Cost savings and security benefits are driving CIOs to increasingly deploy thin-client computing in their IT infrastructure.

The majority – 10 – of’s 12-strong CIO Jury IT user panel said they have already deployed or are looking at deploying thin-client computing in their organisation.

Steve Clarke, head of internal computing at AOL UK, said: “We currently use it for reducing risk associated with un-trusted or insecure applications, but with a remit to drive down capex costs, it won’t be long before they’re on the desktop.”

Thin-client is also in place at the UK Atomic Energy Authority, which uses Citrix for application delivery and VMware virtual desktop for full desktop delivery. UKAEA IT director Chris Broad said this minimises support costs and bandwidth utilisation.

Sean Powley, head of ICT at the London Borough of Barnet, said: “With decent infrastructures in place it is daft not to consider thin client as part of mobile and flexible working arrangements.”

Stuart Aitken, CIO at the Medical Research Council, added: “This has to be the way forward. Vendors just need to ensure the thin client can really replicate the functionality of the thick client and perform at acceptable levels.”

But not everyone is convinced. Neil Hammond, IT director at British Sugar, said his organisation looked at thin-client computing a year ago and decided against it because of the variety of desktop and server-based applications across the business.

He said: “The cost of ‘packaging’ the range of applications so they would run on a server outweighed the benefits of thin-client. I can see thin-client working well in a business where there is a less of a need to run a diverse range of applications.”

Nicholas Evans, European IT director at Key Equipment Finance, added: “The thin client is a great way to distribute applications while keeping central control. However I don’t see it ever displacing the desktop PC and the thin client experience is never quite the same.”

Today’s CIO Jury was…

Stuart Aitken, CIO at the Medical Research Council Alastair Behenna, CIO, Harvey Nash
Chris Broad, IT director at the UK Atomic Energy Authority
Linda Chandler, head of IT, London Development Agency
Steve Clarke, head of internal computing, AOL UK
Peter Dew, CIO, BOC
Nicholas Evans, European IT director, Key Equipment Finance
Paul Haley, IT director, University of Aberdeen
Neil Hammond, head of IT, British Sugar
Colin Moore, head of IS, Department for Education and Skills
Peter Pedersen, IT director, Rank Group
Sean Powley, head of ICT, London Borough of Barnet

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