Print 11 comment(s) - last by Slaimus.. on Jun 24 at 11:18 AM

LCD screen doubles as a virtual desktop

LG Electronics will attempt to cash in on the virtualization craze later this month with the introduction of LCD monitors that can double as virtualized desktop PCs.

The LG SmartVine N-series line will include 17-inch and 19-inch monitors in the United States, while a 16-inch version will also be made available in overseas markets.The monitors can be used as traditional desktop displays via a standard VGA connector, however they will also incorporate embedded virtualization technology from U.S.-based desktop virtualization specialist NComputing.

To make use of the onboard virtualization circuitry, users can connect a keyboard and mouse directly to the SmartVine monitor, which in turn connects to a host PC via a standard cable. The host PC can support up to ten additional virtual desktops with the adition of two NComputing X550 PCI Card Kits and the company's vSpace software.

The 19-inch SmartVine N-Series monitor will list for $199 in the United States. The thin client solution is to be targeted primarily at education and government markets, and service sector organizations, such as call centers. NComputing executives claim that an increased industrywide focus on desktop virtualization, Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings, and Web-hosted applications will drives sales of the LG N-Series units. The Redwood City, Calif., company has released esitmates that customers of the virtualization-equipped monitors will be able to lower their computer hardware costs by 60 percent, maintenance costs by 70 percent, and electricity costs by 90 percent. The LG monitors work with both Windows and Linux computers.

The market for virtualization technology has continued to expand this year, while other areas of the technology sector faltered, because of virtualization's potential to consolidate physical resources and reduce costs in the data center. While server and storage virtualization schemes have become top priorities for corporate IT departments, interest in desktop virtualization has traditionally lagged behind its data center conterparts. For example, a recent survey of 377 federal IT managers conducted by CDW Government Inc. found that 59 percent of federal agencies have implemented server virtualization, and 51 percent are utilizing storage virtualization, but only 49 percent have invested in virtualized desktops.

However, other studies suggest that virtualized desktops may be gaining momentum in the public sector. Desktop virtualization vendor Citrix Systems announced that a survey it conducted at the recent 2009 Consortium of School Networking (CoSN) Conference found that 80 percent of technology leaders in kindergarten through grade 12 schools were interested in implementing desktop virtualization in their classrooms.

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By zombiexl on 6/22/2009 5:38:59 PM , Rating: 2
At least that's how it appears after my brief read of this. I'm sure someone will tell me I'm wrong.

By mfed3 on 6/22/2009 5:54:24 PM , Rating: 3
Yea, thin client would lead me to believe this is pushing more the dumb terminal model, although it technically is still virtualization since its abstracting the OS from running natively on the hardware.

By Slaimus on 6/24/2009 11:18:27 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe we just need a smarter KVM than this elaborate setup

By JoshuaBuss on 6/22/2009 6:47:47 PM , Rating: 2
well, the lightweight nature of the hardware certainly makes it look and feel more like the thin client model, but it's technically using virtualization to do the computing.

By drebo on 6/23/2009 10:16:32 AM , Rating: 2
Except that it's not really terminal services (though it is surprisingly close to the dumb terminals from way back in the day). I saw these guys at Interop this year. Their product is really kind of interesting. You install a PCI card in the host computer which in turn connects to your "virtualization" hardware (they make a stand-alone version of this as well). It's not virtualization in the sense that you're thinking, but it is virtualization, none the less. It works on XP systems, as well.

When most people think of virtualization, they're thinking for Microsoft's Virtual PC or VMWare Server/Workstation. That's not the virtualization that's most commonly used in the business space. This is an interesting, and supposedly more robust, alternative to terminal services or thin clients.

virtualisation via a host PC ?
By danchen on 6/22/2009 11:25:33 PM , Rating: 3
So what's the selling point of this product ?
If i need a host PC to hold that PCI card in order to make it work, what's the point ?
I initially thought the point of having this would be that its would be a simple standalone client with no PC required which can connect to a virtualised machine via network LAN/wireless.
If I need a host PC next to it, it becomes kind of pointless ain't it.

By Diesel Donkey on 6/23/2009 12:17:58 AM , Rating: 2
That's what I thought at first, too. However, upon reading the article more carefully, I think that you only need the extra PCI card(s) if you want to enable more than one virtual machine. It sounds like if you add two of the cards then you can have up to 10 virtual machines.

RE: virtualisation via a host PC ?
By drebo on 6/23/2009 10:19:01 AM , Rating: 2
This isn't a thin client. It's a connection to a specific kind of virtualized desktop. Virtualization is when you run multiple guest OS instances on top of a single host OS. Of course you need a host computer. The benefit to this is that now you can buy one host computer, 10 OS licenses, 10 monitors and two PCI cards and you have effectively 10 computers.

is technology coming full circle?
By SunAngel on 6/22/2009 10:25:48 PM , Rating: 2
i am not technically inclined but i enjoy coming to this site and exposing some of the lost commonsense that many young technologists seem to unappreciate, yet it seems that technologies such as this were popular in the 60's, 70's, and 80's with minicomputers and server/client framework.

Commonsense aside, if someone is willing to explain the differences, i'd appreciate it.

By TreeDude62 on 6/23/2009 8:32:47 AM , Rating: 2
There is not a huge difference actually. Server/Client solutions are making a huge comeback as the technology has finally caught up with itself. Before you had dumb terminals that were simply connecting to server. But all you had back then was text. Once GUIs came into the picture, servers no longer had the processing power to handle all those sessions. Now they do. You can have a VMware server with 8 CPUs and 32GB of RAM and host 10 servers on it or 20 desktops if your so inclined. Graphically heavy applications are still a bit out of reach for these solutions though as they are unable to make use of GPUs at the moment.

I personally prefer Citrix for a desktop solution though, it has much better clustering and is more dynamic than VMware.

RE: is technology coming full circle?
By drebo on 6/23/2009 10:20:46 AM , Rating: 2
This particular technology is virtually identical to the minicomputers of those days...teletype and what not. And with so much extra available processing power on most workstations now, why not?

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