Running thin clients instead of traditional desktop PC’s has always been an advantage in our business. They have allowed us to move very rapidly with new installations and migrate existing installations into our network. Remote users have been added very quickly and management of these nodes has been eased over more traditional solutions. All this has been achieved with a very very small support team.
Here are five reasons why you should think about thin client technology:
- Make changes once – and in one place
Software installation, updating and removal is kept easier because its in one place. Keeping an eye on disk space, memory and processor usages is a lot easier on one machine than keeping an eye on 50 or more. Backing up is also a lot quicker and all important recovery is faster. Changes can be made quickly and rolled out across a wide distributed user base with no intervention from end users.
- Take advantage of the unused load on your server
Many servers and client PC’s are often highly under-loaded. Virtual computing technology is taking huge advantage of this and thin clients can too. Take advantage of that unused load and save money from unnecessary equipment and make the most of the money you have spent. Savings can always be put back into the network by securing and enhancing the infrastructure making it even more reliable.
- Make support and management easier
See at a glance what user processes are running. There are tools out there that will do this across a traditional distributed network of workstations but it is much easier to see what’s installed on just one machine making it easier to protect against software that shouldn’t be installed. There are also a lot less machines to keep up to date which means that patch management is improved making the job quicker (lets you go home earlier which is always a plus point). Configuring a thin client terminal is often a simple and painless process – just point the device to your chosen server and off you go. Thin clients can often be locked down too keeping them safe from experimental fingers.
- Bring down the costs
Bring down the cost of the equipment, the cost of repairs and the cost of support and other ongoing costs. New users can be quickly and easily added – even if they are remotely based. PC’s tend to need regular upgrades, especially driven by user ‘desire’. Thin clients can be installed and left often for many years which lets you maximise your return on your investment. Solving a problem for one user can often have a knock on effect of solving the problem for many users – even when they didn’t know they had a problem thus reducing the load on the helpdesk. The number of desk visits to deal with hardware problems can also be reduced.
There isn’t much that can be changed on a thin client and they aren’t as appetising to thieves as desktop PC’s. Network bandwidth is reduced often to a more manageable (and budgetable) level. Also, important data can be kept away from the main network and kept in the computer room – only screen and keyboard data needs to be sent over the cable. Keeps data where it should be – in a central location instead of it being dispersed around the network on different computers. Remote works can also benefit from rapid deployment of remote thin clients and the IT team can be safe in the knowledge that very little can happen to the home based workers.
As a balance, there are a few downsides and these have to be weighed up against the advantages.
- If the server goes down – everyone goes down! This can be eased to some degree by using a farm approach.
- Not all software will run happily on a thin client – so check with the vendor!
- Patches and updates need to be timed when no users are on the system as often the thin client server needs to be in a special ‘install’ mode to maintain it’s software.