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Xen Desktop Virtualization - Thin Install?

Posted on 2008-10-24
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I have been looking at the Xen technologies provided by Citrix and would like to know more about virtualizing desktops.  Any assistance or direction for setting that up would be great.

To my main question... Right now as far as I know you install the Xen client on a computer with a full operating system.  Is there any thin version of this client that can be installed on a PC with no operating system?  For instance a version that could be loaded onto a clean hard disk?  Or perhaps even a USB flash drive?

One of the advantages I see to virtualization is recovery, but if we still have to reload an operating system prior to installing the client, that slows down the recovery process.  I know we could ghost our drives or whatever, but if there is some ultra lightweight install I would love to know about it.

Thank you.
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Question by:level9tech
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by:Craig Roberds
ID: 22813506
I am not an exprt of thin clients (I currently have all thick clients) but I see this question has been up for a bit.

Citrix works well with most thin clients.  For best results you need XP Embedded.  You can use Linux/Windows CE but you lose PN Agent and a few other features like graphic capability.  You can get around PN Agent by publishing a desktop and then running PN Agent inside of that desktop but that requires a little more setup.

Thin clients used to be popular because of cost in large environments.  With PC's now so inexpensive, most thin client users select them for the reason you mention, ease of setup and recovery and a way to lock down users.  Keep in mind printing can be slightly more involved depending on the printers you use and other options you need.

Citrix and HP seem to have teamed up in the thin client area, you may want to look here:  http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/newsroom/feature_stories/2007/07thinclient.html

Brian Madden's site (www.brianmadden.com) has an article on thin vs thick clients but their search engine doesn't seem to be working so I cannot find it.  If I get it later I will post it.

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bmonroe44 earned 500 total points
ID: 22830941
There is actually a company called iGel that makes a card that plugs directly into your PC which converts it to a thin client.

http://www.igel.com/igel/live.php,navigation_id,1297,_psmand,9.html
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by:Craig Roberds
ID: 22834759
I found one of the articles I was looking for.  Looks like Brian Madden is changing his site around so I can't find one other one I know is out there.  

Hopefully this helps at least a little:

http://www.brianmadden.com/blogs/terminal_services_for_microsoft_windows_server_2003_advanced_technical_design_guide/archive/2007/08/09/client-device-planning-considerations.aspx

Madden's site is very good for information on citrix and terminal server.  As is www.msterminalservices.org and www.dabcc.com

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by:Craig Roberds
ID: 22834958
BTW read all of the comments below the article.  Quite an education, I had read that a year or so ago and forgot about it.  A couple of EE guys commenting in their as well, BLipman and tsmvp, giving their opinions, both of which are very good.
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