Evolution of Thin Client Computing

In the 1940’s the first computer was introduced and called ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer). This computer would be unrecognizable to today’s standard.  Computers have gone from the size of full rooms to tiny devices that can sit on a desk. The evolution of thin client computing went from a device that did not have a secure network and priced similarly to PCs, to secure high speed networks that are cost efficient for any office.

Early thin clients were used to interface with mainframe computers. All programs and data were stored on this mainframe.  The first thin clients were released right at the start of the big PC boom in the 1980s. PCs were favored at the time because of their emphasis on localized processing. When PCs started to make their ways into homes they were often sold in kits and owned by hobbyists and technicians. At the time the drawbacks were not as noticeable because PCs were such a new technology. Main problems that continue to this day with PCs are that they require operating systems and software to be installed and updated on each individual computer.  These programs quickly become outdated and require individual attention.

The name, “thin client” was not coined until 1993 by Tim Negris. He envisioned thin clients with a strong design, and a cost efficient solution to expensive hardware.  In the late 1990’s the internet started to effect the way we looked at computers. Instead of seeing computing as separate devices, people saw the power of connecting devices together. With thin client computing, users can access data through one centralized server.

In the early 2000’s stronger security features were added to thin clients. This protects thin clients from the use of unauthorized software or introduction of viruses.  With information being stored in the data center, instead of each device it eliminates the chance of physical data being lost. Thin clients also became more cost effective then PCs:

  • Thin clients are a lower cost per device than PCs.
  • Thin clients lower IT support costs when compared to PCs; PCs required software updates to be completed on each device, thin clients can update all devices through the data center.
  • Thin clients reduce the energy bill by up to 97%.

New Options with Thin Clients

  • Wireless Thin Clients: deployed for use on LANS and cellular networks, and offers an alternative way to connect thin clients to servers.
  • Zero Clients: eliminates the need for a full operating system, comes equipped with a basic operating environment that configures to the network.
  • Ceptor: an ultra-small, full featured thin client device that transforms and HDMI monitor or display into a thin client. It has integrated Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capability, USB-B micro host port, and includes HD 1080p video output.
  • Tiny-In-One: combines the advantages of a thin client with the flexibility of an integrated monitor.
  • Laptop Thin Clients: mobile thin client devices that allow the user to access data from any location.

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