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Thursday, February 3, 2011

VMware View 4.5 - Repurpose your old computers to View Based Thin Clients


As the Virtual Desktop revolution is swinging into high gear, there is a glaring issue of what to do with your existing PC's that still have some value. The View VDI solution is agnostic to end user devices allowing connections from Windows, Linux, and Mac OS's along with smartphone plug-ins (Wyse Pocket Cloud and VMware app coming soon). Sooo the big question is what to do with your existing PCs and notebooks that still have investment value.


There are several options out there to repurpose existing computers, but there several concerns around continued OS maintenance, updates and power consumption with using existing computers. Thin clients are a valid option for PC refresh cycles, since Thin Clients draw around 12 KW/h vs. traditional desktops that draw around 80-100 KW/h. However, the cost of thin clients that support advanced protocols like PC-over-IP cost about $300-400 per device, which is about the cost of a new PC these days, so the power consumption is the "green" tipping point for decision makers. Actually, the power money savings alone for 500-1000 desktops can more than justify a Thin Client for PC replacements. I have one customer in production estimating $50K saving from 8 months last year for 400 desktops replaced with thin clientsJ Thin Clients in general will be discussed in a later blog post, so I will not delve into that area right now.

I want to focus on two (2) solutions that I find work really well for re-purposing existing compute infrastructure. My recommendations are always based on MSRP (Manageable, Scalable, Reproducible and Predictable) architectures, like View vs. Citrix. You know my stance on that.

The first solution is a windows based application call ThinLaunch ( that will completely lock down the windows OS and only launch the View client to connect to the View broker(s). This is a great cost effective solution that is a “Trojan” type approach to lock down the desktop; multiple OS support (XP/7 and even 2000) and no need to apply any updates to the existing OS. It has a very small footprint and overhead and personally has been a big hit with my customers so far. You can purchase this directly or through my company (I will provide training and support) and can be purchased in small quantities. Please refer to ThinLaunch website for technical details or email me through this blog for more information.

The second solution that a really like is a new product from Wyse called Wyse PC Extender ( This is a SUSE Linux based solution that utilizes the Wyse Device Manager control for a "Vonage VDI" type solution. By using DHCP tags and FTP server(s), the end devices can be auto configured and updated with little or no hands on after setup. All devices are controlled by Wyse "ini" files and customization is very easy after setup. Some of the issues at this point are the lack of end device support and minimum quantities the end user must purchase in blocks of 1000. Below is the current list of supported end user devices, but I have this working on some older HP laptops, but had to install the network drivers to get working for SUSE Linux:
  • Dell Optiplex GX170
  • Dell Optiplex GX 270
  • Dell Optiplex GX280
  • HP 7900
  • HP D530
  • HP 7900
  • HP DC5100
  • HP 5150

Like I stated earlier, there are several other options out there, home-grown and commercial, but I always look at the MSRP value of sundry solutions because at the end of the day MSRP="Cost Effective":)

For more information, please research the technology websites listed or send me an email and we can discuss further.


  1. Superdave,

    Just wanted to clarify for your readers that there is not a minimum quantity required for PC-Extender. If I can help provide any additional information about Wyse products or services, please feel free to contact me at

    Best regards,

    --Cameron Smith
    Sales Engineer - IN,KS,MO

  2. Cool. Much better option for pricing. I like the Linux option in some case, but not at a 1000 per sale:)

  3. Thanks Dave - we appreciate the comments!! BTW, we do not have hardware dependencies - and we have Thin Desktop installed and running on thousnads of WYSE thin clients - XPe and WES7

    Mike Cardinal
    ThinLaunch Software 612.216.5469

  4. We all want to do our part for the environment, and there are lots of ways to contribute to the health of our world. A great way to go green is to start recycling – but not just in the traditional sense. Taking an item that no longer serves its purpose, and turning it into something else to give it a new life is a form of recycling that is gaining in popularity all the time.