Thursday, March 26, 2015

More Horizon 6.1 endpoint bad news... now Tera1 zero clients not supported

I stumbled upon this KB today and noticed that Tera1 zero clients will no longer be supported with any Horizon release after 6.0.1.  As someone with a lot of of Tera1 devices that aren't all that old (it's been what, only 2-3 years since Tera1 zeros were being actively sold by vendors?) and still running great, as expected with something as stable as a zero client, I'm even more disappointed to see this than I was by the end of Windows XP and Vista client support (rant is in my previous post).

I could maybe understand it if they've been off the market for 5+ years (since a lot of traditional corporate PC replacement cycles are around 5 years).  VMware must be making some architectural changes with Horizon 6.1 breaking compatibility or something...not expected for a point release (it's not like this is Horizon 7.0 or anything).  I hope Teradici manages a "best effort" approach to keep the Tera1's going for some time even if they can't be "officially" supported.  

To run Horizon 6.1 (we're currently on 5.3 and now planning on going to 6.0.1 this summer) my organization would have to come up with well over $100,000 in funds, not to mention the manpower to do a forklift upgrade, to replace all the thin clients and Tera1 zeros just to be able run 6.1 in a supported setup.  This kind of unexpected expense might just make me rethink keeping my Horizon licensing and production support contracts current going forward and maybe give me reason to give Citrix a call if I now have to replace a lot of hardware.... are you listening VMware?  I haven't administered XenDesktop since the 4.0 days but I'm sure they haven't been sitting still either, and I do note that Citrix specifies "Support for Windows XP ends April 8, 2014 when Microsoft ends extended support for Windows XP. Support for Windows XP Embedded will continue." for Citrix Reciever on its download site.

Monday, March 23, 2015

New Horizon Client 3.3 ends support for Windows XP

I’m sorry to see that starting with version 3.3, the Horizon Client no longer supports Windows XP and support for the older version 3.2 client has only been promised through the remainder of 2015.  I'm sure that a lot of existing customers have older Windows Embedded 2009 (still based on XP) thin clients that run an OS still supported by Microsoft through January 8, 2019.  One of the major reasons to go to Horizon based VDI is to save on endpoint replacement costs and to extend the replacement lifecycle.  Replacing hundreds (or thousands for larger organizations) of these thin clients with ones running newer versions of Windows Embedded or with Teradici based zero clients can be cost prohibative. If a core thin client OS is still supported by Microsoft, as a customer, I would expect VMware to at least provide a client to support it.

Unless VMware has a change of heart, later this year I'll be investigating solutions like Stratodesk, Wyse PC Extender, and Devon VDI Blaster that can essentially replace Windows Embedded (or XP) with a centrally managable version of Linux that runs the Horizon Client.  However I'll have to do some testing to make sure performance is similar and that options like USB flash drive support and location based printing still functions as it does with a thin client running Windows Embedded.  All of these products have a cost, but they are significantly cheaper than purchasing a new thin or zero client if it extends the usable life of them in a Horizon VDI environment for several more years.