A thin client is a device that does not have a disk drive. They can range from “stateless” (which means that they act as only a keyboard, mouse, and display with all the graphics, processing and data input being controlled on a main server), to diskless (meaning processing is performed on the thin client).
With thin clients, applications reside on a central server. This makes it a snap to upgrade or to deploy those applications on a massive scale.
Desktop PC vs. Thin Client
Besides the security benefits of thin client computing there are also several benefits to using thin clients over using standard desktop workstations.
|Software updates and maintenance||Centrally administered||Must be maintained on each desktop|
|Useful life||Over 5 years||Approximately 3 years|
|Reliability||No moving parts to fail.||Disk drives, CDROM, fans, etc. will eventually fail.|
|Network bandwidth utilization||Low – 1/10th normal ‘Fat Client’ utilization. Highly predictable.||Highly variable / difficult to predict. 10 times more bandwidth required than for Thin Client.|
|Target users||Task-based workers, point of service, knowledge workers, public terminals, factory floor||Power users, information creators, traveling users, technical and graphical workers|
|Purchase price||Uses machines that would otherwise be recycled.||PCs generally over $600 each|
|Electricity usage||Without hard drives, uses less power.
(Every little bit helps!)
- The central server has the responsibility to do most or all of the processing. Therefore resources such as CPU power and memory size must be concentrated on the server.
- If the server goes down or is compromised then all users will be affected.
- Streaming video is currently not supported. The audio and video streams are not syncronized.
- Limitations for multimedia applications.