Workstation on thin clients

Workplace – as we got used to see it..

Basic feature of modern workplace – practically all processes are reserved on the device - our PC or laptop. 

It defines that the operating system and the application take place locally on this computer. Thus the owner of this workplace has to make decisions modernization in time, both computer and operating system and the applications that he uses. All components and applications are rigidly connected among themselves and attached to this computer (working place). The most part of data user is stored on this computer.

On the one hand it is pleasant to users:

  • Each user on the workplace has the personalized environment;
  • Independence of other users;
  • There is a multimedia and graphics;
  • There is an autonomy in-process;
  • There is a possibility of connection of local peripheral units.

On the other hand, the result of such organization of workplaces is:

  • Hard attachment of the employee to the workplace;
  • Plenty of configurations, both hardware and program “stuffing” of these workplaces (“equipment zoo”);
  • In case of failure plenty of time is required for renewal of capacity of workplace ( thus the call of highly-skilled specialist – the system administrator is usually necessary ) it influences on the increase of cost of possession;
  • There is a risk of loss of important data in case of failure and breakage ( data recovery on the failed computer usually long and expensive, and sometimes is simply impossible);
  • There is a risk of theft of important data by unfair employees;
  • Limited flexibility in need of reorganization of workplace ( there is no confidence that the a necessary new application will be able to function on a hardware base of the existing workplace);
  • As a rule modernization of workplace requires a purchase of the new hardware of workplace (computer) that besides increases possession cost;

Moreover, as practice shows, during standart office work computing capacities (computing power) of the PC are used less than 15% (by other estimates less than 10%). Thus the electric power is expended, ventilators and disks stores make noise.

Classic conception of the server-based calculation (SBC).

The basis of the concept consist of that all applications work at servers of Data Centers. Thus applications are divided between users (network versions of the applications), and thin clients are devices of access to these applications.

Basic advantages:

  • The simplified management. High flexibility of redistribution of calculable resources;
  • High efficiency of use a calculable power;
  • Remote access is possible as Data Centers are always available;
  • High data security from losses in case of refusal equipment. Information security.

As a result simplification of management, flexibility and decline of the cumulative cost of possession.

Virtualization. Virtual workplaces. (VDI – Virtual Desktop Infrastructure)

Farther development of the server-based calculation.

Basis of the concept VDI is that workplace is started as a virtual machine on the server in Data Prossessing Centers. Thus there is a disconnection of equipment, operating system (OS), applications and settings of the user. This concept unites advantages of traditional personal calculations, server calculations and virtualization. The means of access to the workplace is zero-client.

The main advantages:

  • Fast expansion and updating ( it is enough to system administrator to create a clone of basic virtual machine on a corresponding template – two minutes instead of a few hours).
  • Protection of the user data and their fast recovery. All data from workplaces are placed on systems of storage, highly protected from losses in Data Centers with backup and replication.
  • Cutback of spending on administration ( the system administrator does not to need to hurry on the floors of building to every workplaces – every workplaces are virtual and are on service in Data Processing Centers);
  • Effective use of calculable recourses ( instead of hundreds of PCs which are used on average of 10-15% and even less, work of necessary application is performed on a general services with much more efficiency);
  • Ease of redistribution of the calculation resources. For example, if necessary ( installation of additional applications on the virtual workplace ) easily to get an additional calculating capacities on a workplace – it is not necessary to change the hardware.
  • High availability. For remote access to the workplace it is only needed to get permission, according to a security policy of the organization.
  • Information security. It is much more easy to adjust and control security policy of information of organization, in case if data are not scattered to hundreds of PCs, and keep in Data Centers.
  • Zero-clients consume much less electric power and does not require permanent modernization. The term of their service is 10-15 years.

What to use VDI or SBC?

Advantages and disadvantages of VDI as compared to SBC.

  1. At administration VDI wishes and experience of users are taken into account there are not problems of compatibility of the applications in the multi user structures, but more work is needed on administration of characters of virtual workplaces.
  2. Easy backup and data recovery, easy movement of the user sessions between servers, but for every server there are less users and a more place is required for storage of user information.
  3. The ordinary versions of the applications are used with more attractive conditions of licensing, but more licenses are required for hyper visor and software management.
  4. Higher flexibility of use of recourses and more possibilities for individualization, but this more difficult decision for introduction.
  5. Zero-clients cost cheaper even the simplest thin clients, they practically don't need service and modernization ( the cost of workplace goes down) but VDI imposes increased requirements to network capacity.

VDI is suitable for bigger offices of the large companies and allows to reduce substantially to decrease an ownership an informative infrastructure cost, but requires more difficult implementation.

Strategic advantages of virtualization.

  1. At implementing of virtualization the necessity of maintance of eventual devices (workplaces) is taken to the minimum. Accordingly, there is no need for the services system administrators, mid-level, only need equipment for connecting/disconnecting the zero client. Zero clients do not require a specific configuration, upgrading and virtually unbreakable, due to the absence of moving parts and low power consumption.
  2. The problem of shortage of experience, as staff and the end user is solved.
  3. There is a simplification and standardization of services as all virtual computers are clones earlier developed standard (basic).
  4. Services for information security pass to another level. Information security under complete control of the customer.
  5. Easy scaling. When running virtual infrastructure, adding new workplace comes to the installation and connection standard zero-client on the physical workplace and the cloning of the necessary virtual machine on the server. This process takes minutes instead of hours.
  6. No more hard link a user to their workplace (device). Possibility of distant work and round-the-clock access to the virtual desktop is provided, thus the necessary level of information security is adjusted.

Thin clients and zero clients.

Thin and zero clients represent the specialized device essentially other than the personal computer. "Thin client" has no hard drive, uses specialized local OS (one of which tasks to organize session with the terminal server for work of the user), does not incorporate mobile details, is carried out in specialized cases with completely passive cooling. Usually dimensions of such device do not exceed 250mm*55mm*200mm, and the weight of 1,5 kg, as a rule are not deprived of some multimedia opportunities, have USB, COM, PS/2, LAN ports. In the Ukrainian market thin clients from Fujitsu, for HP, Dell are most known.

Future of workplaces.

The decision how the workplace at this or that enterprise will be organized, has to be accepted depending on a sort of its activity and requirements. There is no definite answer to a question, how exactly this workplace has to be organized. One is clear: the future behind component model with virtualization use. Usual workplaces have to be replaced with dynamic, easily changeable and mobile workplaces. Besides obvious conveniences to the end user, transition from the usual organization of workplaces brings also a considerable economic benefit.