What is Thin Client Computing?

Thin Clients Then…

Thin clients have been in the computing world since the 70’s. During the late 70s, a “dumb terminal,” or a computer without a hard drive, was being used. They were similar to a thin client in that all processing was done from the CPU or computer they were connected to. Hosting information in the server data center and granting users’ access via what were called “dummy terminals” at the time has evolved greatly over the last fifteen years. A dumb terminal was simply an output device or display monitor that had no computational power to do anything besides display, send and receive text.

Thin Clients Today…

A thin client today is a compact piece of computing technology that accesses data remotely through a connection to a server and brings a virtual desktop to the user. While once these dummy terminals lagged far behind a traditional PC in terms of utility and functionality, they have since evolved to be very competitive in terms of both usability and price.

Thin client computing has advanced drastically in the last decade and can today rival traditional PCs in performance. Thin client computing has advanced to the point where users can’t tell the difference between a thin device and a “fat” PC. This user experience, coupled with the extensive cost, security, manageability, and scalability benefits of thin clients, is the reason IT personnel in various industries are exploring – and switching – to alternative desktop computing.

Over the past year alone, the capabilities of thin client computing have improved drastically. While in the past thin clients were not quite able to deliver the power needed for high performance demands, due to improvements in thin client hardware, software, connection protocols, and server technology, these issues are a thing of the past. These improvements have not gone unnoticed, and the number of organizations exploring virtual desktops and thin clients has been on a steady increase.