The Duchess of Windsor once famously quipped, “You can never be too rich or too thin.” If she was a modern day IT director, however, she might be lamenting that neither is satisfactory. End-users want their PCs rich, powerful and mobile, and most IT managers would like to give them what they want. However, given budget constraints, nightmares of lost laptops brimming with customer records and the job of keeping applications uniform across an entire fleet of PCs, many IT managers might, albeit with regret, conclude, “Make mine thin, manageable and secure.” To many IT professionals, this may seem the best answer: equip as many end-users as possible with thin clients, and store the images and data on a central server where they can be maintained and guarded. As we know, that works fine in some instances, but today’s end-users are too mobile, too performance oriented and too stubborn to part with their high-powered, go-anywhere-anytime PCs. My Aunt Ruth, a duchess to me, used to tell me, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” As Intel’s PR guy for business PCs, that’s what I’ve also been learning from Mike Ferron-Jones about client computing. Mike heads up Intel’s research into a number of different models for client computing or what he calls “dynamic virtual clients.” The idea is to give IT managers what they want – the efficiency and security of managing client applications, data and even OSs on a server, but without a large datacenter buildout – while at the same time offering in-kind benefits to end-users – the performance and mobility they’re accustomed to. Simply put, the best of rich and thin. Mike accomplishes this with various combinations of virtualization, streaming and storage, all with a financial objective commensurate with IT’s dwindling budgets. If you’re interested in learning more, Mike has been asked to talk about “Dynamic Virtual Clients – How To Be Rich and Thin” at BrightTALK’s Virtualization Webcast, which airs here at 3:45 p.m. PST, Tue. Nov. 4.
If you can’t make that, there’s plenty to be learned on the Intel Emerging Compute Model Forum. Check them both out. As Mike likes to say (yeah, there’s one more) about dynamic virtual clients, “You can have your cake and eat it too.”