Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, SmartBear Blog, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, James Carlini

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Open Source Cloud, Agile Computing, Log Management, @CloudExpo, Cloud Security

Containers Expo Blog: Article

The Rise of the Thin Client

Thin clients are basic computer systems that work with a server to process applications and store data through virtualization

Imagine there was a technology that could solve some of the top issues for IT managers of large companies: managing a large fleet of users' devices, with all the associated maintenance tasks, and maintaining the security and integrity of devices by preventing malicious software installation. Now imagine this solution also provided unparalleled energy efficiency. Thin computing is the answer.

Thin clients are basic computer systems that work with a server to process applications and store data through virtualization - almost all of the actual computing occurs on the server, and most of the software is installed and managed virtually by an IT manager. Many clients can run the same applications on a shared sever, which finds its best usage among workers in massive buildings, with a lot of turnover, where many employees will use the same fundamental programs repeatedly.

In large employee environments, where workers use a limited variety of programs, a client virtualization model makes sense as IT managers are more able to ensure security, manageability and energy efficiency.

Security
A thin computing model is ideal for when data must be kept in secure, remote locations, and provides peace of mind for businesses that need help complying with laws like HIPAA or Sarbanes-Oxley. If you have ever been caught in an airport or hotel and realized you left your laptop behind, you understand how easy it is for company data to be stolen or abused. While hard drives are a way of life for most workers and students, they cause unnecessary headaches in environments such as manufacturing, elementary education, data entry, retail chains and call center, which are environments better suited for client virtualization. When there is no need for each person's computer to be a complex machine and many upgrades can be made via the server, rather than on each individual PC, IT teams experience fewer bottlenecks, and entire departments can experience overall cost benefits. It's virtually impossible for a thief to steal data, since applications and programs are only controlled and located on the server. Plus, those in charge never have to worry that a user is installing unauthorized programs the way they could on PCs.

Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings
Typical thin client devices consume anywhere from 2-10 watts of power, while typical PC systems consume anywhere from 20 to 60 watts. This dramatic reduction in power consumption translates to real cost savings, even with the back-end infrastructure considered. In fact, a recent Gartner study* measured thin client TCO annual savings as high as 79% downtime cost-per-user; 16% capital cost savings; 34% less in maintenance, 19% less to operate, and 48% overall lower total cost of ownership.

Manageability and Usability
IT managers must be able to control what different users can access, and thin clients are easy to deploy - out-of-the-box in less than 10 minutes - with just a web browser or remote desktop software to connect thin clients to your server. Whether one prefers simple, single-application kiosks or a familiar Windows environment, it's easy to customize client desktops for your users. One of the major questions that arise with those new to client virtualization is what can I use in my data center to provide a secure and reliable connection point for my devices. Citrix, VMware and Microsoft provide the software solution for your servers and can assist in the setup to ensure the technology works for each unique environment.

Unlike the thin clients of yesterday, the desktop hardware has many forms and users might not even realize they are working on a thin client. For example, HP's innovative t410, the all-in-one device where the screen is the thin client (just add mouse and keyboard of your choice), runs on Power over Ethernet and needs only 13 watts of power. In addition, there are thin clients that run up to six displays, like the t610; thin clients that allow touch, via Microsoft Windows Embedded 7 software, and thin clients that can run full-fledged VoIP calling when paired with Avaya or other Unifed Communication solutions.

Next time you find yourself frustrated by the myriad problems and costs that arise from dozens of workers using expensive machines, or find yourself navigating a new security issue, consider the benefits of client virtualization and HP Thin Clients.

* Source: Gartner August 2008 http://web.citrix.com/go/m2l/hi/pdf/GartnerReport.pdf

More Stories By Tom Flynn

Tom Flynn is Chief Technologist of Thin Client Computing at Hewlett-Packard.

Comments (2) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
wassem 05/27/13 08:08:00 AM EDT

Hi Tom I liked your article, you covered all the benefits of the thin client computing. In the article you mentioned the low power benefit, and mentioned the HP computer, as low cost solution, but I think that our product the Cubox that Costs 120$ and needs only 3 Watt of power could be another excellent solution.

@ThingsExpo Stories
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
SYS-CON Events announced today that VAI, a leading ERP software provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. VAI (Vormittag Associates, Inc.) is a leading independent mid-market ERP software developer renowned for its flexible solutions and ability to automate critical business functions for the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail and service sectors. An IBM Premier Business Part...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
SYS-CON Events announced today that iDevices®, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. iDevices, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, has a growing line of HomeKit-enabled products available at the largest retailers worldwide. Through the “Designed with iDevices” co-development program and its custom-built IoT Cloud Infrastruc...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies adopt disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevO...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
One of the bewildering things about DevOps is integrating the massive toolchain including the dozens of new tools that seem to crop up every year. Part of DevOps is Continuous Delivery and having a complex toolchain can add additional integration and setup to your developer environment. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Miko Matsumura, Chief Marketing Officer of Gradle Inc., will discuss which tools to use in a developer stack, how to provision the toolchain to minimize onboa...
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
Silver Spring Networks, Inc. (NYSE: SSNI) extended its Internet of Things technology platform with performance enhancements to Gen5 – its fifth generation critical infrastructure networking platform. Already delivering nearly 23 million devices on five continents as one of the leading networking providers in the market, Silver Spring announced it is doubling the maximum speed of its Gen5 network to up to 2.4 Mbps, increasing computational performance by 10x, supporting simultaneous mesh communic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including clou...
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Learn how IoT, cloud, social networks and last but not least, humans, can be integrated into a seamless integration of cooperative organisms both cybernetic and biological. This has been enabled by recent advances in IoT device capabilities, messaging frameworks, presence and collaboration services, where devices can share information and make independent and human assisted decisions based upon social status from other entities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Heydt, founder of Seamless...