Thin Clients and Cloud Computing

For enterprises looking to scale their information technology infrastructure, there are a variety of options. One option is to map out an IT plan that includes acquiring a number of additional physical servers, desktop computers and software licenses. Another option is to consider an IT plan that relies on a centralized server to deliver information, data, and programs to thin client computer terminals. A final option, however, is gaining popularity among businesses and enterprises of all sizes: combining graphically powerful thin client terminals with cloud computing resources.

What is a Thin Client?

Traditionally, a thin client is a bare bones computer that allows users to access programs, files, and functionality that is hosted on another computer, typically a physical server located somewhere else in the office. The server pushes the operating system, programs and information to the thin client when a user logs on. The thin client is little more than a computer terminal that acts as a vessel through which information and functionality are provided.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is a term used to describe an Internet-based server that allows users to access files, programs, operating systems, and data from anywhere with Internet access. Cloud computing offers businesses a highly affordable, highly scalable way to add technological resources as necessary, without the setup headaches and hardware costs typically associated with growing the company's information technology infrastructure. 

The Benefits of Thin Clients and The Cloud

For businesses seeking enhanced security, higher user satisfaction, cost savings and improved accessibility for remote users, combining thin clients with cloud computing offers an effective solution. Let's take a closer look at some of the benefits of joining thin clients and the cloud: 

  • Greater security and enhanced resource management: Thin clients offer network administrators peace of mind by eliminating the chance for physical data loss and lessening concerns about client integrity. Operating system hotfixes, program patches and antivirus protection can all be controlled at the cloud level, eliminating the need for time-consuming and costly one-on-one machine upgrades.
  • • End user satisfaction: The user simply wants to be able to turn on his or her computer and get to work, without having to worry about receiving odd program errors or being interrupted to so that some administrative task can complete. Bringing a thin client into a cloud computing environment gives end users all of the benefits of a desktop PC without the headaches and challenges that typically accompany “fat” computers.
  • Cost effective and “green”: Because thin clients have few (if any) moving parts, there are few physical items that can break, which means a longer life span for every terminal. And because these machines let the cloud do much of the heavy lifting when it comes to making computations, saving documents and sharing files, their power consumption is much lower, leading to lower costs and reduced energy needs.
  • Greater remote accessibility: Cloud computing and thin clients allow for much greater flexibility in remote access than more traditional computing environments. Users can access their files, programs and email no matter where they are, increasing productivity without increasing information technology challenges.