End point strategy is always a hot topic at any future planning meeting. In my world, finding the right balance of usability, manageability, and cost wrapped in a thin client is a tricky endeavor, especially given the fact that my enterprise computing environment is Microsoft Windows centric, with Citrix XenApp as the application delivery method.
When I had the opportunity to check out the NComputing RX-HDX Raspberry PI based appliance I jumped at the chance. Small, HDX supported, user friendly with centralized management, what’s not to love
NComputing’s motto is Compute Smartly. I love that.
Opening the box I found basically a secured Raspberry Pi and power adaptor. The system itself is booted off of a SD Card, but that port is blocked off. Stupid me, I forgot to order an HDMI to VGA adaptor, as the monitor I had to test does not contain an HDMI port.
A couple of days later after my Amazon order came in I was up and running. The initial setup which is menu driven (and if you set up the optional centralized management console is centrally deployed). Simple to use with a bunch of options. The operating system (NoTouch OS) mimics Windows, and the look and feel is well done. The help wiki is also very helpful and found at http://rx-hdx.ncomputing.com/kb/Main_Page.
- Con: The Citrix Receiver is the ugly Linux Receiver, not the much prettier Storefront based Receivers. This is purely cosmetic, but when shifting from the Windows or macOS version to this there could be user complaints. An alternative though is to configure the built in Firefox browser to go to the Storefront instead, but in order for advanced functions to work you do need to set Firefox to root. Not the best option for security.
- Con: Printing to a Windows Print Server DOESN’T WORK as advertised. In fact it barely works, and there is little to no feedback when configuring printing. Plugging in a USB printer works fine.
- Pro: Thin Print support. This is a really nice feature and can negate the Windows Print Server issue.
- Pro: Reboot at user session logoff and other security controls. Security is a focus point, and the ability to clear all browser cache at logoff, and when a session window is closed automatically reboot the device for a fresh session is a great feature.
- Pro: Imprivata Support. Built in SSO support to Active Directory. Perfect.
- Pro: Dual monitor support. Critical in healthcare and financials. Its a shame though that its a separate cost option.
Price: Not expensive at approx. $150 dollars. Support is annual though and a separate item. This does not include any Microsoft client access licenses, which are required for RDS and XenApp connections.
Verdict: Fix the printing and upgrade the Receiver, and you have a really nice product that is enterprise ready.