Raspberry Pi to Displace the Business PC

For a business establishment, maintaining PCs for each of their several hundred employees can be an expensive proposition. It is much simpler and cheaper to have a centralized workstation with several thin clients connecting to it. The ubiquitous single board computer, the Raspberry Pi (RBPi) is a suitable component for use as such a thin client.

As the low cost of the Raspberry Pi makes it a very attractive proposition for use as a thin client computer, Citrix is offering an HDX Ready Pi to replace the regular desktop PC. They are coupling the RBPi with virtual desktops such as the Citrix XenDesktop and the XenApp virtual apps. The combination is an ideal replacement for the traditional desktop PC and its IT refresh cycle.

At the heart of the project are two thin client operating systems, ThinLinX and TLXOS, based on Raspbian, the default OS for the Raspberry Pi. These provide the image for the RBPi and include the client and management software. Citrix is making use of these to instill an HDX SoC Receiver SDK within the securely locked-down Linux OS and the SDK provides full device management for updating firmware, remote configuration, and DHCP, making the RBPi a completely plug-n-play device.

Available fully assembled and ready-to-order from Citrix partners ViewSonic and Micro Center, the HDX Ready Pi thin-clients come preloaded with all the necessary software, power supply, flash storage, VESA mount option, all packaged in a production case. Any IT administrator can deploy these thin-clients in a matter of seconds.

Apart from being just a cheap PC alternative, these RBPI thin-clients offer businesses several new business paradigms. For instance, businesses now need not pay a premium for security and management of all their PCs, and they can expand their number of users to cover the entire organization.

The Citrix HDX Ready Pi is easy to set up. As it is small, distribution is simplified and employees can connect it up to an available display and be productive in a matter of minutes. IT can configure the management software, recognize the HDX Ready Pi in the network, take control of it, and point it automatically to the correct Citrix Storefront server. The user can then run any instant virtual app with desktop access.

As the RBPi thin-clients have no hard disks to fail, there is also no data and time wasted in diagnosing device problems. This eliminates all desk-side support, as any issue can be solved simply by swapping the device.

The low cost of thin-clients also eliminates treating them as trackable financial assets. Businesses can rather consider the Citrix HDX Ready Pi as non-capitalized office expenses, providing a compelling situation to virtualize remote branch offices all over the world.

As there is no provision to store or cache corporate data, businesses can safely distribute the HDX Ready Pi among employees for occasionally working from home over Wi-Fi or for teleworking. Employees can take the device home and use it safely for remote access.

Although the Citrix HDX Ready Pi has a Kensington lock slot, its low cost makes physical security almost a non-issue. Moreover, as the device is purpose-built for Citrix, it can be safely used as a pervasive computing device in an office campus or in public spaces.