Thin Client Computing
What is a Client?
In computing terminology, a 'client' is a hardware or software component in a network that relies on a more powerful computer, a server, to perform specified operations. This means that not all processing needs to be performed by a user's device or applications. The client simply provides a window, or interface, to view and use applications on a personal computer, workstation or other device. Clients most commonly connect to servers through the Internet.
A 'thin' client relies on a server to do most or all of its processing. A common example is a web application that uses a browser to present the application to the user. Thin computers are far simpler than standard PCs, and usually contain just enough information to start up and connect to the server.
A 'thick' client is a computer with many locally stored programs and resources and little dependence on network resources. A common example of a 'thick client' is where the interface of the application must be downloaded to the desktop computer.
Benefits of Thin Client Computing
The advantages of thin client computing include:
- Reduced cost – simpler devices are lower in price. In a situation where many people perform a similar task, it is more cost-effective to have one network server computer and many cheap client computers, than to have many complete devices.
- Ease of maintenance – a standard computer has a lot of parts, and a thin client only has a few, which means fewer things can go wrong. The simplicity makes it easier to diagnose and repair problems.
- Ease of use – reduced complexity for users.
- Security – security is centralized and easier to manage.
Thin client computers are increasingly replacing standard PCs in the workplace.