First launched at last year’s Citrix Synergy customer event, NComputing is updating its Citrix-specific, System on Chip-powered N-Series thin client/VDI lineup to appeal to a broader audience at this week’s LA conference. The new N-series Citrix Ready HDX-verified SoC thin clients include support for an expanded set of peripherals, as well as for Imprivata OneSign Authentication Management, which extends No Click Access to desktop virtualization for Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp customers in healthcare and other key verticals, including finance, banking, retail, manufacturing and higher education.
“Traditional thin clients don’t work as well with HDX (High Definition Experience),” said Mike Pagani, Senior Director of Product Marketing, NComputing. N-series thin clients deliver a rich HDX experience at one-third the cost of traditional HDX-capable PCs and traditional thin client devices, without compromising quality or performance. While customers initially look at thin client/virtual desktops as a way to replace PCs and save money, they want the performance too, he said.
Citrix is a relatively new market for NComputing, with more than 700 customers signed up in the last year. However, it currently has 50,000-plus customers, with 20 million-plus users in production environments, he said.
According to IDC, the company is already the third-largest vendor in the enterprise client devices (ECD) hardware market, which includes thin clients and terminal clients, and was worth $1.49 billion last year. NComputing had 16.1% share, behind Wyse (25.4%), now owned by Dell, and HP (26.2%). IDC has forecast unit shipments to grow at over 17% CAGR for the next five years, but the virtual client computing market will grow from $2.3 billion in 2011 to over $3 billion by 2015, with nearly a third of that coming from the centralized virtual desktop market (also called VDI).
Prospects in the mid-market look even better. More than 80% of respondents consider VDI as part of their IT strategy, with reduced costs and faster deployments the key adoption points.
NComputing’s new lineup will appeal to both the installed base and new customers, said Pagani. For existing customers, an upgrade can be as simple as a firmware download. However the new capabilities, including Imprivata single sign-on (SSO) and thin-client’s power advantage over Pcs, 5W versus 150W, will get the company into new markets, especially healthcare in North America and manufacturing in Europe.
The Imprivata integration has the potential to open a lot of doors for NComputing. Imprivata is the #1 independent provider of single sign-on and access management solutions for health care (more than one million health care users), government, finance and other regulated industries. By strengthening user authentication, streamlining application access and simplifying compliance reporting across multiple computing environments, customers realize improved workflows, increased security and compliance with government regulations, stated NComputing.
There are a number of restraints in a typical health cart or “Computer on Wheels” environment, including power consumption and RFI emissions that limit where the carts can go, said Pagani. Contrast that with a thin client that can run for days, go anywhere, and with the Imprivata and broader USB support, just add a badge reader and drastically cut down on log-in times. The company said its N-series is ideal for mobile computing in healthcare with a smaller thin client form factor, built in WiFi, security for data storage and application access and web-based centralized management.
“We’re seeing lot of pent-up demand. What was missing was specialized peripheral support, i.e. medical scanners. All we’re doing here is solving the endpoint pain point.”
The expanded USB support includes local or remote USB redirection by device type, serial and parallel peripheral support, multiple USB or IP scanners and printers. Additional N-series firmware 1.4 enhancements leverage the newest Citrix Receiver for Linux. NComputing also announced a new release of vSpace Management Center for centralized management that provides large-enterprise-friendly functions like firmware upgrades that can be automated, scheduled and completed remotely.
“Broader USB support coupled with Imprivata OneSign integration enhance user productivity and allow greater freedom in performing business tasks,” said Steve Brasen, managing research director at Enterprise Management Associates, in a prepared statement. The new N-series firmware release continues NComputing’s commitment to enabling a rich desktop virtualization user experience, while simplifying management and improving cost-effectiveness, he noted.