Thin Clients are typically used to connect to VDI/Session hosted environments using though Microsoft/Citrix/VMWare technologies but they do have their other uses…
In this post I am going to show you how to setup a 10ZiG thin client (in my case the 5872v) running their custom made Linux PeakOS that will
- Display status maps from my PRTG network monitor server
- Run two displays
- Automatically display a different webpage on each display on boot up
- Automatically power off at 5pm (after the end of the day)
So all of that is great but why would I want to use a thin client instead of a full PC to power such a display?
- Upfront hardware cost is much cheaper and you get dual DVI as a standard (something you won’t find on most desktop PCs)
- The software required to use the thin client in this manner is built right in – no fiddling around with scheduled tasks/group policies
- Power consumption is lower – a thin client such as this one can draw little more than 12W when running such a display (a full desktop could be many times higher)
Want to go one step further? Higher end Windows powered thin clients like the 10ZiG 6818v and 6817v can be upgraded (at the factory) to run 4 displays off the same client, thus saving you from going with a power hungry graphics card in a full desktop PC.
The first thing that will strike you about any thin client is how small (in physical dimensions) they are and the 5818v is no exception. In the past this small size meant poor hardware specifications; however, this time is long behind us.
The 5818v comes with 2GB of DDR3 RAM, a Intel Atom D2550 dual core CPU, 16GB of local storage (the SSD like disk on memory), 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet and Intel GMA 3650 graphics (it won’t run Crysis but is ideal for Flash video).
In true keeping with the idea of thin computing (frugal on power, waste and dimensions) the packing for the 5818v is small and includes the power adapter, cable and a mouse making for quick and easy deployments. You also get a stand and DVI-VGA adapter included in the box.
As far as licencing goes the Windows OEM sticker is included on the DOM meaning no sticky labels to peel off the case.
A hidden surprise comes in the concealed secure USB port which can be used to integrate wireless adapters (Wi-Fi/keyboard + mouse adapters) or USB memory sticks (could be used for BitLocker drive encryption).
For more take a look at the screenshot sequence below…
One of the great features of the 10ZiG 5818v is the WE8 operating system. Based upon Windows 8 this thin client includes the same software that makes full Windows 8 PCs fast most notably kernel hibernation. The premise goes that when you click Shutdown on your PC the core components of Windows are hibernated and saved to a single file which is very fast to read.
In testing the 5818v took a little over 41 seconds to start up without kernel hibernation turned on, with it turned on boot time to a usable PC was just over 21 seconds that’s a 2x improvement just by turning on a software feature!
In this series of posts I’m going to be looking at the all new 10ZiG 5818v Thin Client.
Recently released and coming with Intel Atom D2550 CPU this thin client sets its self apart from others with the introduction of Windows Embedded 8 (WE8).
WE8 is essentially a cut down version of Windows 8 that is focused on devices that have limited storage space and are designed to fill a single role (like digital signage players, connectivity to Remote Desktop Services Farms and connectivity to VDI like Citrix VDI-in-a-Box).
Through this series of posts I’m going to be looking at the hardware of the thin client, the WE8 operating system including the tweaks 10ZiG have made to it as well as the performance of the thin client when connected to VDI sessions.
After unboxing and powering on my first impressions of the 5818v have been very positive particularly around
- UEFI boot with a boot time of around 25s
- The low power consumption
- The array of ports
- The robustness of design
Even in this modern world of HTML5 there is still a very strong case for Flash Video playback (after all its still the option of choice on YouTube), the only problem is when you play flash video inside a Virtual Desktop session (VDI) the servers CPU can quickly be chewed up and so ruin the experience for everyone.
The simple fix here is to use Citrix HDX Flash redirection and a compatible thin client like the 10ZiG 8848c (Linux powered) or any number of the Windows Embedded Standard options out there.
In this situation the flash video is rendered on the thin clients processor and with more powerful (but power efficant) CPUs becoming available in thin clients all the time you can expect a nice smooth video playback on your endpoint device without hammering the servers CPU.
Before I go much further into this article I will say – there is no one answer to how much power does a PC consume. You have to take into consideration the internal components (particularly the CPU and if the PC uses a HDD or SSD), the age of the PC, the efficacy of its PSU and also how far its components are pushed.
The simplest way to determine how much power your PC uses is to buy yourself a relatively cheap power meter like this one on Amazon which I got for a little under £10.
All the same the video below shows a selection of the various types of PCs I have to hand and how much they consume, a further write up is over the page.
One of the wonderful things about Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V is that any driver that was written for Windows 7 will also run in Server 2008 R2! As such its very easy to take any Window 7 compatible PC (with a processor that can do hardware assisted virtualization like the AMD A and FX series) and turn it into a Citrix VDI-in-a-Box proof of concept (POC).
In the video below you can see me doing just that with a HP 6465b notebook (AMD A6 powered) which has been enhanced with a OCZ Agility 3 SSD.
Read on as well for a list of parts that cost less than £265 (exVAT) that you could use to run your own proof of concept for 3-4 VDI users! Continue reading
As promised to those that came along to the recent VDI Demo Day the PowerPoint slides are below with the video playlist above.
1 - Intro Slides (583.2 KiB, 1,171 hits)
3 - Fitzharrys School - Presentation (1.2 MiB, 1,616 hits)
5 - App-V - Presentation (531.1 KiB, 1,188 hits)
The day covered a wide range of topics from how to setup a Citrix VDI-in-a-Box proof of concept, the options for thin clients from 10zig and how to take things one step further with Application Virtulisation through App-V.
I feel that the day was quite the success with 20 people from 16 schools attending, not only did we have people from our county of Oxfordshire come along but also as far as Bedfordshire and London.
Either way now its back to work, after all this backup server and Lync phones won’t set up themselves!
For quite some time now we’ve had the odd thing that all the clocks on our Citrix VDI-in-a-Box virtual desktops have been out by 7 hours. First thought was that the sysprep process was putting in the wrong timezone however if this was the case then surely there would be some people having the same issues and posting up on the Citrix forums?
After a little digging I found that the clocks were only out when logging in from our 10zig thin clients. As it turns out the 10zigs all had their timezone settings set to Phoenix in the USA (the homebase of 10zig) and so were 7 hours out. This can only mean that the thin clients (I guess through HDX) were telling the Virtual Desktops to match up with their time zones.
A quick change in the settings of the thin clients soon sorted it out and now all the clocks are showing correctly. The two screen shots below show the places you want to be looking at to update the thin clients to your own timezone-