Linux Containers Authors: Jignesh Solanki, Yeshim Deniz, Karthick Viswanathan, Pat Romanski, Mehdi Daoudi

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

Neoware: Leading Thin-Client Computing

The software empowers the thin-client model

Neoware provides software, services, and thin-client appliances to enable server-based computing, a computing architecture targeted at business customers that is designed to be simpler to manage than a traditional PC-based computing model. Neoware's software and management tools power and manage a new generation of smart thin-client computing appliances.

Neoware's philosophy is that the software empowers the thin-client model, which is their primary focus as opposed to hardware thin clients. Their core competency isn't only in the ability to delivery best-of-breed thin-client software but to offer state-of-the-art software solutions to manage those thin clients. They also maintain a platform-agnostic philosophy, choosing to provide thin-client solutions for both Windows and Linux. Currently they estimate 60% of their business comes from Windows systems and 40% from Linux, with both solutions being profitable for them.

The Neoware product line includes the ThinPC client software that converts aging thick client PCs into useful thin-client PCs, extending the useful life of the hardware significantly. For those PC users who are familiar with hobbyist live CD software distributions like Knoppix, SUSE's Live-Eval, or Lindows CD the concept is the same. However, in Neoware's case they have a distinct advantage. ezRemote Manager can administer these thin-client PCs through the use of their management software. This software allows them to configure and set permissions on thin clients through an administrative interface. This is very advantageous for commercial users who can manage access points from a central interface.

Neoware's chairman and CEO Mike Kantrowitz notes that the thin-client market is growing by approximately 27% annually according to IDC. Kantrowitz believes that their greatest value is to organizations that employ large numbers of task-based workers in highly decentralized organizations with no on-site IT staff.

Examples of sectors effectively deploying thin-client infrastructure include health care, all levels of government, call centers, and point of sale. Neoware supplies thin-client solutions to all these sectors. Ardent Healthcare consolidates hospitals into a health care network. With razor-thin margins Ardent realizes the cost savings associated with thin-client computing. Ardent's IT systems reside in the data center, and data and applications are redisplayed to Neoware thin clients, which can be quickly deployed as hospitals are added to their network. This model provides hospital personnel with high-availability solutions giving them access to information in an easily managed, portable computing model. Customers also include government organizations like the Cook County Illinois Circuit courts, who have more than 2,300 users that access thin-client PCs for information lookup and other tasks. Once again, this highly available, portable computing structure helps the courts effectively handle their course load. 1-800-Flowers, a leading e-retailer and florist, requires the flexibility to expand and contract their call centers for holidays like Mother's Day. By deploying a thin-client strategy they can expand their workforce to meet those peak times with ease. Neoware has also seen success in the retail POS market, where they have a strong relationship with GERS Retail Systems (GE Retail Systems). Levin Furniture, a western Pennsylvania furniture retailer, also sees the value of thin client. They deploy their Java-based POS software on Linux servers and then redisplay to Neoware thin clients. Sales professionals in the furniture store can work with a customer in the front of the house and then pull up the same desktop in the back while checking inventory, saving time and reducing errors.

Neoware has witnessed growth through acquisition. Kantrowitz sees the market for suppliers to be limited, and by consolidating thin-client products like Boundless Technologies Capio, NCD's Thin Start, and Pericom's Teem Talk they have become a one-stop shopping solution for companies searching for thin clients in the enterprise.

Despite a number of acquisitions, Neoware is still in a position to acquire additional technologies. With an August SEC shelf filing, Neoware has the ability to issue an additional 100 million shares and with recent presentations to Roth Capital Partners, they should have the flexibility and capital to acquire complementary technologies that further their thin-client offerings should the right opportunities present themselves.

Case Study: Riverhead Building Supply
Using thin-client computing to service branch infrastructure

Since 1948, Riverhead Building Supply has been the supplier of choice for quality-conscious builders, contractors, architects, and homeowners in the Long Island and New York Metropolitan area. Jeff Bailey, network administrator for Riverhead, shares his experience implementing Neoware's thin-client devices to support their distributed branch infrastructure in this case study.

Currently Riverhead utilizes a couple hundred thin-client terminals in their locations to supply desktop computing for the entire organization. Riverhead has been a long-time IBM customer and took recommendations for a thin-client computing model driven by IBM's AS/400 and Citrix. They chose Neoware's Linux-based Eon models because of their speed and manageability, especially over a geographically diverse workforce. Despite their relatively large user base they maintain all their IT functions with a staff of two who can administer any of the thin-client terminals from a central location. In the event of a damaged terminal, users can be back up and running in five minutes. Client software can be flash upgraded through Neoware's management suite remotely, eliminating the need for on-site IT staff. Also, since the computing systems are aggregated in the data center there is only one point to administer all the client's computing needs. This saves travel time and leverages their IT experts.

All of Riverhead's back-end systems are being served by IBM AS/400 and Microsoft Terminal Server with Citrix. However, Bailey notes that they have not chosen to upgrade their Microsoft OSs yet despite being on an older system. He is being compelled to move not due to a computing need, but due to the lack of support for these legacy operating systems. He places a great deal of faith in IBM and is apt to move forward based on their recommendations. With IBM's guidance he would definitely consider moving to a Linux back end with IBM's endorsement.

What's interesting is that Riverhead shares a set of traits common to many SMBs whose focus is selling their goods and services and controlling costs. Ideally Linux, with the support of reliable vendors like IBM and others, can become a viable alternative to current Microsoft or commercial Unix models. Also, because of the advantages and flexibility of the operating system, Linux technologies like those used in the Neoware Eon can be leveraged to augment those products used on other platforms.

You may note that this isn't a pure Linux success story, but a case of integrated technologies. This situation seems to be very common in a number of enterprises worldwide. The key is to understand your computing needs and then choose a solution. Riverhead is in a good position because their desktop computing solution offers them flexibility in changing back-end systems whether they are Linux or Windows or AS/400. The key to their future success is that they have choices in moving forward. They are free to choose solutions that best meet their needs, and are keeping an open mind to those solutions available from multiple vendors.

More Stories By Mark R. Hinkle

Mark Hinkle is the Senior Director, Open Soure Solutions at Citrix. He also is along-time open source expert and advocate. He is a co-founder of both the Open Source Management Consortium and the Desktop Linux Consortium. He has served as Editor-in-Chief for both LinuxWorld Magazine and Enterprise Open Source Magazine. Hinkle is also the author of the book, "Windows to Linux Business Desktop Migration" (Thomson, 2006). His blog on open source, technology, and new media can be found at http://www.socializedsoftware.com.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...