I had a week out of the classroom last week, which I spent getting familiar with the vSphere Manage for Performance course. At the start of the week I decided to test working full time with a View desktop.
I have used View for remote work quite a bit, using the classroom PC and a ThinApped copy of the View client to get to my own VM desktop. It gets quite slow at times and I was pretty sure that it was due to my home ADSL service going slow. For the last week I’ve been using my laptop as a thin client and seeing what I could and couldn’t do.
I count myself as a power user so I had a dedicated VM with similar resources (Windows 7, 2vCPU, 3GB RAM) and applications to my usual laptop. I connected from my Dual core laptop using PCoIP in multimonitor mode. The multimonitor setup was important, my laptop has a 1680×1050 display and the external monitor is 1600×1200, so non-equal resolution support is important. PCoIP did a great job, even getting the wallpaper properly spread over the two screens which my local Win7 install doesn’t do right.
I was pleasantly surprised by the PCoIP session, I tended to forget that I was using a VM and not my local desktop. I was able to do all my work, including watching recorded WebEx presentations and RDP connections to remote labs, all the while playing audio through the view client to my laptop. I was able to do play things too, I even had two high def videos running at the same time. Better yet I was able to sync my iPad with iTunes, although I had issues with syncing my WinMo phone although that seems to be an install issue for Mobile Device Centre. Another failed test was burning the CDs I give to students during courses. Using USB redirection to get the drive into the VM, the burn failed with an error and the disk was corrupted.
One of the cool things was to be able to use the View client on my home theatre PC and watch the WebEx recordings on the big screen in my living room. Moving from one client to another was great. I didn’t try using Pocket Cloud to use the iPad to get to a full machine, maybe I’ll try that this week from a hotel room.
I was impressed, I’ve used server based computing many times in the past and the user experience was a compromise, particularly for multimedia. PCoIP on a LAN didn’t have a multimedia compromise, and little other compromise even for a power user.
A dual core laptop on the LAN isn’t a realistic real world View client, I hope to get a couple of thin clients in for the next weeks I’m at home and test with real devices. Hopefully a real thin client will give even better USB redirection.
© 2010, Alastair. All rights reserved.