ITech Insights

Thin is in, how thin clients can help your company.

Business owners knows that one way to increase your profit margins is by cutting costs. When it comes to technology, most businesses reduce cost by either moving their operations to the cloud, outsourcing IT services, uninstalling the unnecessary software or all of the above.

Some even make the mistake of doing without technology to cut costs. I think this is just foolish but there is another way you can reduce costs and get some other great gains. Consider swapping your bulky desktops for thin or zero clients.

What are thin and zero clients?

Thin clients are stripped-down computers with minimum processing power and memory. They rely on an operating system, usually Windows, and a network connection to access a more powerful centralized computer where almost all the actual work occurs.

Zero clients work almost the same way the only difference is that there’s no hard drive or operating system; all the software, storage, and processing resides on a server and is pushed down the network when you need it.

Both Thin Clients and Zero Clients help reduce costs but more importantly they give you much better control and minimize risk to your organization. Here’s why?

Reduced hardware costs for each end user

When it comes to upfront costs, thin and zero clients are the obvious choice. Conventional desktops start at $300 per user, while thin clients can go for as little as $90 per user. And since they have no hard drive or other moving parts, these devices tend to be more durable and have a longer lifespan than their traditional counterparts.

It is important to note that the offset in desktop costs is made up by the need for a big beefy server you need to run the clients. In some environments where it is rough on equipment, putting the expensive gear in the server room and having less expensive thin or zero clients on the shop floor is a huge advantage

Simplified IT management

Another benefit of thin clients is that they can be centrally from one or more servers. Suppose a new software version was released. Instead of manually downloading the software to each computer, you can simply update the workstation image on the server and voila every workstation will have the new software installed.

Apart from upgrades, you can make backups, security configurations, and application deployments in the data center. This quickens setup, reduces downtime, and increases employee productivity.

Sophisticated IT shops and Managed Service Providers have toolsets that allow for dynamic allocation of resources so that the server is much more effectively used.

Minimized security risks

Thin clients also help you avoid costly malware attacks and data breach incidents. Your employees and poorly managed endpoints are the biggest vulnerabilities with traditional desktops.

Thin and zero clients reduce these problems by limiting direct access to the operating system. Having no access to the O/S prevents employees from copying sensitive data to removable media or installing software, malicious or otherwise.

In some companies, we have the workstation refresh to its original configuration after every login, so every user gets a brand new machine at every login.

Decreased energy consumption

Because processing is done locally, traditional desktops generate a lot of heat and require more power, which results in tremendous power and cooling bills at the end of the month.

With thin and zero clients, they only consume only 4-6.5 watts of power, almost 1/50th of thick client requirements. What’s more, they require little to no cooling, allowing you to enjoy significant cost savings.

If you're interested in the nitty-gritty then the University of Arkansas did a comparison of Physical and Virtual Desktop Energy Use

When looking for new computing solutions, thin and zero clients should never be overlooked. The reduced hardware costs, power bills, and security risks are just too good to pass up. But if you’re still unsure about this technology, give us a call. We’ll assess your tech needs and determine whether thin or zero clients can help you succeed.

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