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Thin Client

Do you have a significant team of people on site utilising line of business applications that rely on a central server resource? Does is the availability or cost of bandwidth preclude a Cloud solution? IT Ambulance can support your business with a Thin Client network promoting high availability and to deliver just what your team needs to do their job.

Questions to ask yourself

  • Would you like to have a truly, “from anywhere,” access to the assets on your business computer network?
  • Do you need to centralise data from across multiple sites anywhere in the world?
  • Do you have too many users burning your bandwidth on VPN Connections?
  • Would you like to reduce your desktop support overhead or your hardware cost?
  • Do you have specific applications that are expensive to license and you would like to share?

If your answer is yes to any of the above questions, then a Microsoft Terminal Server based solution incorporating “Thin Client” technology is worth considering.

What is a Thin Client Network?

A thin client network operates by concentrating computing power on a central server, with ‘client’ machines (i.e., computers connected to the network) doing less computing locally. In fact, the central server performs most of the computing tasks, stores data and hosts all the software applications. This allows low-powered computers and older, outdated desktop machines to run applications that normally would require higher specification computers.

Main Advantages of a Thin Client Network

  • Highly reliable server based system that delivers superb up-time.
  • Much reduced desktop administration as issues are centralised on the server(s)
  • New Applications and Updates are run in one location.
  • Limited risk of virus attack– as virus management is centrally controlled on servers(s)
  • Standard personal desktop, programmes and data files, available from any access location or machine.
  • Reduces the bandwidth required to support remote users.
  • Small simple and silent thin client computers consume less energy and produce less heat.
  • Extend the life of existing PC Assets
  • Thin Client Device replacement cost much lower than PC Refresh
  • Eradicate reliance on a specific location (Denial of Premises)

Main Disadvantages of a Thin Client Network

  • The server(s) is/are critical to the operation of all computers on the network
  • A higher level of change management planning is required.
  • Technical expertise required for support is more sophisticated.
  • All computers need to be connected to a Server in order to operate. There is no stand-alone functionality.
  • Thin clients will not replace stand-alone PCs for multimedia creation, video-editing or CAD designs.
  • Requirement for Open Licensing Programme licences as opposed to cheaper OEM.

What makes up a Thin Client Network

  • Terminal Server

The central server in a thin client network is often called the ‘terminal server’. It is a powerful, high specification machine, capable of handling a large number of logged-in clients.

This server handles the processing elements of the server operating system and applications as well as much of the processing power of the individual clients.

Client devices

The client machine in a traditional infrastructure is the Desktop PC. These are still reusable in the Thin Client network infrastructure however they can be locked down and function at the simplest possible level, extending their lifespan and taking the urgency from your equipment refresh.

However the traditional PC can, eventually, be replaced with a purpose built Thin Client machine. These devices are typically no bigger than an external hard drive. They run cut down Windows operating systems designed to be supported by the Terminal Server. The user experience is managed completely from the server.

Thin Clients are very simple and therefore have little to go wrong. They typically cost under £200 per device and can be attached to the back of a monitor. They offer highly secure, clutter, noise and heat free working.

Furthermore a thin client interface can be supported by most Mobile Devices e.g, tablet devices such as iPad and many Smart phones, even when just using GSM bandwidth, not even requiring 3G!

The Terminal Server can support a mixed environment of Thin Client machines, PC’s and Mobile Devices.

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