Greg Spense, Senior Product Manager, desktop virtualization and endpoints for Samsung Electronics America, stopped by to introduce me to both Samsung's endpoint products and the new NX-N2, a zero client device for use as a fixed client in VDI environments. We had a long discussion about how zero clients differ from the much more well-known thin clients offered by a number of suppliers, including Samsung itself. The key difference, according to Spense, is that zero clients don't need an operating system. They are designed to accept commands from host systems using Teradici's PCoIP communications protocols.
Thin clients, on the other hand, are fixed-purpose PCs. They require an operating system, and they offer support of a number of communications protocols, including Citrix's ICA and Microsoft's RDP. Some of these systems provide their own web browser for accessing web-based applications as well. Samsung offers several thin client devices if customers need support of those protocols.
Spense pointed out that zero clients will almost always require less attention from already overworked IT administrators. They'll never need a software update, unlike thin clients that often need updates to address security issues, or updates to the web browser to address an ever-moving set of requirements. Unlike other zero clients, offered by suppliers such as Dell, Fujitsu, and HP, Samsung provides a built-in speaker, 6 USB ports, and the NX-N2 doesn't need a Visa-mounting kit to be locked down.
Spense explained that the device will cost less than $299 because Samsung manufactures most of the internal components itself.
Enterprises planning to roll out a VDI environment would be well advised to look at Samsung's offerings.