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What Is A Zero Client?

Zero Client

A zero client can also be called “an ultrathin client”. Just like a thin client, a zero client is a lightweight, fan-less computer that doesn’t have a hard drive, but connects to a server to perform its computing. Both zero clients and thin clients access hard drives in the data center by running Remote Desktop Protocols (RDP), like Citrix XenDesktop or Citrix Secure Access Gateway which allow virtualized Windows desktops and applications to be delivered as on-demand services.

 

What’s the difference between a zero client and a thin client?

The main difference between a thin client and a zero client is that the zero client does not retain the operating system and each device’s specific configuration settings in flash memory. Where thin clients typically use a minimalist operating system like Linux or Windows Embedded, zero clients use an onboard processor designed to handle a protocol such as Microsoft RDP, VMware or Citrix HDX. This dedicated hardware also handles the decoding and display, giving zero clients a quicker boot up.

 

Virtual Desktop Interfaces (VDI) Use Zero Clients

Businesses that use virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) need to combine zero clients with an Endpoint Management System so that IT can remotely manage and administer the zero clients.
Because of their lower price point and lower power usage (as low as 1/50th of fat clients), zero clients are an attractive option for companies considering VDI.

 

When selecting zero clients, be aware of limitations.

Typical zero client limitations stem from an endpoint management solution that is not powerful enough or easy to manage. Other limitations include a lack of technical support or being locked into a proprietary system. Zero clients themselves are not unique; what sets them apart is the bundled endpoint management system that you’ll use to manage them. Only IGEL offers an industry-leading endpoint management system with advanced flexibility and free technical support.