This article looks into VDI endpoints, compares the dominant VDI endpoints of zero client and thin client, and simply answers the questions of
What is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)?
What is a thin client? What is a zero client?
What are the differences between thin clients and zero clients?
What are the thin client advantages over zero client?
What are the zero client advantages over thin client?
Let us understand the world of computer in very simple terms. It is another give and take system with the following components:
- Server- The host or machine which does the actual processing
- Client- The receiver, which benefits with the output of the process
- The network connection between the server and the client
The third component, i.e., the way the client connects to the server defines the technology. The one prevalent currently is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).
What Is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)?
There is a centralized shared server, which gets divided into multiple virtual machines (VMs) with the desktop of their own. Each Virtual Machine is created and hosted by a hypervisor, which is usually a software program installed on the server hardware. The endpoint devices or the clients get connected to the individual VM.
The different devices have different approach to connect to the server. Based on the type of connection, these endpoint devices are divided into 4 categories:
- Blade PCs
- Software Clients
- Thin Clients
- Zero Clients
As of now, let us deal with the 2 types which are dominating the VDI Market at present:
These endpoint devices are not capable of complete processing on their own. They depend on the server for the major part of the information processing, and can handle a few simpler processes received as the output from the server. Since, a minor part of the processing is to be handled by the client; these devices need the external hardware for completion:
- A CPU
- A local storage
- A memory
- A graphics co-processor
These are the endpoint devices which are completely devoid of any processing or management on their own. All the information is processed on the server, and is simply visible to the client as an output. Since, there is no processing involved; these clients are the endpoint devices with:
- No CPU
- No Memory
- No Driver Requirement
- No local storage
All they need is the connection to the server through Ethernet network.
While both the endpoint devices exhibit two different aspects of the VDI architecture, there are strengths associated to each of them:
Advantages Of Thin Clients Over Zero Clients:
- The thin clients have the necessary hardware to execute the compression and decompression algorithms, which calls for a lesser bandwidth.
The Zero clients do not have this flexibility, and thus suffer from insufficient network bandwidth issues.
- The thin clients have a better flexibility in terms of protocols as well. These can be changed over from one system protocol to the other, when the need arises.
The Zero clients are purpose built systems to run on a specific protocol. These cannot change over.
Advantages Of Zero Clients Over Thin Clients:
- The power consumption of the zero clients is extremely low. While the thin clients consume 15-30 watts of power on an average, the Zero clients can get away with 5 watts at maximum.
- The deployment of Zero Clients is comparatively simpler, due to no hardware involved.
- Having no hardware completely eliminates the risk of virus or malware on these endpoint systems. These are thus completely immune to virus attacks.
- There is no driver needed for the frequent software update. The administration is extremely easy.
- With the VDI architecture prevailing at the time, multiple user demands can be sufficed with the virtual machines on the shared server. This makes the Zero Client system a better choice where user number can be enhanced easily.
- With no hardware and processing required, Zero Client deployment is relatively cheaper and inexpensive.
With the advantages of Zero Client systems clearly outweighing the Thin client systems, SUNDE offers an excellent choice with the Diana Zero Client. It comes as a package including:
- Diana Zero Client as the endpoint device – Which is charged.
- vPointServer software for host server – Which comes free.
- SUNDE-VDI Protocol as the remote display protocol – Which comes free