Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?



  • This is because a thin client isn't really a thing, it's just a configuration.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @Dashrender said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @Dashrender said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @StorageNinja said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @bbigford said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    They are slow as fuck in most environments

    Are they slow, or did someone underprovision the Shitrix environment behind it?

    the problem I've always had with thin clients was flash. Any app or webpage that used flash caused the whole screen to flash white between pages. Though this never happened on a typical PC - Even Windows XP with 1 GB RAM - it never flashed and worked well.

    You mean you had a problem with RDP or other remote sessions, not Flash locally on a thin client? I think you are mixing the concept of the hardware with the effects of some remote access protocols. Very different things. It's like being unhappy with your car based on not having found a road that wasn't congested.

    It was RDP in both cases into TS/RDS. The only difference was the hardware. So yeah, pretty sure I was comparing only the cars on the same road.

    Had to be different software handling the protocol. You used the same RDP connection, one from a "full PC" and one from a thin client to the same RDS server and got different results?

    This suggests that your thin client was likely not up to date (many are not, a standard problem with them) and that it was falling back to an older RDP version.

    While is suppose it’s possible, the last testing I did was with a brand new HP thin client latest software versus an XP PC. Same problem, flag based apps/pages would always flash white on the screen.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    This is because a thin client isn't really a thing, it's just a configuration.

    My thinking of the time was that the RDP protocol was able to use the video card abilities better in the PC versus the thin client.... ie the thin client had shit hardware for the video card/component.



  • @Dashrender said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @Dashrender said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @Dashrender said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @StorageNinja said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @bbigford said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    They are slow as fuck in most environments

    Are they slow, or did someone underprovision the Shitrix environment behind it?

    the problem I've always had with thin clients was flash. Any app or webpage that used flash caused the whole screen to flash white between pages. Though this never happened on a typical PC - Even Windows XP with 1 GB RAM - it never flashed and worked well.

    You mean you had a problem with RDP or other remote sessions, not Flash locally on a thin client? I think you are mixing the concept of the hardware with the effects of some remote access protocols. Very different things. It's like being unhappy with your car based on not having found a road that wasn't congested.

    It was RDP in both cases into TS/RDS. The only difference was the hardware. So yeah, pretty sure I was comparing only the cars on the same road.

    Had to be different software handling the protocol. You used the same RDP connection, one from a "full PC" and one from a thin client to the same RDS server and got different results?

    This suggests that your thin client was likely not up to date (many are not, a standard problem with them) and that it was falling back to an older RDP version.

    While is suppose it’s possible, the last testing I did was with a brand new HP thin client latest software versus an XP PC. Same problem, flag based apps/pages would always flash white on the screen.

    Many thin clients don't run Windows and use a completely different RDP library. That is often the cause of issues.



  • @Dashrender said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    This is because a thin client isn't really a thing, it's just a configuration.

    My thinking of the time was that the RDP protocol was able to use the video card abilities better in the PC versus the thin client.... ie the thin client had shit hardware for the video card/component.

    Even in 2013 HP was shipping quad core i5 procs and serious graphics cards in thin clients.

    https://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2423364,00.asp


  • Vendor

    @scottalanmiller said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    Many thin clients don't run Windows and use a completely different RDP library. That is often the cause of issues.

    Many thin clients don't use RDP. While the protocol wars were fun (ICA vs. PCoIP!) I'm seeing everyone consolidate on highly customized stacks that at their core for image processing leverage H.264, and H.265. This is because for mobile and SOC have hardware decoders for this. (Blast Extreme and Citrix's HDX whatever it's called now do this).



  • @scottalanmiller said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @Dashrender said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    This is because a thin client isn't really a thing, it's just a configuration.

    My thinking of the time was that the RDP protocol was able to use the video card abilities better in the PC versus the thin client.... ie the thin client had shit hardware for the video card/component.

    Even in 2013 HP was shipping quad core i5 procs and serious graphics cards in thin clients.

    https://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2423364,00.asp

    Sure it might have been an option, but as previously mentioned - who wants to spend as much on a thin client as you do on a typical desktop? I suppose for a test I could have tried that, but alas we never did - we went with baseline units with onboard graphics... but then again, the XP IBM PCs we were running from 1999 were also all onboard graphics - yet never had the 'flashing' problem the thin clients did.

    I even worked with HP support in an effort to resolve the problem, which we never did.



  • @Dashrender said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    Sure it might have been an option, but as previously mentioned - who wants to spend as much on a thin client as you do on a typical desktop?

    Well, you do because of needs you defined.

    The problem is, you are comparing "fast hardware to slow hardware" but reporting it as "fat clients and thin clients."

    You are getting your correlation wrong. It has nothing to do with them being thin clients. It has to do with a trend of your specific experience in having purchased (or tested) thin clients incorrectly but fat clients correctly. It is your emotional reaction to how you perceive pricing "should be" for one and not the other, rather than how it actually is.

    If you want to do things that require heavy processing on the thin client, then you need a more expensive thin client. Period. It's that simple.

    And in general, thin clients are more expensive, not less (purely a market thing), so people wanting them "cheaper" is a misconception entirely.



  • @Dashrender said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    I suppose for a test I could have tried that, but alas we never did - we went with baseline units with onboard graphics... but then again, the XP IBM PCs we were running from 1999 were also all onboard graphics - yet never had the 'flashing' problem the thin clients did.

    I even worked with HP support in an effort to resolve the problem, which we never did.

    My guess here is that you were testing Windows fat clients against non-Windows thin clients with totally different RDP code. And likely that was the issue more than anything.

    The problem is here, you are testing different hardware, software, and approaches, all at once. Unless you do more testing to narrow it down, you can't really say that you had a thin client problem (because you proved that that can't be the case with part of your test) because you were testing two other, far bigger, things at the same time and there is every reason (and effective proof) that they, not the thin client structure, was the issue.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @Dashrender said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    I suppose for a test I could have tried that, but alas we never did - we went with baseline units with onboard graphics... but then again, the XP IBM PCs we were running from 1999 were also all onboard graphics - yet never had the 'flashing' problem the thin clients did.

    I even worked with HP support in an effort to resolve the problem, which we never did.

    My guess here is that you were testing Windows fat clients against non-Windows thin clients with totally different RDP code. And likely that was the issue more than anything.

    The problem is here, you are testing different hardware, software, and approaches, all at once. Unless you do more testing to narrow it down, you can't really say that you had a thin client problem (because you proved that that can't be the case with part of your test) because you were testing two other, far bigger, things at the same time and there is every reason (and effective proof) that they, not the thin client structure, was the issue.

    Point taken - I never believed the 'thin client' itself couldn't do it - Just wasn't expecting to need thin client devices as powerful or more so than desktop machines running XP to be required to get an as good experience. This whole thing once again showing that that setup is rarely about cost savings - which was the main reason we were even looking at thin clients in the first place.



  • @Dashrender said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @Dashrender said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    I suppose for a test I could have tried that, but alas we never did - we went with baseline units with onboard graphics... but then again, the XP IBM PCs we were running from 1999 were also all onboard graphics - yet never had the 'flashing' problem the thin clients did.

    I even worked with HP support in an effort to resolve the problem, which we never did.

    My guess here is that you were testing Windows fat clients against non-Windows thin clients with totally different RDP code. And likely that was the issue more than anything.

    The problem is here, you are testing different hardware, software, and approaches, all at once. Unless you do more testing to narrow it down, you can't really say that you had a thin client problem (because you proved that that can't be the case with part of your test) because you were testing two other, far bigger, things at the same time and there is every reason (and effective proof) that they, not the thin client structure, was the issue.

    Point taken - I never believed the 'thin client' itself couldn't do it - Just wasn't expecting to need thin client devices as powerful or more so than desktop machines running XP to be required to get an as good experience. This whole thing once again showing that that setup is rarely about cost savings - which was the main reason we were even looking at thin clients in the first place.

    It can be about cost savings, but not at the device level. It's about lowering the cost of support and maintenance.


  • Vendor

    @Dashrender said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    Just wasn't expecting to need thin client devices as powerful or more so than desktop machines running XP to be required to get an as good experience

    Zero Clients have less intelligence than a rock (It's an ASIC that gets it's firmware by PXE boot) and I can play Skyrim on them over PCoIP. Printer Redirection will not really work, and god help you with a IO USB device over the WAN but a Thin client doesn't need to be that powerful for graphics beyond 2D resolution support, and number of monitor support.

    All the new Thin Clients protocols are based on H.265. That is decoded in cheap(ish) SOC. Even an old iPhone 5/iPad 4 support H.265. In this case the CPU load is zero for the graphics as it's fully offloaded end to end.



  • @StorageNinja said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @Dashrender said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    Just wasn't expecting to need thin client devices as powerful or more so than desktop machines running XP to be required to get an as good experience

    Zero Clients have less intelligence than a rock (It's an ASIC that gets it's firmware by PXE boot) and I can play Skyrim on them over PCoIP. Printer Redirection will not really work, and god help you with a IO USB device over the WAN but a Thin client doesn't need to be that powerful for graphics beyond 2D resolution support, and number of monitor support.

    All the new Thin Clients protocols are based on H.265. That is decoded in cheap(ish) SOC. Even an old iPhone 5/iPad 4 support H.265. In this case the CPU load is zero for the graphics as it's fully offloaded end to end.

    As mentioned by others - I'm sure it was the implementation of RDP in the devices I was using - from my POV it was passing the Flash video information to the end device for execution instead of a video stream. I can't explain it beyond that.

    With Flash being all but dead today, with any luck that problem is gone.



  • @Dashrender said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @StorageNinja said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @Dashrender said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    Just wasn't expecting to need thin client devices as powerful or more so than desktop machines running XP to be required to get an as good experience

    Zero Clients have less intelligence than a rock (It's an ASIC that gets it's firmware by PXE boot) and I can play Skyrim on them over PCoIP. Printer Redirection will not really work, and god help you with a IO USB device over the WAN but a Thin client doesn't need to be that powerful for graphics beyond 2D resolution support, and number of monitor support.

    All the new Thin Clients protocols are based on H.265. That is decoded in cheap(ish) SOC. Even an old iPhone 5/iPad 4 support H.265. In this case the CPU load is zero for the graphics as it's fully offloaded end to end.

    As mentioned by others - I'm sure it was the implementation of RDP in the devices I was using - from my POV it was passing the Flash video information to the end device for execution instead of a video stream. I can't explain it beyond that.

    With Flash being all but dead today, with any luck that problem is gone.

    I imagine it was just really heavy video processing being sent without the benefits of "Windows compression" due to a lack of Flash awareness or something like h.264 that would normally handle it gracefully.



  • @StorageNinja said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @bbigford said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    They are slow as fuck in most environments

    Are they slow, or did someone underprovision the Shitrix environment behind it?

    Not a configuration issue with infrastructure (Citrix or VMware), since zero clients ran great. The thin hardware endpoints were always just slow as fuck.



  • @scottalanmiller i basicall disagree with most of the people in here about "thin client" are out of date.. it is all "old problem" belonging from back in 2008-2011 when video & flash and movin content became mainstream.. and the protocols wasent "tuned" for that kind of media... i am going to link to a video with RDP at 2560*1440 resolution running on a "thin client" laptop... it is made from my home (over wireless) to a server located at my company (well server, at is a hyper-v, running a win10 , and that is also connected wireless)... the max bandwith used i 6Mbit.. the are 2 3D application running "solid works" and "google earth" + netflix +media player and tv broadcast session... have a look.... thin client with proper management work well ( and it is a 300€ laptop) just watch the video at the bottom of the article https://nexterminal.dk/2020/03/27/video-killed-the-radio-star/ ps: it is a linux based thin client



  • @jkaspersen said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @scottalanmiller i basicall disagree with most of the people in here about "thin client" are out of date.. it is all "old problem" belonging from back in 2008-2011 when video & flash and movin content became mainstream.. and the protocols wasent "tuned" for that kind of media... i am going to link to a video with RDP at 2560*1440 resolution running on a "thin client" laptop... it is made from my home (over wireless) to a server located at my company (well server, at is a hyper-v, running a win10 , and that is also connected wireless)... the max bandwith used i 6Mbit.. the are 2 3D application running "solid works" and "google earth" + netflix +media player and tv broadcast session... have a look.... thin client with proper management work well ( and it is a 300€ laptop) just watch the video at the bottom of the article https://nexterminal.dk/2020/03/27/video-killed-the-radio-star/ ps: it is a linux based thin client

    I just looked at the device and I'm confused... it looks like a fat client. The specs talk about how it runs Windows 10 and Ubuntu Linux, the price is higher than the entry point to fat clients, the amount of processing and RAM included only make sense if intended to be fat. From looking at it, it's a fat client that you will probably want to use primarily for remote access. It's essentially exactly the point of my article, isn't it? That today, people want local features, not just RDP, so are using regular "fat" hardware and just doing things like RDP from it rather than custom making physical thin clients that can't run regular OSes or open web browsers and such. I think rather than disagreeing, you pointed out why the original article was correct. To make a useful "thin client" today, you don't make one.



  • Here are the specs...

    https://nexterminal.dk/vare/nexlaptop/

    Quad core CPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD. Clearly not a physical thin client, at all. In fact, that's more horsepower than 80% of my clients end normal end points. My own laptop, which is quite nice still, is only a dual core, 8GB, 120GB for example!

    A true physical thin client would never need more than 2GB at an extreme high end and would often be okay with 1GB or even less. 16GB of storage would be overkill (but it's so cheap at that point, why cut corners.) And it might as well be an SD card since nothing is ever read or written to it. The CPU you might need for RDP processing, but generally even a dual core ARM is enough for that.

    The price on this device seems really great. I'm sure it's a nice device. But a thin client, it is not. It's exactly what I had proposed - that fat clients have more functionality and are so cheap today that there is no logical reason to make a pure physical thin client anymore. This fat client is cheaper than a thin client is. Why would anyone pay similar, let alone more, for a true thin client when a general purpose fat client like this is available?



  • @scottalanmiller i havent done anything but working with thin client for the last 20 years.. been distribution (dosent anymore) both Fujitsu, Neoware VXL etc but make my own now.. the video was an example.. as the stream is AVC444 (H.264) it is decoded by graphics chip and could have been a single core 4GB/16GB machine... it is the software which make hw a thin client, but i give you another example with citrix on a 2GB ram/8GB gb flash is here.. a stationary thin client (nexstation IX also a 300 usd device)(ps we dont sell that anymore) is this small enough for you to be a thin client? it is not the hardware itself that make something a thin client, but it is the embedded software, if the definition of a thin client is slow hw, then ofcourse they are less usable.. but a thin client is fanless ,low power , purpose build os, and the management that belongs to it.. unicons-software(software guys who make thin client software) minimum requrements are today ,
    Processor: x86, 2 GHz (4 CPUs) or more, 64-bit-capable
    RAM: 4 GB or more
    HDD: 16 GB or more
    GPU (Graphics processing unit): AMD or Intel chipset
    Network: 1 x Ethernet or 1 x WLAN
    I/O ports: USB 3.0 or USB 2.0, USB boot support so even the laptop is within those specs

    anyway 3D HDX on a 2/8GB J1900 machine , software rendered.. ( again video in the buttom of article).. https://nexterminal.dk/2020/03/18/3d-hdx-paa-tynde-klienter-kan-man-det/

    i agree that 1GB ram and 1GB flash is more like a thin client, but thin clients like that i stopped selling back in 2013... and if you look at HP , fujitsu all their clients have high specs as mine.. the reason is all the requirement that is to be expected from thin clients today like browser redirection which uses webkit, support for RTC (telephony direct from client), these technologies require both cpu and ram.. the advantage of a thin client is it reduced functionality and the excessive lockdown and the management. it is afterall nice to know exactly what is installed in 4000 retail stores on each device, and beeing sure there is only the software on them which is planned.. ex a citrix workspace client and nothing else... and that has nothing to do with hardware... but os and functionality..

    i think you even said that you self once πŸ™‚ https://mangolassi.it/topic/12525/thin-clients-and-fat-clients (just found it a sec ago)



  • @jkaspersen said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    it is the software which make hw a thin client,

    Yeah, but that's missing the point of this thread which is that all you need now is software and the idea of having custom made hardware that is only a thin client and not general purpose no longer is needed. That you are saying it's only the software that matters means you are agreeing with the thread - because that was the point.



  • @jkaspersen said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    t is not the hardware itself that make something a thin client, but it is the embedded software

    Neither, actually, it's the use case. But this thread isn't about thin clients, it's about the hardware used by thin clients.

    You are discussing what is and isn't a thin client, but no one else was. We were discussing hardware built to do nothing but be a thin client (no general purpose potential) and general purpose hardware that can run thin client software (like yours.)

    It seems like we are in agreement and your company's products are simply embodying what I was saying - that the kind of hardware you are using could be used for anything, and that is more effective in a thin client setup than custom building extremely limited power hardware that only serves one purpose.

    Market pressures make this make sense... general purpose CPUs, RAM chips, etc. are so cheap that custom making something "less capable" just to be limited to being a thin client no longer makes sense. We used to do it because fat client hardware was costly and it was a place to cut corners. Today, the massive volume of general purpose hardware outweighs the "overbuilding" aspects of it.



  • @jkaspersen said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    i agree that 1GB ram and 1GB flash is more like a thin client, but thin clients like that i stopped selling back in 2013

    Right. This is what my article was saying, exactly. You are just repeating what I had said. That stuff doesn't make sense any more, you can do thin clients better using standard "fat client" hardware.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @jkaspersen said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    t is not the hardware itself that make something a thin client, but it is the embedded software

    Neither, actually, it's the use case. But this thread isn't about thin clients, it's about the hardware used by thin clients.

    You are discussing what is and isn't a thin client, but no one else was. We were discussing hardware built to do nothing but be a thin client (no general purpose potential) and general purpose hardware that can run thin client software (like yours.)

    It seems like we are in agreement and your company's products are simply embodying what I was saying - that the kind of hardware you are using could be used for anything, and that is more effective in a thin client setup than custom building extremely limited power hardware that only serves one purpose.

    Market pressures make this make sense... general purpose CPUs, RAM chips, etc. are so cheap that custom making something "less capable" just to be limited to being a thin client no longer makes sense. We used to do it because fat client hardware was costly and it was a place to cut corners. Today, the massive volume of general purpose hardware outweighs the "overbuilding" aspects of it.

    Just adding the "thin client" software frequently makes those systems more costly. If you have AD already, management of Windows on those remote access devices running windows is included - if not, something like salt could be used on the Windows install on those devices, likely saving a ton over buying/etc "thin client" software.



  • @Dashrender said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    Just adding the "thin client" software frequently makes those systems more costly.

    You mean because you have to manage it in some completely unique way?



  • @scottalanmiller said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @Dashrender said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    Just adding the "thin client" software frequently makes those systems more costly.

    You mean because you have to manage it in some completely unique way?

    No, because that software is likely more expensive than a Windows license. But yeah, you could toss that on the pile, it's one more thing to learn how to maintain/manage (though that really shouldn't matter - we are IT after all, but it does still play at least a consideration)



  • @Dashrender said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    No, because that software is likely more expensive than a Windows license.

    All major thin client software is free.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @Dashrender said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    No, because that software is likely more expensive than a Windows license.

    All major thin client software is free.

    well eLux is FREE, but the management is not πŸ™‚ .. anyway the reason i linked to the video before is that at least 2 contributors said "not same functionality" "chrome is better" "slow as fuck" "pc desktop is better"... so i just wanted to show it basically possible to have same user experience on a thin client.. with "shitrix" or "PooOip". .. noamally i user the rigth name... but i still wanna be a "gang member" πŸ™‚



  • @jkaspersen said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @Dashrender said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    No, because that software is likely more expensive than a Windows license.

    All major thin client software is free.

    well eLux is FREE, but the management is not πŸ™‚ .. anyway the reason i linked to the video before is that at least 2 contributors said "not same functionality" "chrome is better" "slow as fuck" "pc desktop is better"... so i just wanted to show it basically possible to have same user experience on a thin client.. with "shitrix" or "PooOip". .. noamally i user the rigth name... but i still wanna be a "gang member" πŸ™‚

    The management piece is often where the cost is.

    You can use eLux effectively on most any "fat" hardware, correct? I see it has an ARM version, does RP4 work?



  • @scottalanmiller said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @jkaspersen said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    @Dashrender said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    No, because that software is likely more expensive than a Windows license.

    All major thin client software is free.

    well eLux is FREE, but the management is not πŸ™‚ .. anyway the reason i linked to the video before is that at least 2 contributors said "not same functionality" "chrome is better" "slow as fuck" "pc desktop is better"... so i just wanted to show it basically possible to have same user experience on a thin client.. with "shitrix" or "PooOip". .. noamally i user the rigth name... but i still wanna be a "gang member" πŸ™‚

    The management piece is often where the cost is.

    You can use eLux effectively on most any "fat" hardware, correct? I see it has an ARM version, does RP4 work?

    forget the ARM... not developed.. as the were many "client apps" not made for arm... so it is kind of discontinued... ps: i have to do a lot of cleaning up on my website... so current info is on myelux.com

    any yes.... eLux works on "almost" any X64 platform... though wireless drivers can be an issue... rigth now the have a "free everyting" offer if you run it from a USB stick .. until 31. October....



  • @jkaspersen said in Is the Physical Thin Client Era Dead?:

    forget the ARM... not developed..

    Oh, that's too bad.


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