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Wyse's Thin Clients Touted For Virtualized Desktops

The company launches new hardware and software in hopes of capturing virtualization and energy-sensitive customers.

Virtual desktop software is breathing new life into clients so thin they were once given up for dead.

In the old desktop world, hardware consisted mostly of PCs and laptops. Even in the case of virtualized applications running on Citrix Systems' Presentation Server, thin clients made up only 20% of the desktop machines compared to 80% PCs and laptops, even though the Presentation Server setting supposedly enabled the thin client, said Jeff McNaught, Wyse Technology chief marketing officer, in an interview.

But the new forms of virtualized desktops offer thin clients hope for a new world order. Approaches by VMware, XenSource, and other virtual software vendors indicate desktops can be virtualized in software on central servers, then configured for individual users or provisioned for distinct user groups and updated with new operating systems or applications without IT staffers leaving the data center, McNaught said.

Wyse thin clients, all of which contain no hard drive, have been primed to act as the desktop machines for VMware's Virtual Desktop Manager, the company said Wednesday at VMworld in Cannes, France. That means if you have VMware's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure installed, with Virtual Desktop Manager, the server and thin client will find each other out of the box and know how to communicate.

"Wyse S, V, X, and G thin clients have all been certified to work with Virtual Desktop manager out of the box," said McNaught.

The thin clients may be running Windows XP Embedded, Linux of Wyse Thin OS as their operating system, but they all have a built in connection to Virtual Desktop Manager, which in turn connects the client machine to a virtual machine on a data center server. The automated connection simplifies deployment of virtual desktops, McNaught said, while the units require only .6 watts or about the same amount of electricity as a Christmas tree bulb.

"This type of collaboration makes Wyse unique in the market," said Tarkan Maner, CEO of Wyse Technology.

Wyse also announced two new mobile thin clients, the X90L and X90Le, at VMworld. The mobile clients look like thin laptops and are capable of connecting directly to wired, 1 Gigabit Ethernet corporate networks or to 802.11b/g/n wireless Ethernet LAN. The device could move with an employee who leaves his desk and moves into a conference room or into another building on a corporate campus. The X90L is priced at $729 and X90Le at $799.

The X90e model can also invoke Bluetooth as a wireless connection when users are on the road.

In a third announcement, the San Jose firm said it has produced software that supports USB devices on its own thin clients running Windows XP Embedded. The software makes the USB device manageable via the virtual desktop in the same manner that it would be manage if plugged directly into a Windows PC, McNaught said. It is priced at $25 per seat.

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