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Jan 27 2014

Simplify Workplace Virtualization with Offerings from Unicon (Part 1)

As workplace virtualization continues to gain traction among office users, they have to decide which operating systems and admin tools best suit their needs. For the sake of convenience, many will opt for a classic Windows installation along with the familiar management software. But this often turns into a costly experience depending on the size of the installation. Good thing Fujitsu has a complete set of powerful and affordable alternatives in place – with offerings from our subsidiary Unicon.

Lately, more and more companies are turning to workplace virtualization and thin clients as they modernize their office environments. Their motivation for switching is easy enough to understand: not only do these combined solutions require smaller hardware investments, but they also offer greater flexibility and security. Plus, they are more convenient to manage. Still one problem remains – classic desktop operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows, and corresponding management tools are usually too resource-hungry and complex for such environments. In addition, licensing often turns out complicated and costly, despite improvements in recent years. That's where our Karlsruhe-based subsidiary Unicon Software GmbH comes into play. Unicon's portfolio combines a comprehensive management suite and upgrading tools with specially crafted operating systems (OS) and a fair and easy-to-understand licensing model.

Scout Enterprise and ELIAS
The first offering to consider is Scout Enterprise, a highly efficient management solution that serves as an umbrella for the rest. Scout excels in terms of scalability – customers use it to administer tens or even hundreds of thousands of thin clients dispersed across thousands of branch offices. All of these benefit from the same set of advanced functionalities, such as

  • Support for multiple hardware platforms and operating systems, such as eLux™ or a specially-crafted edition of Windows Embedded Standard (WES) 7 (see below)
  • Secure, consistent updates including BIOS updates (only with eLux™)
  • Integrated automation and helpdesk features such as remote configuration, desktop mirroring, Wake-on-LAN etc.
  • Asset management including peripherals
  • Automatic Scout Server identification

Scout runs on industry standard servers equipped with Windows Server 2003 or later.

ELIAS (short for: eLux Image Administration Service) was created to make firmware updates as easy as possible while allowing for a high degree of customization, e.g. for user-specific software images. That means, IT departments don't need any Linux experience to upgrade their thin clients – they can just download the latest, signed and tested software packages instead.

eLux™
eLux™ is a Linux-based, virus-protected operating system specifically designed for thin clients. Thanks to its very small footprint of just 250 MB, eLux™ has become an ideal candidate for medium to very large virtualized environments, with a theoretically unlimited number of clients. But despite this small size, it provides all the features of a 'regular' operating system, plus some you wouldn't expect, such as security by design: Since the file system is write-protected, malware simply can't tamper with the OS; hence users and IT departments don't have to worry about infections, and there's no need for extra virus protection. Likewise, patching is a breeze, as eLux™ relies on modular updates where only changed data are transferred. eLux™ is available in two editions: eLux RT was developed for ARM SoCs, whereas eLux RP runs on x86 processors and replaces the earlier eLux RL. Both are based on different Linux kernels and thus provide different feature sets and levels of hardware support. In particular, eLux RP supports a wider range of third party applications – among them Citrix Receiver, a FreeRDP and a VMware client – as well as hardware-based authentication and security functions.

Read more about Unicon WES 7 and Unicon's unique licensing model in Part 2 at the end of the week!

 

Bernd Germandi

 

About the Author:

Bernd Germandi

Senior Product Marketing Manager, Fujitsu

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