data the HDX Ready Pi can be safely distributed to employees for teleworking or occasional work from home (WFH).
  • Pervasive computing devices in public spaces or an office campus. The HDX-Ready Pi has a Kensington lock slot, but is so low cost and purpose-built for Citrix that the physical security is a non-issue.

The timing for this device is perfect. Most organizations are planning Windows 10 migrations; Citrix has optimized Receiver on the HDX Ready Pi and XenApp/XenDesktop to provide a true PC like experience, and Raspberry Pi has achieved a breakthrough in hardware price/performance. We have many early adopter customers already piloting or using the Raspberry Pi with Citrix. What was missing is a full stack solution, reloaded and supported, ready for IT, but now HDX Ready Pi has all that and more.

Let us know what you think, order a few HDX Ready Pis now and start testing next month.

Synergy Banner