WCL324: Thin Clients, from Building to Deployment and Management

You know, sometimes Microsoft drops the ball on some TechEd sessions. WCL324 is one that the ball got dropped on. While the presented content was useful, it in no way reflected the course title or description and to make it worse, only took 25 of the 75 minutes. So disregarding the course title, here are some of the tidbits I gleaned in the very short session:

  1. Windows ThinPC is now GA, and is Windows 7 stripped down that lets you turn a legacy PC into a thin client. Great for re-using existing PCs as thin clients without buying new thin client hardware.
  2. Windows Embedded Standard SP1 was released in March and supports RemoteFX.
  3. Windows Embedded Standard 7 (WES7) is the full featured thin client operation system. You can also chose from Windows Embedded Compact, which is more stripped down. Or, yet to be released, is Windows Embedded Compact 7T which is even more stripped down and lower maintenance.
  4. WES7 is for a rich desktop experience including multi-media redirection. Compact edition is for deskless workers like nurses or factory floor workers. The “T” edition is for task workers, like a call center operator that only requires very basic functionality.
  5. WES7 supports security features like bitlocker and AppLocker.
  6. SCCM 2007 and even 2012 are NOT Windows embedded aware and make for very poor management tools of WES. So Microsoft has a new product called Windows Embedded Device Manager (WEDM) 2011 that augments SCCM 2007/2012 with WES management tools. It is a separately licensed product, and is NOT built-in to SCCM 2012 (which is a big bummer. What is MS thinking?!?!)

Unfortunately that was all of the meat in this session. It was not a walk through of the lifecycle of a WES7 client in the enterprise as the description had indicated. WEDM 2011 was new to me, so I’m glad to see that MS now has a good embedded management story, but the bolt-on nature to the 2012 releases is really unforgivable given SCCM 2012’s deep VDI integration.

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