The fundamental approach behind thin-client
computing is very simple. Instead of running applications locally
on PCs with all of their associated challenges and costs, applications
run centrally with only keyboard, video and mouse (KVM) updates
transmitted across the network. Bandwidth usage is minimal compared
to traditional PC/server environments, withwireless LAN being ideal
for the clients. The server backbone linking the terminal servers,data
servers, mail servers, and so on is the only LAN connection that
needs high capacity.
Benefits of Thin-Client Computing
With more complex software being distributed, desktop hardware upgrades
have been accepted as a necessary evil. The currently accepted useful
life of a PC is 2 years, although often depreciated over 3 years.
As a PC becomes under-powered for a particular need, it is reallocated,
often requiring a different software build.
Significant benefits are obtained by centralising the support function,
not only in savings, but also in the quality and consistency of
the support function. The more diverse the geographical base, the
more advantages can be gained.
The effect is that far less bandwidth is required for remote and
local sites, further reducing costs in multi-site installations.
If your business is in the process of converting older 10Mbs LAN
to 100Mbs or even 1Gbs, stop and reconsider.
Power consumption of a thin-client device is 14% of a PC. To place
this in perspective, this is 5%, per year, of the thin-client device
purchase price. Since a thin-client device will be expected to have
a useful life beyond 5 years, the power savings alone will offset
25% of the cost of those devices.
Licensing is a major component of IT expenditure. The difficulty
of supplying software when needed has led businesses to adopt one
of two approaches; deploy software to all PCs and lock users out
of those applications that they are not licensed for or purchase
licenses for every PC, regardless of whether the application will
be used or not.
With thin-clients having no facility for local storage, this concern
is all but eliminated in a thin-client computing environment. On
the contrary, if setup correctly, the security of the network can
actually be enhanced by adding levels of encryption to the network
With its centralised approach, all data in a thin-client computing
environment is stored in one place, so removing many of these costs.
It is important to note that this does have an element of 'all eggs
in one basket', so data backup and off-site archiving becomes more
crucial. However, economies of scale generally result in more-efficient
By not having the ability to introduce data locally, the scope for
introducing viruses is greatly reduced. There have been many high
profile cases recently where the costs incurred, directly and indirectly,
by viruses have been highlighted. Why take the risk?
PCs are attractive and a prime target for theft. We've all had it
happen to us, even if only on a small scale. Until connected to
the correct environment, thin-client devices are worthless and so
less attractive. Your insurance company should be able to provide
you with reduced premium benefits.
Speed of deployment, repair and replacement
Thin-client computing environments typically enjoy faster deployment
times for new software and upgrades. Fewer IT staff are required
to track and ensure successful distribution. In a thin-client computing
environment, the application is again tested in a lab. It is then
installed on the terminal server and immediately all authorised
clients have access to it. Normally nothing more is required from
a client than to logoff and log back on.