In a comment to42: Switching Corporate desktops Ian Bicking wrote:
Does the Sun Ray offer much over a similar PC-based thin client? Also, if it really became popular, could Sun compete with emerging PC-based thin clients? It’s no use to them to build up a market that they can’t keep (at least, that might be their thinking).
My thoughts are:
My understanding is that there are two main styles of thin client. In one the client is a terminal that does some local processing for example an XWindow terminal. In the other the terminal is almost completely dumb, almost all it does is pass input to the server and write directly to the screen. Sun Ray’s use this style (I think Citrix does as well).
I believe the dumber clients such as the Sun Ray have a number of advantages over the thicker clients. These include a long working life as they have no moving parts, they do not get outdated, they are all identical so interchangeable as there is no local processing. As there is no local processing there is no local state which is why you can remove your smart card from one terminal put it into another and be exactly where you left off.
So in some ways projects such as the Linux Terminal Server Project are not direct competition. However, it is interesting to see how much (lots) of progress has been made on that since I last looked. Definately a possible option for many.
For me the key disadvantage of the X-terminal is the local processing requirement which means you are not completely escaping the need for an upgrade cycle for the terminals. Whereas the oldest Sun Ray client should be exactly the same performance as the newest because it is not doing the work. Mind you the quality of monitor it supports is probably not that exciting now.
What have I missed?