September 2011 E-newsletter
Wyse Technology's New Cloud PC
Wyse Technology is well known for its line of thin client and virtualized systems. The company's newest series of devices is the Z Class. The flagship Z00D Cloud PC is a full-blown, dual-core virtualized cloud PC. When coupled with a Wyse Reference device and WSM server management software, it can capably deliver computing power to end users and scale via additional servers.
The Cloud PC is built for speed, flexibility and versatility, with plenty of ports to support bandwidth-intensive high-definition multimedia applications and multiple monitors. To run fully optimized, the system utilizes Gigabit throughput on its network, but can throttle back to 10/100 bandwidths for smaller installations.
End users will like this device for several reasons. The unit's form factor is tightly packaged in a 1-inch-by-7-inch-by-8.75-inch rectangular box that lets users reclaim a lot of desktop real estate. It can sit on a desk either horizontally or vertically, but the real advantage is that it can be mounted to a wall or, better yet, on the back of a monitor. Users will also benefit from the large number of ports available for multiple peripherals. The back panel boasts three USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports for dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n wireless and a DVI-I port. The front panel features digital audio output and 8-bit stereo input ports and two more USB 2.0 ports.
End users can work on this cloud PC the way they normally work on a traditional system – with just a few caveats. They need to know which applications they can use and how to subscribe or unsubscribe to an application. However, this information is easily accessible from the WSM Client. The icon is found in the systems tray. Another advantage is that users who work on different OSs can work on multiple platforms, provided their administrator has set permissions. Once dialed in, end users store their work files on the server and not on the cloud PC, alleviating typical performance problems that arise on traditional systems that often become over-subscribed.
Why It Works for IT
The Cloud PC makes a compelling economic choice for an IT department, especially in terms of per-unit cost and TCO. The Z00D Cloud PC costs around $500 for the hardware, with a $200 per-seat price tag on the Wyse WSM server management software for which the device is optimized. The OS and applications are streamed from the server, which resides in the data center, to the geographically dispersed stateless Cloud PCs. This simplifies management, saving IT the time and expense of delivering and maintaining desktop software across the organization. Multiple users may use a single Cloud PC, increasing the availability of computing services to the student body and driving down overall IT costs.
The product supports recent Microsoft operating systems (Windows XP Pro, Windows Vista and Windows 7), which are streamed to the Cloud PC from the server. The Cloud PCs are easily managed from a central location via a web-based console.
Installing applications across multiple devices is as simple as setting a base image on one device, designating the first and second partitions to Private Mode and installing the application as it would be installed on a traditional system. Then shut the Cloud PC down, reboot and set the partitions back to Persistent Mode. When the other Cloud PCs on the network are booted, the application is visible on all the devices.
12 to 15 watts
The amount of power Wyse Z-class cloud clients draw under normal use. A typical PC uses between 70 and 150 watts.
SOURCE: Wyse Technology
IT managers can protect the system drive from end-user-initiated updates and unauthorized changes to operating system drives, which increases protection against viruses, spyware or malware.
Once the core server has been upgraded to version 3.6.1 or higher, remote sites must also be upgraded before they can update templates or sync with the core server. Wyse is aware of this, and the issue is disclosed in documentation.
Why Green Matters
EarthSmart Computing is Wyse's corporate green initiative. The Wyse Z-class models comply with Energy Star's Version 5.0 thin client specification. In sleep mode, Wyse Z-class units draw 2 watts, and administrators can manage them remotely. This by itself isn't earthshaking, but multiply it across an enterprise environment and the reduced power consumption can save a whopping 50 percent to 90 percent.