Hardware Investigate

Thin Clients Are in (Again)

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Executive Summary

For IT organizations thin clients are back in vogue, and this time it's not just hype. This has happened because companies are continually bombarded with security threats, overburdened by help desk requests, and hamstrung by the high cost of purchasing and managing PCs. With thin-client computing, like the old days of mainframe computers, it is the data centre that powers the computing functions and stores all the applications and data. Information flows back and forth to thin clients, which are small desktop devices with no hard drives and limited functionality. Due to this, data is more secure and hardware and software become easy to update and manage. With thin clients, data is stored centrally on servers, resultantly saving a lot of money. Going to flashback in year mid 1990s, big technology vendors like Oracle and Sun Microsystems spent big marketing dollars to tout "Network computers" as the next big thing. But it failed to gain widespread adoption because of bandwidth constraints, few applications being available, and the fact that PC prices plummeted at the time, reducing the need for new, low-cost alternatives. To get into details of what actually happens to the traffic between the data centre and thin client is generally miniscule because all the processing occurs on the server. Resultantly, an email downloading with a large attachment is faster on a thin client than if a remote user tries to download the same file onto a regular notebook computer. Seeing facts like higher security, ease of manageability and lower costs, thin clients are here to stay.

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