Microsoft Releases Windows Thin PC OS for Virtual Desktops
Fresh from the Microsoft blogosphere comes news that Windows Thin PC is now available for Software Assurance customers. The VAR Guy was intrigued with this idea when he first heard about it in March 2011, and the fact that Microsoft has designed an entry-level way for companies to jump on virtualization makes Windows Thin PC worth a second look. Read on for some more details on the offering …
In case you missed it, Windows Thin PC is essentially a custom operating system that IT admins can install on old machines in the workplace, re-purposing them as Windows thin clients for companies with Microsoft VDI deployments. Although the concept of thin clients is nothing new, this is the first time a company has focused on a entire OS dedicated to delivering that virtual desktop. Plus, our resident blogger pointed out in earlier post, the end customer doesn’t need a VDA license to access the VDI desktop. Nifty.
What’s more, Windows Thin PC offers unique virtualization technologies including RemoteFX, which offers a virtual desktop experience that, according to Microsoft, feels local. Plus, under-the-hood tweaks prevent unscrupulous users from accessing the underlying operating system and physical machine that is being re-purposed. Microsoft has also included BitLocker and AppLocker features to entice enterprises to adopt Windows Thin PC, in addition to protection features that allow IT admins to “use a common set of malware protection tools” across both real desktops and Thin PC ones.
If you’re not a Software Assurance member, Microsoft has a few ways you can try out Thin PC to see if it’s right for you. The first — and easiest — way is to download a 90-day evaluation version. Second, if you’re an MSDN or TechNet subscriber, you’re already on board to download, install and virtualize. Silver and Gold partners inside the Microsoft Partner Network have access to Thin PC if they’re already on board with the “desktop and virtualization competencies.”
Strangely absent? A price tag. We’ll be reaching out to Microsoft regarding some pricing specs and be sure to update you with them here. The VAR Guy would be interested to know just how much savings a company or VAR could find in re-purposing old door stops, and if there’s a point at which investing in real thin clients would be better than deploying a fleet of beat up Thin PCs.