Today’s blog post is all about ZeeTransformer – It’s a product by a company called ZeeTim which allows conversion of any PC using their Linux-based ZeeOS into a Thin or Zero Client.
It all started when I was looking for a VDI solution for one of my friend who wanted to setup a lab for his new venture. We needed an endpoint solution which would prevent us from having to duplicate effort in maintaining Windows desktops in the datacenter as well as on the endpoint. We needed something secure, low maintenance, and that would give good performance for the users. Then, I came across this tool ZeeTransformer which was just a bootable key away from our pocket-friendly VDI journey.
I was so impressed with the ease of setup, configurability and PC repurposing capabilities of ZeeTransformer that I thought I should write about it.
For the ProTip, you can point to this link https://www.zeetim.com/zeetransformer-free-trial/
Before I go into how I did the installation, I would like to share the features I loved the most about ZeeTransformer:
- Independent of underlying hardware: Any PC that would support Linux (let me tell you, most of them does 😉) can become a thin client and can be a part of your VDI solution. Saved a lot of money 💰 as we repurposed our old systems.
- Management is a breeze 💨: As ZeeConf can centrally manage various aspects like patching, 3rd party app installations, security, display settings and lot more, managing the solution and applying new settings is just few clicks away.
With just a little reading on www.zeetim.com, I was good to setup the whole process. We were using a set of 10 old PCs for our lab. For managing them, I used ZeeConf client which comes along with ZeeTransformer out of the box. Let’s me show it in a quick and dirty way.
- Download ZeeTransformer from here on your PC.
- Extract the downloaded zip and it should contain 2 folders and testing procedure files:
- Connect a USB key to the PC which will be converted to a bootable key.
- Go to ZeeTransformer folder in the extracted zip.
- Launch “ZeeTransformerImagerLite.exe”.
- Select the inserted USB key as a device.
- Check “Eject after creation” checkbox if it is not checked by default. This will automatically eject the key after creation.
- Click on Create boot device to transform the USB key.
- Eject the key after completion.
Once the USB key is created:
- Connect the USB key to a PC that you want to use as a thin client.
- Restart the PC and go to the BIOS settings
- Disable “Secure Boot” option, select the inserted USB key as a boot device, save the settings and restart the PC.
- Once the PC boots via the USB key, the device is ready to be used.
PC boots up in just a fraction of seconds. The Home screen has a minimalistic interface with few applications pre-installed like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Citrix Client, Horizon Client etc. for easy access to existing infrastructure for bigger organizations.
Now that we have thin client nodes ready to be consumed by end-user, the next step is to manage them.
Client Management using ZeeConf
As a part of complete VDI solution by ZeeTim, ZeeTransformer comes with a central management tool called ZeeConf.
So, After I converted our PCs to ZeeTerms (means a PC with ZeeTransformer), I had to install the ZeeConf management tool to my main PC. Let’s see how I did that.
- On all the newly created ZeeTerm, open ZeeConf Lite (icon on the desktop) and check the IP address on the home page.
- On main PC, go to the ZeeConf folder from the folder we extracted earlier.
- Launch ZeeConf.exe
If the PC and the newly launched ZeeTerm are in the same network, ZeeConf will automatically detect it. If they are on the different networks:
- Click on “Search for new terminals”
- Enter the IP address of your newly created ZeeTerm and click OK.
Now, once your node is connected, you can manage all sort of settings like Infrastructure, Display, Packages, Security, Network, Proxy, VPN etc. as well as configuration for VMware, Nutanix, Citrix, etc.
For further reference please refer their official guide here ZeeConf Client – User Guide.
Licensing using ZeeLicense
If you followed the above process, you might be able to test the ZeeTim VDI solution because client will continue to work for 1 hour. However, use it further more, you would need licenses.
ProTip I used the 10 free license that ZeeTim provides during registration for our lab setup.
- Download ZeeLicense Server from the Downloads section.
- Install it using instructions shown here.
- Launch the installed ZeeLicense Administrator as an administrator
- In ZeeLicense Administrator, click License request to request a new license
- It will open the below window:
- Fill the details and Click OK.
- A license request file will be generated in the installation directory of the ZeeLicense Server.
(Default: C:\Program Files\ZeeTim\ZeeLicense Server)
- Send this license request file via email to firstname.lastname@example.org and ZeeTim will send back to you a .zip file containing the requested license.
If you are already impressed, I would inform you that there is more to it. Using ZeeTransformer in a enterprise will require other set of tools as well like Centralized Printing solutions, User Access Management, Virtualized Infrastructure Support etc. For that, they have a set of enterprise-grade tools like ZeePrint, ZeeOTP, ZeeEdge etc.
Know more about them at www.zeetim.com
As the title suggests, the experience was 3x compared to other VDI endpoint options. OK! maybe its not 3x but it is much better than other VDI endpoint solutions out there at least in our case as it allowed old PC repurposing and costed us almost nothing with all the great features 👍. Also, the support the ZeeTim team provided was really great. The team reached out to me to see if everything is fine and we had some great discussions and sessions to help me even better understand the process.