A few years ago, “thin client computing” became a popular concept with the idea is that most users don’t need a powerful desktop unit with a fast processor and a vast amount of local storage space. Instead of blowing the IT budget on high powered individual machines, companies could provide their employees with inexpensive, low-powered computers that operate much like the old “dumb terminals” that connected to mainframe systems.
PC Magazine’s Encyclopedia defines a Dumb Terminal as “A display terminal that provides keyboard input and screen output and no data processing capability. Dumb terminals flourished in the days of minicomputers and mainframes.” Over time, most dumb terminals were replaced by desktop computers and servers replaced the mini-computer.
There is a return to “dumb computing” as many companies are now transforming their desktop environments from device-centric management to user-centric private clouds.
Dumb terminals are very cost effective, usually priced around $200. Minimal cost, configuration and maintenance make it an easy and affordable option for a desktop virtualization solution. It also offers centralized access and a great deal of control.
Remote Desktop Services provides functionality similar to a terminal-based or mainframe environment in which multiple users connect over the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to a terminal server, which delivers a unique desktop to each user, processes the information and sends the graphical representation of that desktop back to the user’s machine.
A user can log on at a terminal and run applications on the host computer, accessing files, databases and network resources. Each terminal session is independent, with the host operating system managing the traffic flow of several users accessing shared resources.
Many companies still use individual PCs to connect to the terminal server/Remote Desktop host. In addition to the extra cost, this presents a higher security risk because the individual PCs are vulnerable to viruses, malware and attacks. A true thin client is not just a less powerful PC, but it is locked down to provide better security.
Additionally, updates and upgrades made in a virtual server environment are faster and more affordable. Remote workers will be able to access the content on their desktops when they are out of the office, adding another benefit to thin client computing.
There are a few drawbacks to having a virtual desktop infrastructure. To get it started will require a substantial investment in server hardware and storage and network infrastructure. If the server goes down, most likely all users will be unable to work since they will all be tied to the same server, so consider a redundant server as a back up solution.
To determine if thin client computing is the right step for your office, call Teltek today!
Teltek is proud to offer IT services as the fourth component to our multi-systems approach as your single source technology services company. This Managed Service Provider (MSP) offering completes our longstanding goal to provide our clients with a one-call resource for all of their business technology needs. IT outsourcing, remote back up and disaster recovery, helpdesk support, computer network relocations, security products and server/desktop virtualization are just a few of the services now available.