Thin client technology helps enterprises build a manageable, secure, flexible and scalable IT infrastructure.
Benefits of Thin Clients
CIOs around the world have similar concerns when it
comes to building their IT infrastructures:
How to make the IT infrastructure more secure?
How to ensure that users have access to data and
applications when and wherever they need them?
How to reduce the cost of support?
How to manage the IT infrastructure efficiently?
How to ensure the infrastructure is easily
scaleable in order to meet growing business demands?
Many enterprises are trapped in a PC-centric network
environment that is difficult to manage, expensive to
maintain and hard to scale. The answer to all these
concerns is a server-based thin client computing
environment. But before we look at how thin client
computing can transform your enterprise’s IT
infrastructure, let us tackle the question of what
exactly are thin clients.
What are thin
At their most basic, thin
clients are solid-state, diskless devices that are
connected to a centralised server through some access
software or a browser.
To understand a thin
client environment, it is important to understand an
underlying concept that makes thin clients such a
compelling value proposition.
In a thin
client environment, information processing is separated
from information access.
processed by the server and
accessed by users through a thin client
device. All applications run on the centralised server,
while user devices have only as much computing resources
as required to access the server. In a client-centric
PC-based (or fat client) environment, applications
reside in each individual PC and information is
you consider this, some of the gains of thin client
computing become immediately apparent.
Smaller footprint: Without hard
disks, fans, floppy and CD drives, thin clients are
typically much smaller and lighter than PCs. This
provides the obvious advantage of reducing workspace
as well as increasing mobility and
Cost: Thin clients are
substantially cheaper than PCs, with typical cost
savings of between $250 and $500 per unit.
Durability: Thin clients use
solid state construction, which means fewer moving
parts, translating into a longer life for thin client
devices (almost double that of PCs).
Running costs: The lack of local
processing power means a substantial saving on power
costs. A company which replaces 300 PCs with thin
clients could save an estimated $11,694 in electricity
alone. A definite plus on any environmental
Theft Resistant: As they are
useless unless connected to a server, thin clients are
less likely to be stolen from offices. Many
organisations enjoy lower insurance premiums as a
result of thin client deployment.
benefits are just tips of the iceberg. Let us now look
at thin clients within an enterprise
worldwide spend nearly 60 to 80 per cent of their IT
budgets on support. The biggest challenge for CTOs and
CIOs is to bring this down substantially without
affecting security and reliability of systems and
productivity of users.
That’s not an easy thing
to do. A modern-day enterprise’s IT infrastructure is
used by hundreds of users across different locations. In
a client-centric PC-based computing environment, the
challenges are many.
PCs are prone to viruses and other malicious
software. Every PC on your network is, therefore, a
potential security risk.
Users can store sensitive information on their
hard disks, exposing you to privacy issues and
Desktops become obsolete in two to three years and
your enterprise is caught in an expensive cycle of
repairs and upgrades
Ensuring that all PCs across the network are
running licensed, updated and compatible software is a
support nightmare. It becomes even more challenging if
your IT infrastructure is large and widely spread.
In contrast, a thin client infrastructure is
more secure, simpler to administer and substantially
cheaper to maintain.
Greater security: Thin client
devices have no local storage and are, therefore, less
open to virus attacks. All data is stored on servers
and users have no way of keeping data on their
devices. This protects your organisation from
unauthorised access of sensitive information and
privacy-related litigation. This is particularly true
of remote workers who are often the “weak point” of
any IT security.
Easy to administer: In a
network-centric infrastructure, all enterprise
applications and software are delivered through the
server. This dramatically simplifies administration of
the infrastructure because your IT support staff can
focus on a few servers instead of hundreds of
individual PCs. Any updates or changes to security
software or application software on the server will
get immediately reflected across the thin client
Low cost of maintenance: Thin
clients are solid-state devices and have no mechanical
moving parts. So, they don’t break down as frequently
as PCs. Studies have found that companies could pare
IT budgets by anywhere between 20% and 70% by
deploying thin clients instead of PCs. In addition,
organisations can reduce IT support staff by as much
as 50%. Thin clients are also more durable than PCs,
and last longer.
Easy to scale: Adding a thin
device to a server-based infrastructure is as simple
as plugging a cable into a socket because there are no
configuration or software installation issues. A
well-configured server-based infrastructure can
support tens of thousands of thin client devices.
Enterprises can, therefore, scale their IT
infrastructure quickly, efficiently and
Better productivity: Server-based
thin devices not only provide your workforce with
seamless access anytime, anywhere, they make for a
more productive workforce.
Thin devices boot up and access the server in
quicker time than PCs.
Data is also displayed faster to users because
no database information is sent back and forth
between the device and the server.
Thin clients suffer lesser downtime than
PC users spend a great deal of their time
tackling software management issues. Thin client
users, however, can focus on their core work,
leaving software management to IT administrators.
surprisingly, more and more enterprises globally are
realising the powerful benefits of a server-based
infrastructure. According to an IDC report, thin client
sales hit 2.4 million units in 2005, up 46% from 2004,
and will reach 5.3 million units with total sales of
$1.25 billion in 2006.
Hard disk, CD/ DVD/
Floppy drives, cabinet, SMPS, fan, data backup
devices, motherboard, RAM, CPU, LAN card (or
port), display card (or port), mouse, keyboard,
Average cost per unit
Average weight per unit
Average lifespan per unit
estimates that companies can reduce their IT
budgets by anywhere between 20% and 70% with a
typical thin client implementation. It also
estimates that the number of support staff can be
reduced by almost 50%