10ZiG, a vendor offering cutting edge Thin and Zero clients, send me some clients to test. In a previous article I showed the easy setup of the devices. The previous article is found here; Unboxing article. This new article will give an overview of the management solution.
How this came about
Last year at VMworld we got to talk about managing Thin clients. The issue with many customers is that while it would be handy to give a employee a client to connect from home it would be a nightmare managing them. Once they are out of the office you loose control, firmware upgrades or support is nearly impossible. 10ZiG offers a solution for this where you can manage your clients remotely through a cloud connector.
PCoIP or Blast Extreme?
Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that they offer clients that support Blast Extreme as well as PCoIP. Back in 2016 at VMworld Blast Extreme was still the rising star being developed but PCoIP still stood out as the primary protocol. Today the world is so much different. Blast Extreme is predominantly the protocol to use from now on as VMware stopped developing PCoIP. Vendors offering clients that only support PCoIP will have to rethink their strategy and it is a dead end road.
10ZiG had this vision already and created some Zero client that support both PcoIP and Blast Extreme. For current customers still on PcoIP they will do until they change to Blast Extreme and the good thing is there is no investment needed. Once you want to switch you can use your current clients and manage how they connect even when they are at employees homes. So let’s see how they are managed.
10ZiG offers two management consoles, the normal management console (old fashion one) and the web console. I prefer the web console as it seems to have more options and is easier to configure.
If we look at the management solution from an internal point of view it is as expected, you have the Thin Clients a manager server the management console and your admin desktop. The manager server discovers the Thin clients. Through the management console you can manage the Thin clients. Setting up the consoles or the server is easy, there is a install guide available if you need it. To install the web console you need some features enabled, they will be enabled with the installation but if that fails you have to set them.
- Schedule tasks like you see on the right side of the screen
- Backup or restore an image
- Reboot or Shutdown
- Receive configuration, apply configuration
- Reset to factory default
- Upgrade firmware
- Rename the client, automatic by a list or manual
- Remote manage it through VNC
The options to manage are the same if you use the normal management console or the web console.
The web console offers an internet based access to managing the thin clients. It is a console running on an IIS server. If we see the web console with the cloud connector we get a management solution where our thin clients can be managed over the Internet. We also get a solution to manage the whole thin client environment from the cloud with you as administrator not in the office. For me this is a less important possibility but it is good that the option is there. The ability to manage the thin clients even though they are not on-premises is the key feature of their management solution for me.
Cloud based thin client management
So if we look at the flow to see how the clients are managed that are not on-premises we see that the manager and the clients are separated by a cloud connector. The web console is reachable over port 443 by default so the clients will connect through the cloud connector over this port as well.
If we take a look at the web console we see that it auto discovers the clients I switched on. There are two clients in the list, in the fifth column you see the models. The menu bar of the console shows the options available to manage.
As said before the web console offers all the same features as the normal console and is for me the preferable console, it is fast and easy to use. So much different from the consoles I had to use with some other vendors in the past. To upgrade the firmware of the clients you need to make sure the ImageStore share is available. During the installation you point to a share and set the username and password. The normal console is a little picky here, I changed the path during testing manual and only the web console liked my change so far. One could say you better prepare before you hit next and they would be right.
If you want to change the setting manually you can do that with regedit, there is no restart needed after that for the web console. Now i just need access to download firmware ;).
The management solution 10ZiG is offering is very interesting as you can ship your clients to remote locations and still manage them. This ability is what is really needed if users have no laptop or Windows devices to work from of if you want a dumb terminal only manageable by you. Travelling up and down to remote sites to manage them would be a burden they solve for you.
The thought of zero clients being end of life soon as PCoIP is replaced with Blast Extreme is also covered as they offer Zero clients that handle both protocols. No matter where VMware goes with the protocols you’re covered and if they add features you can update the firmware remotely. I think that is a win-win for both admin and employee.
Hope this blog showed you the possibilities of 10ZiG and how you can use it in your organization.