Zero client or thin client, which one?

We’ve been running wyse thin clients here for as long as I remember. I got a few trial thin clients from Ncomputing when they first came out but the manage software and the units themselves still had issues.

We use Xenapp for both published applications and published desktops, sometimes we use the built in browser or telnet/ssh client too. So zero clients wouldn’t work for us.

But the other day I was asked by management what is a zero client, the question caught me off guard. Its not something you hear an executive ask about everyday. I’m guessing someone got their ear, but I was happy to explain the difference.

Zero clients are single purpose devices, they have one function and one protocol. They typically connect directly to a vdi session, which then would provide the end user with their applications. Thin clients run a ‘thin’ OS that gives them additional features and functions. Vmware jumped on the zero client train first with PCOIP hardware accelerated low cost units. Citrix had to work with wyse and others to offer a similar solution for ICA because the marketing for zero clients and vmware view was consuming the discussions about 2 years ago.

I found an info-graphic to explain a little more about the pros and cons of thin vs zero clients. I hope you enjoy it.


Thin Client vs. Zero Client

Photo by Defense Logistics Agency

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