Gartner Research

Through Thick and Thin: Zeroing in on the Perfect HVD-Client Device

Published: 12 July 2010

ID: G00204025

Analyst(s): Nik Simpson


Selecting the best hosted virtual desktop (HVD) client for a HVD implementation presents IT organizations with a dilemma: What's the best choice--thick-client, thin-client, or zero-client? Each approach comes with trade-offs that include performance, network bandwidth requirements, manageability, security, and flexibility to adapt to a changing HVD implementation. Failure to understand the impact of these trade-offs in a particular HVD-client deployment can seriously undermine the success of the project. In this Gartner assessment, Research Director/Analyst Nik Simpson examines the various approaches to providing the client device for a HVD implementation.

Table Of Contents

Summary of Findings



  • Characteristics of Thick, Thin, and Zero HVD-client Devices
    • Thick-Client Characteristics
    • Thin-Client Characteristics
    • Zero-Client Characteristics
  • Usage Models for HVD-clients
    • Remote Terminal
    • Local Processing
  • Comparison Between Thick-, Thin-, and Zero-Client Devices
    • Flexibility
    • Manageability
    • Security
    • Performance
    • Costs
  • Strategies for Selecting a HVD-client
  • Future Technologies
    • Hardware Acceleration for Server-Side Rendering
    • Windows 7 Embedded Edition
    • Cloud-Based Applications
    • Mobile Devices
  • Categorize User Requirements
  • Consider Reusing Existing Desktops
  • Consider Security Implications
  • Be Wary of Server-Side Hardware Acceleration
  • Consider Web-Based Alternatives to Support
  • Consider Alternatives to Hardware Maintenance

The Details

  • HVD-client Protocol Implementations
    • Client-Side Rendering
    • Host-Side Rendering
    • Multimedia Offload
    • Selective Refresh
    • Client-Side Caching
  • HVD-client Implementations
    • Thick-Client
    • Thin-Client
    • Zero-Client

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