Many offices are filled with Thick Clients, otherwise known as regular desktop workstations.  These often large and heavy boxes sit on or underneath our desks as we work day by day.  Standard thick client workstations can also fail leading to costly repairs, or replacement.  Another downside to using thick clients within your office is that the data lives directly on each individual computer, and unless backed up separately that data could be at risk of loss in the event of hardware failure.

Although business owners are turning to a relatively new solution in making use of thin client computers.  Unlike a thick client computer where all your data, and software lives directly on the computer, a thin client is a minimal hardware device that makes use of the internet to connect to a server where the data lives, and where the software is accessed from.  Thin Client computers are much less expensive compared to the thicker desktop workstation counterparts.  There are also far less components on thin client devices, making them less prone to failure. And in the situation a thin client does fail it's easy to simply replace the entire device.

Other Benefits Thin Clients Offer

Cost Analysis

Thin Client cost benefits are often seen as one of the main driving factors behind switching over to a virtualized environment.  Not only are thin clients less expensive to purchase than thick clients, but their maintenance is less expensive as well.  A thick clients average life expectancy is estimated to be 4 years, whereas thin clients are 6 years or more.

Hardware Costs are often minimal for thin clients, as they only require a keyboard, mouse, screen, and the thin client itself to connect back to the host server.  Thin clients do not require separate hard drives, large power supplies, or much RAM or CPU power, since all of that is taken care of by the server its connecting to.  And in the situation that you want to switch to a virtual environment, business owners aren't rushed into purchasing a lot of new hardware, since their current Windows based workstations can use Remote Desktop software already installed to connect to the virtualization (VDI) server.

Below we can compare with a costs pf Thin Clients vs PCs in an example.

Security Factors

Media ports and hard drives open up the possibility for security breaches, and allow the user to install harmful software without even realizing it.  Desktop PC's are often unmanaged devices which limits their security availability.  The business owner is also left to rely on 3rd party anti-virus software to protect each workstation against possible infection.  Thin Clients are locked down, eliminating the users ability to install software they don't need, and their session's are managed directly from the server.  This makes administration easier as well, since users can be quickly created, booted from sessions, and managed all from the virtual host provider.  Data is also all stored on the server as opposed to directly on each workstation, allowing for centralized back up and no risk if the thin client becomes unusable for any reason.

Hosted Virtualization in the Cloud

Virtualized environments often meant storing a server on site for thin clients to connect to, but that isn't the case anymore.  With advancements in networks and IP technology, you can work with a Virtual Host provider like Natural Networks to not only host the virtual server, but can also offer security, client management, and also offer the thin client hardware as needed.  A host provider will already have the hardware that's needed, and will be able to help you determine if a virtual environment is not only right for you, but will help make the transition possible.  When you work with a Host provider, they will have the server already available, often securely stored in a data center.

Not only does working with a hosting provider make set up and management easier, but it also gives you the benefit of storing and controlling your access in the Cloud.  Virtual Hosting providers may provide your company with a certain amount of cloud storage to go along with your virtual environment, allowing you to access your data or workstations from anywhere you can access the internet.

You'll have to ask the Virtual Host provider if and how much cloud storage they offer, and what the costs are as they may vary depending on who you work with.  Since Natural Networks is an expert on implementation and deploying virtual environments, you can contact us for with any questions you may have.