Year In Review: Thin clients get boost from desktop virtualization

While the concept of thin client is not new, it garnered plenty of attention this year as desktop virtualization became a hot topic. Desktop virtualization continued to make its presence in the realm of the thin client with vendors releasing offerings to help enhance the slim PC model.

VMware Inc. released the updated virtual desktop manager VMware View to provide, the company said, the richness of a thick client but with the manageability of a thin client. VWware also said this year that Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), the hosting of multiple sets of PC applications and operating systems on one server, will remain a focus in the next several years due to its ability to render a richer traditional thin client model.

And Hewlett-Packard Co. announced updates to its Virtual Desktop Infrastructure suite to better handle multimedia content, something thin clients haven’t necessarily been able to do well, with enhanced video playback and USB peripherals like Webcams.

Offering a different approach to the usual options presented by thin clients, desktop blades and virtualization tools, Lenovo released its storage-based and hard-drive free Secure Managed Client (SMC) so data can be stored in a non-server remote location.

There was a new version of Microsoft Corp.’s desktop management toolset Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) including App-V 4.5 (formerly Softgrid) so users can package applications, store and manage them on a server before streaming them to desktops and devices.

And not to be left out, Citrix Systems Inc., after renaming its Presentation Server application delivery software to XenApp and trumpeting it’s expertise in application virtualization, released XenApp 5 later in the year.

To help original equipment manufacturers connect thin clients to existing IT systems, Microsoft Corp. announced Windows Embedded Standard 2009 Community Technology Preview (CTP) for download in works with Silverlight and .NET.

Desktop virtualization aside, HP also said its thin client PCs, built on technology the company acquired in 2007 through Neoware Inc., can be used to alleviate the network of heavy loads.

And, mobile thin clients was also on the radar as HP introduced the HP Compaq 6720T Mobile Thin Client model with minimal storage and wireless networking features.

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