What are ‘Thin Clients’ and how do they work?Limesh Parekh
Thanks to technology, traditional sit-in workplaces have now evolved. And with globalisation, businesses need this flexibility so that they can stay ahead of the competition.
The nine-to-five and long commute concepts are slowly fading to make way for employee-centric and productive organisations.
As businesses become more mobile with each passing day, employees need secure and quick access to company data and applications to stay efficient and effective.
Thin clients are making all this possible. That’s why they’re now popular.
What is a Thin Client?
- A thin client is a networked computer. It’s a processing-unit-less desktop terminal that has no hard drive. All aspects like data, applications and memory that are generally done in computers get handled at the data centre.
- Thin clients serve as a virtual application for any user by creating a cost-effective Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). From in-house employees to remote workers, graphics designers to operational teams, thin clients improve every user’s productivity.
- Thin clients originated in the 1970s when some computers worked without hard drives. These ‘dumb terminals’ simply functioned as output devices with no computing power. That work was done by the CPU or computer they were connected to. These machines lagged far behind traditional computers in utility and functionality.
- Today, users do something similar. They simply provide inputs to the thin client and get the output they need. Processing and computing is done at the data server. But thin clients have advanced so much in the last decade that users can’t differentiate between them and a “fat” client. In fact, thin clients offer many more benefits over fat clients.
The Benefits of Thin Clients
Data Security: Since no data is stored on any machine, thin clients help your organisation reduces data loss and theft, and monitor risk when it comes to privacy.
Less Consumption: Thin clients reduce the physical space that computers require and consume less energy compared with traditional fat clients. Thus they increase your organisation’s efficiency and reduce costs.
Ease of Scaling: When your business grows, you won’t be burdened with cost or space while trying to scale up. You can do so in a predictable and comfortable manner if you use thin clients.
On-Demand Access: Thin clients make data available to your workforce regardless of time or place. This means that your team can be more productive at work, and more proactive.
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How to deploy a Thin Client at your workplace?
A Virtual Desktop Infrastructure is not difficult to design, implement and manage anymore. Nor is it a luxury. If anything, it’s becoming a necessity with the decline of PCs and the spike in adoption of mobile phone and tablet PCs.
To deploy a VDI in your organization, follow the below steps:
Choose an optimum approach – Decide whether you want to host the entire desktop environment on a server or just host applications and share them with desktop users.
Gauge your network – At peak levels, how much load will each virtual desktop deliver? Ensure that your network’s bandwidth is enough to handle this load. Preferably have a little more bandwidth so that it becomes easier when you want to scale up.
Map your hardware – Your data centre will need additional space to host your virtual desktops. So take into account the optimum hardware you’ll need for this.
Test various thin clients – Not all organisations have the same requirement. A thin client that works for a competitor might not be the best for you. Test various thin client software to gauge which one best fulfils your business needs.
Phase-Wise Deployment – Change your infrastructure at once and you might not have any fallback if things don’t go as planned. Roll out your VDI in a pilot phase and address all teething issues before you overhaul the IT infrastructure of your workplace.
There is no one-size-fits-all thin client solution. Different businesses differ in requirements, priorities, and end goals. It’s best to consult an expert who will survey your IT infrastructure and offer you the ideal solution for your business.
A Thin Client empowers your workforce to improve efficiency while maintaining the strict compliance standards that your organisation should meet.
Making the virtual workspace a reality for your business will lead to a reduction in cost and increase in efficiency. It will also make you more effective because employees will handle tasks effectively, regardless of geography and time zone.
Technology is helping the consumer and business world evolve. Leverage it to give you maximum returns and keep yourself ahead of the competition.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)