Does the device support common thin client standards such as Citrix ICA, Microsoft RDP, and Java?
What ports does the thin client have to connect to peripherals, and does it have room for future growth?
What do you get for your money?
Does the warranty provide the expected level of service, or does the vendor go further?
- Size and security. Many thin clients are a fair bit smaller and therefore portable than PCs and therefore could conceivably "walk" more easily. However we could not really envisage there is much of a ready market for "hot" thin clients. Opportunistic thieves are known to pick up anything that isn't screwed down, so check to ensure you can physically secure your thin clients. Some even attach to or integrate with the monitors.
- Pre/post-sale support. If your company is taking its first tentative steps into the thin client market, ensure that the business you choose to supply/support your move can give you everything you are likely to require. In particular, training and support to your engineers while they handle the deployment and initial management tasks.
- Administration methods. Each brand and even some models within the same brand can have very different management/administration software. As these applications are generally remotely based and provide your administrators with their eyes on the thin client pool, you need to ensure the vendors' applications can handle every task and requirement you are likely to need; from creating client backups to re-imaging both single and multiple clients.
- Employee acceptance and policies. If you're migrating from traditional desktop PCs to a thin client environment, do your homework to ensure the needs of all employees will be catered for. Part of this may be holding regular information sessions for employees to ask questions, learn about the technology, and make points. From this, an employee thin client policy could be created and this then ensures that there is no misconceptions or miscommunication about what can be expected from the changeover.
Company:Nev-R-Crash Airways. This large airline wants to upgrade all its point-of-sale and check-in terminals at a major airport using thin client architecture.
Approximate budget:$1000 per client.
Requires:150 thin clients, servers to run those clients, management software.
Concerns:The clients need to be able to access a variety of different content sources, such as the airline's internal systems, travel agent booking systems, and the airport's systems, so they should support a wide variety of protocols such as RDP, ICA, Java, X-Windows, and Telnet. The company also wants to be able to easily manage the clients centrally without having to visit each one, so the management software available is also an important consideration.
Best solution: A deployment using Sun Ray 150 clients and Sun servers would be without a doubt the most refined and integrated solution.
Sun Microsystems Sun Ray 150
Editor's Choice goes to the Sun Ray 150 the overall design, implementation, and refinement. The server products Sun can supply to support virtually any concievable back end is excellent. Honorable mentions must be given also to Maxspeed for the MaxTerm running the Linux environment and to Wyse for its 9000 series LCD screen integrated Windows XP embedded machine.
We were pleased to receive a wide range of thin clients in what is definitely looking to be a market that is strong. The range and variety of platforms and software that seem to all work seamlessly is also very impressive. Within 10 minutes we had unpacked and set up from scratch three different brands of hardware with three very different operating systems all connecting to the same servers and using the same applications. We certainly could not imagine doing that with three different desktop machines and three different operating systems. The servicing and deployment benefits are obvious too.
We can assure any reader who has been watching the thin client market and umming and ahhing over whether to start down the evaluation track, now is the time to start making the calls and looking at some of these machines.