One of the more popular articles on my blog are those pertaining to Citrix Receiver and the iPad. I am also currently involved in engineering and implementation of a “virtual desktop” pilot. So needless to say I am spending a lot of time researching and reading up on thin client and mobile computing.
Quick fact to start things off: In 2010 its expected that 13% of all corporate computer deployments will be thin clients. I’d also expect mobile computing to show a strong growing trend moving forward, but I was unable to find any hard numbers. So it’s becoming apparent that this isn’t just some niche technology, but in fact something we can all expect to see in the near future, if you haven’t seen it already.
With companies like VMware, Citrix and Wyse introducing mobile applications to allow access to application and desktops that are centrally stored, this is certainly something that will catch on. I am an avid user of my iPad for business use thanks to Citrix Receiver. Sure, there are use cases where a PC/Laptop will trump the iPad for usability, but I’d certainly say that a majority of corporate users can get away with 90% of their work on a mobile device.
For cases where a mobile device won’t suffice, thin clients are certainly an alternative. I think a majority of people know the upsides of virtual desktops and accessing virtualized applications on thin clients. The upside of being able to move from device to device and maintain the same computing space is a major plus in itself, aside from the cost savings, reduced hardware failure and reduction in support required. And there are for more benefits to this approach.
Certainly, with these two technology approaches being in their infancy, there will be arguments against them, and task that they may not be able to do as well as existing computing, or even do at all. This should be expected, as with any new technology, problems will arise and a solution will be implemented with the technology. But I certainly think that virtual desktops, application virtualization, thin clients and mobile computing are going to be a solid entry in the stable of technologies deployed in corporate and enterprise environments.
So what are your thoughts on the legitimacy of Mobile and Thin Computing?
Earlier I posted about Citrix Receiver for the iPad. Well, it seems a few folks are interested here at my work, and we have begun a pilot of Receiver on Apple Mobile products, including the iPad and iPhone. So far, we’ve rolled the system out on three iPads, including my own, and will start on iPhones next week, with mine being the first.
I found this really neat web utility that makes it super fast to configure the Citrix Receiver once it is installed on the mobile device.
All you need to do is fill in the info and it will output a URL link for the user to open on their device to configure the Citrix Receiver with a workspace setup for your Citrix Environment.
The output of the configuration link for the above example configuration was:
This utility can be found HERE
Unless you are living under a rock, you know that the iPad has been a huge success in the consumer market and its starting to trickle into the business world. No doubt, many I.T. Professionals have had someone in upper management come to them and say ‘I’ve got this new iPad, can I use it for business use somehow?’
Well, the answer is yes, thanks to Citrix’s iPad application Citrix Receiver. Receiver is an application that connects with your Citrix environment to access your applications right from your iPad. It even works in conjunction with XenDesktop allowing you to publish full desktops to your iPad user base.
While there are some limitations with this application, namely the requirement of a Access Gateway in the DMZ, VPN Access, or some other sort of network configuration allowing your users into your network remotely, and issues with applications looking for the C: drive of a client machine, all and all I think its a great app. It’s something I use personally when I’m on call instead of lugging around a laptop. Besides, lets be honest; I look far cooler using my iPad than just some generic laptop.
Citrix Receiver is available for the iPad via the AppStore. It is also available for the iPhone, iPod touch, and other smartphone devices, but hey, who wants to access applications on such a small screen.