device

Any device, anywhere, any time… Chromebook vs Raspberry Pi


Started working for Citrix a month ago and the mantra of Citrix is that you can work from anywhere on any device at any time. I’ve been in IT since ’93 and worked with Citrix products since ’96. As many know I worked with competitors as well for many years, not bound by a vendor for 24 years. Joining them gives me a unique inside view of how they (we I should say) work. It really is, eating your own dogfood, we work with exactly the same products and solution I implemented for years at customers. Due to a delivery error, my laptop is not there yet, but as an IT guy, there is always some device laying in your room, right? So I went on a scavenging for devices to be useful for Citrix.

Chromebook

My wife works in healthcare and healthcare in the Netherlands is controlled by insurance companies. They pull the strings they decide if people are treated or not. So at a certain job they were so stressed at work she had to do reporting at home in her own time to make sure she had a little time for patients to attend to (x minutes per patient says the insurance company). To allow her to work efficiently I bought he a Chromebook. She had to open a Citrix published app to do reporting, you don’t need a Core i7 processor for that, do you?

The Chromebook works fine for that kind of situations but when I started working with it, having numerous tabs open in Chrome, working in a published managed desktop, twitter, slack and so on, the thing decided it was enough. A Chromebook is not designed for a user like me, I’m not the average user I know but that is good to understand.

A Chromebook is a good device, a perfect device, for any office worker or remote worker but not for an IT-freak who downloads the Internet during the day. The Chromebook I use is an Acer Chromebook 14 (C83-431).

So the scavenging went on..

Raspberry Pi model 3 B

2016 VMworld, I got my hands on a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B from Datrium, thanks for that guys. Never really did anything with it, project life was killing me in those years, give me a beer and Iĺl tell you stories. As I was pushing the Chromebook to its limits, I decided to give the Raspberry Pi a go. One reason for that is that the new Workspace Hub from Citrix is based on a Raspberry Pi. It even supports Skype for Business as the devices have a 2.4GHz processor, which is a requirement for SfB. Many Raspberry Pi’s out there, most of them, are 1.2GHz ones.

Mine also is a slower version so I won’t be running SfB but for my work right now it is the perfect device. So what is needed to get that baby in the air? not that much, an SDcard with a bit of space, I had one in the drawer that was 16GB but I think 8GB would have been just fine.

I downloaded Noobs from https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/noobs/ and copied the unzipped folders to the SDCard. And that is that of course there are many builds and so on but I just wanted to get the device up fast.. time to play around will come when my laptop is in.

device

So cables in, power unit on and it boots. Nothing fancy it just works. I selected ThinLix as the operating system and that is what we also use with the Workspace Hub. The Raspberry Pi is installed in minutes and I’m good to go.

Experience

As a former consultant user experience is the most important thing to measure. Working for a software vendor you need to realize this, customers will hate or love your product because of user experience. I’ve seen many posts about Citrix, VMware or anyone else that people complain about how slow it is. Slowness or bad user experience is always a bad design or a case of not enough resources. A Porsche on a dirt road is also not that effective, it needs a good road to show performance. The same goes for any virtual environment, without resources user experience is far sought.

I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised by the performance this Raspberry Pi gives, it has only 1GB ram but outperforms the Chromebook in my case. Working on a Windows 10 managed desktop (1703 with 4GB ram) and it feels like working on a local device. Take away for anyone looking for device replacement. The endpoint also dictates how your user experience is, it can not do magic. Check out the Workspace Hub, one that I hope to get my hands on as well, that is a powerful device that will bring experience and save management.

Just sharing my experience with devices..


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