Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Karyn Jeffery, Tim Hinds, Jeev Trika

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
As cloud and storage projections continue to rise, the number of organizations moving to the cloud is escalating and it is clear cloud storage is here to stay. However, is it secure? Data is the lifeblood for government entities, countries, cloud service providers and enterprises alike and losing or exposing that data can have disastrous results. There are new concepts for data storage on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive data around the world. ...
SYS-CON Events announced today Object Management Group® has been named “Media 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.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps 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. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device. For more information, please visit https://www.mangoapps.com/.
The essence of data analysis involves setting up data pipelines that consist of several operations that are chained together – starting from data collection, data quality checks, data integration, data analysis and data visualization (including the setting up of interaction paths in that visualization). In our opinion, the challenges stem from the technology diversity at each stage of the data pipeline as well as the lack of process around the analysis.
Designing IoT applications is complex, but deploying them in a scalable fashion is even more complex. A scalable, API first IaaS cloud is a good start, but in order to understand the various components specific to deploying IoT applications, one needs to understand the architecture of these applications and figure out how to scale these components independently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nara Rajagopalan is CEO of Accelerite, will discuss the fundamental architecture of IoT applications, ...
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, 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.
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EastBanc Technologies 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. EastBanc Technologies has been working at the frontier of technology since 1999. Today, the firm provides full-lifecycle software development delivering flexible technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems – whether on premise or cloud. EastBanc Technologies partners with p...
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver 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. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discuss how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. We'll cite examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He'll also highlight how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable...
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...
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
Customer experience has become a competitive differentiator for companies, and it’s imperative that brands seamlessly connect the customer journey across all platforms. With the continued explosion of IoT, join us for a look at how to build a winning digital foundation in the connected era – today and in the future. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Nguyen, Group Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how to successfully leverage mobile, rapidly deploy content, capture real-time d...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? How do you coordinate the diverse moving parts that must come together when developing your IoT product? What are the key challenges addressed by Data as a Service? How does cloud computing underlie and connect the notions of Digital and DevOps What is the impact of the API economy? What is the business imperative for Cognitive Computing? Get all these questions and hundreds more like them answered at the 18th Cloud Expo...
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.