Posted by: Alan Perlman
Microsoft Software Assurance, RemoteFX, VDI, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, Windows 7, Windows Thin PC, WinTPC
Microsoft made some news in the VDI world this week with the announcement that the Release Candidate (RC) for Windows Thin PC (WinTPC) is now available for download and that the Release to Manufacturing version (RTM) will be made available by the end of this quarter. The availability of WinTPC could help to bolster VDI deployments because the idea behind the product is to transform existing client devices into thin clients.
This is especially critical now as organizations are considering when, how and how much of their desktop infrastructure should be migrated to Windows 7. By using VDI as an alternative with thin clients, organizations could repurpose legacy devices and save money they might otherwise be spending on upgrading a significant portion of their desktops/laptops. It could also give organizations yet another reason to deploy VDI for certain applications.
Windows Thin PC is a low footprint, locked-down version of Windows 7. It is only going to be available to Microsoft Software Assurance customers. This makes sense from Microsoft’s standpoint: The product is targeted for volume accounts and is one more potential perk to get businesses to sign up for Software Assurance. Customers with SA coverage can install Windows Thin PC on their devices and customers without SA coverage can purchase a Windows Virtual Desktop Access subscription. Only devices with an existing Windows client OS qualify for WinTPC.
The other big advantage to WinTPC in VDI environments is that it will support RemoteFX out of the box. In many cases one of the biggest hold-ups and drawbacks to VDI deployment has been the user experience or, more accurately, the lack of user experience, meaning thin-client users have not been able to take advantage of rich media applications that are becoming so prevalent today, i.e. I WANT MY YOU TUBE! With RemoteFX, IT departments can deploy virtual desktops on Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 with Hyper-V to deliver rich graphics and multimedia to WinTPC devices.
The announcement of the availability of the release candidate for Windows Thin PC was made by Karri Alexion-Tiernan, director of product management for Microsoft Desktop Virtualization, in a blog post on Monday (Windows Thin Release Candidate Now Available). Alexion-Tiernan noted that there have been thousands of downloads of the software since the launch of the Windows Thin PC Community Technology Preview program on March 28.
Customers that have tried the CTP have reported the following, according to the blog post: They like the reduced footprint of the WinTPC; they like the write filters; and they like that they can leverage their existing System Center products for management and deployment. What don’t they like about it? Funny, Alexion-Tiernan didn’t mention anything at all. Perhaps here at VDI Trender we can find someone to comment on what they like or don’t like about Windows Thin PC. Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?