VMware ViewFor this post, a good friend and colleague of mine, Linus Bourque, is making a guest appearance on Punching Clouds. Here’s what my boy has to say about VMware View:

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I had to chuckle the other day. A friend came up to me and commented how much he hates VMware. I was a bit puzzled. Since he knew I worked for them and I espouse many of the wonderful features I couldn’t quite understand the reasoning behind hating us.

“Uh.. why”, I asked.

“Because I had to put a heater into my datacenter, it’s that good!”, he bellowed with a grin.

It’s true. Virtualization has resulted in the datacenter becoming small again because of server consolidation. But it’s not just servers that can be consolidated. For the longest time, IT departments have been attempting to find ways to regain control over desktops in an effort to reduce the invasion of various malware, the compromise of intellectual property (IP) and resource wasting. Virtualization the desktop can definitely address these issues, particularly when you use a product like VMware View. This can be used from the smallest environment to the largest. Although the official supported preference is that you have one vCenter and one ESXi server (to take advantage of vCenter provisioning and Composer), you don’t have to have that.  Let’s first talk about what the user can experience when logging on. You can use a “thick client” which would mean installing a Windows application. This particular client gives you all the possible bells-and-whistles. You can access USB (if allowed and without RDP redirection), easily access your local printer through the use of ThinPrint engine, ensure single-sign on (SSO) through the use of VMware’s GINA and, with the Offline option, download a virtual machine onto your local system to run there (this feature is experimental at this time). If you have a thin client with Windows XP Embedded (WinXPe) you may be able to install the client on it.

Alternatively you can use a browser to access the View Portal. For Linux and Mac users, at this point, this is the main supported option. For Windows XP, Vista or 2000 Pro clients you would use Internet Explorer. For Linux Firefox with JRE 1.5+ and for Mac, Safari with JRE 1.5+ and RDC 2.0 (free download from Microsoft). We have partnered with some thin client manufacturers to have a Linux client. You can, however, try the open source Linux client. While this is in beta, it can allow you to take older systems, slap on a lighter Linux or perhaps create a Linux ISO and install the rpm or debian install files.

VMware View Linux Client

VMware View Linux Client

But the main client platform of choice remains thin clients. The reasons are varied but some include less physical desk footprint, better control (most thin clients do not have CDs, extra USB ports, etc.) and, the main reason, is less power usage. Check out Wyse’s video demonstration below of a comparison between a physical desktop and a Wyse terminal as far as power usage is concerned.

Wyse Thin Client vs PC

One company I spoke to said they’d save about 65% in power savings each month! In a day and age where saving money and looking green are important, these can help the bottom line. As the demo shows thin clients use about a tenth of the power and since desktops are where the majority of power is being consumed this is a major win for a company. You can also add ease of support to this. If a physical component fails, given the pricing of the thin clients, it’s easier to have a closet or small room with extra monitors, connectors, etc. available for users to grab.

I guess this will mean my friend will have to get heaters for all the employees.

Author Bio: Linus Bourque is a Technical Trainer with VMware and specifically specializes in educating customers on how to use VMware View. He previously was a professor at Seneca College in Toronto, Canada and taught students how to “audit” corporate environments security by “compromising” their security.