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The thin client: Rethinking the corporate desktop. Webcast Goals:. What is thin-client computing? Benefits Risks Getting an ROI. Dan Farber. Editor in Chief, ZDNet. Martin Reynolds. Vice President of Research Gartner. Thin client in context.

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The thin client rethinking the corporate desktop l.jpg

The thin client: Rethinkingthe corporate desktop

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Webcast Goals:

  • What is thin-client computing?

  • Benefits

  • Risks

  • Getting an ROI

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Dan Farber

Editor in Chief, ZDNet

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Martin Reynolds

Vice President of Research


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Thin client in context

A thin client shifts processing and data storage from the client system to the data center.

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PC replacement choices

  • Extend the life of an old PC

  • Buy a new PC

  • Try the thin client model

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Thin client characteristics

  • Move storage and apps into the network

  • Administration shifts to centralized location

  • Work is more secure and stored on the network infrastructure

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Thin client in context

Typically, a thin client includes a CPU, memory, keyboard, peripheral ports, mouse and monitor and possibly flash card memory. They also lack a fan and storage devices.

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Are there “smart” thin clients?

  • Some additional functionality, such as CD-ROM drive or flash memory modules

  • Choose between fat or thin client

  • Some applets can be stored on a thin client

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Thin-client software

  • Accesses operating system environments–

    ranging from Windows-based terminals to Linux

    and Unix systems

  • Provides local printing, audio and serial device


  • Offers remote management software for support

    and administration

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Thin-client pricing

  • Cuts hidden management and administrative costs

  • Costs can be similar to a low-cost desktop PC depending on configuration

  • Thin client device vary in price depending on

    the components required for an application

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Thin-client pricing

  • Don’t expect to save significantly on capital acquisition

  • Pick one that will last 5-7 years

  • Choose a model that fits well with application needs

  • Make sure it is quiet and cool

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Thin-client pricing

  • Operations cost high

  • Determine need and usefulness

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Coming Up ….

More benefits



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Thin-client benefits

  • Cost of ownership/administration

    • Save money by buying lower cost desktop configuration

    • Save money on administration costs

      • Gartner: thin clients can save an IT department 80 percent in support staff costs.

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Thin-client benefits

  • Central administration and management

    • Move virus protection to data center

    • Thin client can be more secure

    • Performs software distribution over the network

    • Patch management easier

    • Eliminates desktop hardware upgrades

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Thin client

Shipments of thin clients will reach 3.4 million units worldwide in 2007, up from just 1.5 million in 2003.

Source: IDC, 2003

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Thin-client applications

  • Call center

  • Data entry

  • Insurance claims

  • Banking applications

  • Healthcare applications

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Types of workers

  • Fixed function

  • Paid hourly

  • Part-time

  • Factory floor

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Data center hardware costs

  • Addition computing capability needed in data center

  • Costs can be up to 10 times higher than desktop hardware

  • Companies only utilizing 15 percent of server capacity

  • Some extra bandwidth to utilize

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  • Some employees will not accept thin clients

  • Inappropriate for mobile workforce accessing servers from non-corporate locations

  • Cost of PCs still attractive, despite the administrative costs

  • Lack of awareness about thin clients

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Thin-client future

The market for thin clients is expected to grow at an annual rate of 22.8 percent over the next five years.

Source: IDC, 2003

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Deploying thin clients

  • Evaluate users

    • Determine employee satisfaction

    • Analyze work loads of user

    • Examine applications workers use

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ROI: Energy costs

  • 25 percent savings over a desktop PC with monitor

  • Data center could absorb more energy costs

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ROI: Space savings

  • Improved office space efficiency via smaller footprint

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ROI: Noise

  • Thin client build for quiet operation

  • Desktops louder because of fan noise

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ROI: Support

  • Rapid deployment of applications and patches

  • Cut transit time and telephone time of IT staff

  • IT staff workforce can be reduced

    • PC environment: one support person is needed for every 100 PCs

    • Thin client environment: one support person is required for every 500 client devices

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Tablet PC and handhelds

  • Large market for thin applications

    • Power saving

    • Battery life increased

    • Run sophisticated applications

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Thin-client summary

  • Saves costs

  • Increases productivity and uptime

  • Choose the right applications

  • Flexible for mobile computing scenarios

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Dan Farber

Editor in Chief, ZDNet