5 Key Uses of Thin Clients in the Cloud
Because of cost pressures, many organisations have moved their IT infrastructure to cloud computing technologies. The cloud can be a private cloud, created and managed internally by the organisation, a public cloud, perhaps hosted on infrastructure maintained by a managed services provider, or a hybrid cloud having elements of both.
What is a Thin Client?
A thin client can be simply defined as a computer that runs from resources drawn from a central server, rather than from a local hard drive. All applications and data are stored centrally. They are therefore especially suited for use as Cloud Computing infrastructure end-user devices.
5 Key Uses of a Thin Client in the Cloud
Here are 5 key benefits to using thin clients in a Cloud environment:
Thin Clients are ideally suited to be cloud-based end-user devices. Several software platforms, such as Amazon Web Service (AWS), Citrix, Microsoft Azure and VMware provide virtual desktops, often called workspaces, to the end user. More recently, they have been renamed as Desktop as a Service (DAAS) solutions.
End-users with thin client devices connect to the central server and use a virtual desktop in exactly the same way as with a desktop computer.
Data is stored centrally, and users can’t save data locally, either because the tin cline doesn’t have a hard drive or USB ports, or all data remains central. This also addresses remote access security, since data is never held locally.
Making sure end-user devices linking to the network have up-to-date and operational anti-malware has been an admin headache for IT. BYOD has seen end-user devices increase as a major attack surface.
Because all applications and data are held centrally, and end-users have a limited ability to download apps and data, anti-malware strategies can concentrate on the central servers.
Backup and Retore
Users are notorious for neglecting data backup on desktops, and IT needs to install centralised backup hardware and software to backup local user data. Using thin clients, with centralised applications and data makes this a much simpler task.
Lower Operational Costs
Thin Clients are in general, cheaper than fully configured desktop units, both tower and laptop, and have a longer effective lifespan. This reduces replacement costs in an equipment replenishment programme.
Because apps and data, including user profiles, are stored centrally, they need much less local admin and support and can significantly reduce the admin overhead needed. A small cost saving is achieved in comms costs because less data is moved across the network interface.
Maintenance costs are lower because they tend to have fewer moving parts and simpler architecture, and therefore suffer fewer software or hardware failures, and those less often.
In addition, because they don’t host software locally, they don’t need software upgrades.
The TCO of a thin client environment is considered by many to be much less than that of a desktop computer or laptop.
Branch, Remote Office, Work from Home and Mobile Benefits
Branch and remote offices are great locations for thin clients. Firstly, because applications and data are stored centrally and not held remotely, thereby increasing data security. Secondly, because of the increased reliability, local support is not so necessary.
Working from Home also benefits. BYOD increased the workload on the infrastructure and on IT support because IT was never sure exactly what the end-user device was, and its anti-malware and security statuses. There was also the possibility of data theft by storing data locally.
Recent technology advances have created mobile thin clients. They look like laptops or large tablets, and if equipped with a WiFi or cell data capability can provide all the benefits of thin clients to mobile users.
Energy and Space Savings
Thin Clients also promote energy savings, an important consideration in these days of increasing energy costs and eco-friendly workplaces.
Because of their simpler construction and fewer components, they draw less energy. Also some commentators consider that, by emitting less heat, the office needs less cooling and thereby draws less energy.
Some work, and indeed work from home environments have restricted space or space is at a premium. Sometimes they cannot manage to install a bulky desktop unit. This is particularly true in medical and retail environments.