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I haven’t updated blog for a quite big time. But recently, I have  sniffed around and try to get some more details regarding VDI solutions.

As we all know, there are currently few solutions a company can chooses:

  1. Vmware View
  2. Citrix & Xendesktop
  3. Microsoft VDI solution
  4. Microsoft full desktop Terminal Server solution

I know lots of you have jump into Vmware View because it’s infrastructure and new tech which are quite attractive for geeks like us. However, for business, it’s always balancing between cost and what I.T can offer.

For me, Vmware or Citrix solutions have few obstacles.

Cost, Cost and Cost

No matter which VDI (View or Xen) you connect to, you need to pay VDA license. If you try to connect VDI via non-windows client, you are required to pay $100 VDA license. If you use Windows OS on your client, you still need to pay $50 for SA.

so your rough cost will be:

VDA license + Thin client (hardware+ OS license)+ VDI (View license or Xen license) = around $400 to $500 for each virtual desktop

Yes, it’s a lot of money.

Offline Mode is no good

Part of VDI solutions is to provide offline mode. When users are out of network zone, you will still be able to work. Both Citrix and View provide offline mode. Does this really work?

The answer is no, it’s not worthy to do it.

A initial offline mode image will be 5GB. The differential data your offline mode need to sync to View server will be 1.5GB around. What happen if you have more than 10 users in the office coming back on Monday and need to upload data?

If this is not bad enough, the offline mode doesn’t support WAN accelerator like River bed. The traffic between each offline mode machine to View server is encrypted and compressed but those data can’t be used by WAN accelerator. Without WAN accelerator, it’s hard imagining you will be using much offline mode unless you have directly line linking you to datacenter.


What’s the solution?

Just learned recently that Microsoft will release Windows Thin PC in July.

What is Windows Thin PC?

Windows Thin PC (WinTPC) is a smaller footprint version of Windows 7 that allows customers to repurpose existing PCs as thin clients without requiring the VDA license to access VDI desktops. WinTPC replaces WinFLP.  In addition, WinTPC offers:

· Keyboard Filter

· Input Method Editor support

· Key Management Server & Multiple Activation Key activation

· Rich VDI experience through support for RemoteFX

· Improved end point security by denying certain disk writes via filters

· Enterprise-grade management support through System Center

In plain English, Win Thin PC is Enterprise version of Windows Embedded std sp1. Most important is Windows Thin PC will be free for SA users!!


So what does mean?

Instead of building VDI and spend tons of money, you can:

Build Terminal server with full desktop experience.

Deploy Windows Thin PC to your old PC.

Your cost will be:

Terminal Server CAL = around $50.

Yes, that’s it. Because you use old PC which you have already paid, Win thin PC is free so all what you need to pay is a terminal server CAL. Yes, tons of money will be saved!

I also believe you can install vClient on Win Thin PC and wave cost of VDA!! But you need to double confirm from Microsoft.



What’s more about Windows Thin PC?

According to Win Thin PC  FAQ v2.0

you can run applications that fall into one of the following
• Security
• Management
• Terminal emulation
• Remote Desktop and similar technologies
• Web browser
• Media player
• Instant messaging client
• Document viewers
• .NET Framework and Java Virtual Machine
However, you cannot run any productivity applications, such as
Microsoft Office or similar applications

However, I ran ThinPC in Vmware for test. I was able to install vSphere Client, Office 2007 and windows update everything else I can think about it.

I will do more tests in the future.

But it does raise a question. Does that mean Microsoft let SA users to wave out VDA license fee? If that does, each of your View client will be saved for $100.



One Comment

  1. vdi (citrix or vmware desktop), requires a licence per concurrent user, Terminal (xenapp/TS) services is either per physical device connecting or per user (not concurrent). ie I have 4000 users but only 20 will connect at any one time you MUST pay for 4000 TS licences, a comman mistake by consultants who come in and put in TS/Citrix solutions with per user model. Nothing stops you from doing it, but MS strickly forbids concurrent model. so in this situation ts would cost 4000*$50=$200000 for 20 users! VDI would be $10000

    An extreme example but you got to know how people are going to connect, now and the future, a small number of users it may be better to use TS but you have to factor expansion if its possible

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