You control how a user connects to virtualized resources or uses local applications. You also control how devices and users utilize any underlying local resources: full support for VMware View, Microsoft RDP, and Citrix XenDesktop.
Thin Desktop® Use Case Examples
Industrial Machine Shop/ Custom Machine Builder (Manufacturing, Remote Desktop connection)
New PCs were purchased for all non-manufacturing personnel. Management wanted to use the older PCs if they could be repurposed – they also did not budget for recycling and disposal costs. The goal was to reuse the old equipment in the shop until it eventually failed. The repurposed devices require a many of the office capabilities or compute power – but they did need driver support to be useful in the shop and manufacturing areas. The IT staff wanted to use the devices to access server hosted virtual desktops for manufacturing, receiving, shipping and maintenance.
Install Thin Desktop on the old PCs, launching a remote desktop connection. Because the desktop hosted resides on the server, the PC making the connection become a terminal or a software “Thin Client” – with one important distinction – underlying driver support for specialty scanners and printers. The vendor driver support for these devices was available only for a Microsoft OS. In addition, the harsh environment on the shop floor led to frequent device failures. Now, when a PC fails, it is replaced with another repurposed PC – preloaded with a base OS, Thin Desktop and the connection to the virtual desktop. The proof of concept was achieved in one afternoon. Deployment was quickly achieved on the shop floor, in the quality department and at data collection stations. Once the initial deployment was completed, the remaining old devices were reimaged with a “bare bones” image and were ready for quick, easy replacement of failed devices.
Children’s Museum Exhibit (Public Access, Local Application)
A new interactive exhibit was set to open at a well known children’s museum in eastern U.S. The exhibit included PCs running a specific application designed for participation in the exhibit. Within days of opening, problems arose with the exhibit PCs. Attempts to use Group Policy to restrict the functionality of the PC devices created several unwanted complications and restrictions. These Group Policy restrictions made the exhibit a less effective learning experience and compromised the original design created by the museum staff. In addition, the occasional experimenting by curious and resourceful exhibit visitors, led to “blue screened” PCs with no interface available. This made the PC unusable and some required reimaging.
Secure the exhibit PC devices using Thin Desktop. With Thin Desktop, using the specific application became the only capability available to the user. The functionality of the original design remains intact and available to the museum visitors. If an experienced PC user attempts any changes, they quickly find out that they have no access to the underlying PC and that something (Thin Desktop) is monitoring and re-launching the exhibit application – and completely locking them out. This has saved countless IT staff hours and provides assurances to both the IT and museum staff that the exhibit is always available and functional.
Liquor Store Kiosk (Retail, Internet Kiosk)
A Florida based specialty liquor store chain provides in-store kiosks for inventory browsing and ordering at all their locations. The kiosks are intended to be used by customers to locate and order unique and sometimes rare wines, beers, liquors and specialty items. The kiosk had been locked down using Internet Explorer Kiosk mode. When the kiosk was compromised by a customer it led to a variety or problems in the store. Some users used Alt + F4 to defeat Kiosk Mode. These intrusions included service interruptions, “blue screened” kiosks and unauthorized internet usage. These situations usually meant reimaging the PC. A short term preventive action was to have an employee stationed at the kiosk to discourage misuse. All of these solutions were expensive, time consuming and inconvenient.
Install Thin Desktop on the kiosk PC. Thin Desktop completely hides the Microsoft user interface, eliminating the ability to access underlying PC capabilities. By locking down the PC to kiosk mode, only the functionality of the kiosk is available to the user. Users attempting to make any changes or to access other sites, quickly realize that something (Thin Desktop) is monitoring and re-launching the predetermined kiosk application. This has saved hours of reimaging, preserved the original intent of the kiosk and provided assurances to the IT staff and store staff that the kiosk is functional and requires no supervision. The proof of concept was achieved in one evening. Implementation was completed the following evening using existing tools and utilities to install Thin desktop at multiple sites.
Food Manufacturer / Distributor (Manufacturing, RDP Connection)
This food Manufacturer needed to deploy a variety of corporate desktop images to multiple departments. The mix included existing and new devices in multiple locations – supporting multiple functions and log in methods. The desktop images were determined and designed by IT administrators based on the business requirements for each job functions. Most of the images require a connection to a central server, and also require certain drivers and services available at the local device. The complexity and varied requirements defined an environment with a multitude of challenges to meet the corporate directives of the business units.
Install Thin Desktop on each client device and configure the connection methodology to the specified desktop resource on the server. Existing deployment tools and methods were used to deploy the connection application along with Thin Desktop. In addition to connecting to the desktop image, the solution utilizes the existing network driver, print drivers and USB device drivers on the local device. The proof of concept for this project took several weeks. The administrators devised techniques and solutions using existing tools, images and Thin Desktop to create a functional environment for their users.
Lodging Consolidator / Consulting Company (Services, Local Web Application)
This Lodging Services company needed a way to control a variety of local devices for access to an internally written, web based application. This application was used both by the internal customer service staff and by customers. This application was written internally and required certain services, drivers and local capabilities at the device.
Launch the specific application using Thin Desktop. The traditional windows shell/user interface is hidden from the user and the application becomes the local user interface and shell. The user has no access to any of the additional functionality residing on the device. However, the application does have access to the local services and drivers required to support the local user. This project required several days of testing to insure a consistent user experience both internally (staff) and externally (customers).
Corporate Customer (Private Sector, Web Based Access)
Implement the recently acquired web based connection capability for delivery of virtual desktops and/or applications to users. The web based connection and delivery of desktops or applications was based on user credentials entered on any devices on the network.
Install Thin Desktop on the existing local client device to launch the web based client. Thin Desktop directly launches only the vendor supplied web client. The user provides credentials via the web based connection and credentials insure the delivery of the correct user environment. This approach was chosen over a “Zero Client” environment because of the significantly lower cost and the requirement for local driver support at the device. This approach was also attractive because it did not introduce the costs and complexity of a “Zero Client” configuration and management facility.
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