Workstations have been around for a long time. Indeed, the concept of workstations—client computers designed and configured to meet technical computing requirements—was first proposed in the 1950s. But it wasn’t until the early 1980s that companies like Xerox, Apollo Computing, and Sun Microsystems sold the first commercial workstations.
Over the next 40 years, the variety of end-user devices expanded greatly. From desktops and laptops to tablets and smartphones, there are now more platform choices for running applications than ever. Even so, workstations are still relevant and necessary. In fact, the global computer workstation market is projected to reach US$2.46 billion by 2027.
In many industries, workstations are used for specific applications and workloads. Animators and visual effects artists use graphics-intensive applications to create visually stunning works. Manufacturing companies use computer-aided design and engineering tools to develop and test new, innovative products. Businesses with large networks—including transportation, telecommunications, and energy providers—analyze and visualize real-time data to monitor their operations across vast geographies. And healthcare organizations use medical imaging technologies like digital X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scanning, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to rapidly and non-invasively diagnose patients.
The workstations that run these critical applications incorporate the highest-performing silicon—including processors, memory, and storage—ever created. However, these applications can’t efficiently use that technology without the right software foundation. Your operating system plays an important role in enabling your workstation deployment to meet the needs of your most demanding applications.
Here are five key considerations for selecting an operating system for your workstation deployment.
- Rendering by graphics processing units (GPU) and central processing units (CPU) is a part of many workstation applications—including animation, visual effects, and computer-aided design and engineering. Look for an operating system specifically optimized for high-performance, graphics-intensive workloads.
- Performance and budget requirements mean that organizations need the flexibility to choose from a wide range of workstations and accessories. Explore operating systems that support a large variety of professional-grade graphics cards and peripherals.
- Because workstations are most often located in offices rather than datacenters, frequent workstation replacement can be difficult and expensive. Make sure that your operating system offers a life cycle that is greater than the expected lifetime of your workstations.
- Professional artists, designers, scientists, and engineers need to focus on their tasks, not the administration of their workstations. Investigate operating systems that let you centrally update and manage the entire software stack and ensure compliance with corporate policies.
- Remote work opportunities require new workstation alternatives, as shipping physical hardware to users can be expensive and difficult to manage. Look for operating systems that can be deployed on both physical workstations and virtual machines in a hybrid cloud.
Deploy a reliable, flexible foundation for workstations
Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Workstations is a high-performance, security-focused operating system optimized for the most demanding graphics-intensive workloads like digital animation and visual effects, computer-aided design and engineering, scientific research, and medical imaging. Red Hat works with hardware manufacturers to provide compatibility with and support for a wide range of professional-grade graphics cards and accessories like drawing tablets, high-definition monitors, and security devices, so that you can choose the right hardware for your task and organization.
Red Hat Insights is a managed service included with all Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions that delivers continuous vulnerability alerts and targeted guidance to help minimize downtime. Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Workstations also includes Cisco IPsec client compatibility, smart card support, encrypted disk capabilities with Linux Unified Key Setup, and SELinux to reduce risk and safeguard data.
The long life cycle of Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Workstations means you can standardize on a major operating system release and maintain hardware-software compatibility for up to 10 years. And by deploying Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Workstations in hybrid cloud environments, users can remotely access virtualized workstations via virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) technologies.
Deliver a workstation-as-a-service anywhere
Red Hat and Amazon Web Services (AWS) offer a cloud-based workstation-as-a-service that lets you deliver a high-performance, low-latency workstation experience anywhere in the world. It combines Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Workstations with NICE DCV—a high-performance, security-focused remote display protocol that delivers desktop and application streaming from AWS to any device with up to 60 frames per second and 4K resolution.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Workstations on AWS is delivered as Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) running on GPU-accelerated cloud instances on AWS that provide the performance needed for graphics-intensive applications. You can deploy instances in the AWS region of your choice to meet your latency requirements and comply with regional regulations.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Workstations on AWS gives end users more flexibility and mobility with the same performance and features as a physical workstation. NICE DCV offers native clients for Windows, Linux, and macOS, along with an HTML5 client for web browser access, enabling users to work from anywhere on their choice of device. Near real-time responsiveness for applications while maintaining image accuracy—even with varying network conditions—helps users focus on their work and maximize productivity.
Gain consistency across your environment
Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Workstations is part of an operating system portfolio that spans from edge devices and public clouds to datacenters and workstations. With a consistent software foundation across your infrastructure, you can manage your environment and deploy workloads quickly and efficiently. As a flexible, security-focused foundation for your graphics-intensive workloads, Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Workstations lets you deliver high-performance workstation experiences on physical, virtualized, and cloud infrastructure anywhere.
About the author
Gil Cattelain is Principal Product Marketing Manager for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Cattelain has more than 20 years’ experience as a leader in high-tech software product marketing with a proven track record of managing major product releases and go-to-market strategies. Prior to Red Hat, Cattelain held product marketing leadership roles at Micro Focus, Novell, and Genesys, focusing on the endpoint management and DevOps/agile solutions, including digital marketing for the contact center market.