Thin Clients Essay

This essay has a total of 1162 words and 5 pages.

Thin Clients


In an ideal world, it would be easy to deploy and manage the robust client/server
applications that tap today's abundant PC power. But if you support a distributed
computing environment built around the Wintel computing architecture, you know better. To
a large extent, the culprit is a Microsoft OS deign that's not quite at home in the
enterprise. While hundreds of add-on products promise to reduce cost of ownership though
centralized desktop management, few deliver benefits that justify their costs. Most
managers simply resign to the fact that supporting large numbers of PC workstations will
be incredibly expensive and inefficient, and chalk it up to a cost doing business. So
which is better for your organization, PC or thin-client?

Thin-client computing now offers real hope for progress. The state of affairs described
above is like a fat pitch don the middle of home plate, just begging for thin-client
computing proponents to smack it out of the park. When it comes to total cost of ownership
for desktop computing services, thin-client computing is a bottom-line winner. Yes users
will have to five up some control of their desktops. Any yes, administrators will need to
learn a new approach to application deployment. But the payback is so clear; thin clients'
arrival is almost inevitable.

What about $500 PCs, you ask? Why buy a brain-dead thin-client device when PC prices are
in free fall? Here's another chance for thin-client proponents to swing for the fences.
First, while $500 PCs exit, most large organizations spend significantly more than $1500
per new PC, or about twice the cost of a well-equipped thin-client device. Their money
flows to high-end systems in the hope these computers will have a longer useful life. This
strategy makes a lot of sense, because upgrading a PC is a time-consuming, costly exercise
that almost always includes follow-up support calls.

More important, savvy organizations know that less than 20 percent of the true life-cycle
cost of a PC is reflected in its initial cost. There's a mountain of evidence to support
this assertion, as well as the corollary that thin clients save money. For example, a
survey of 25 sites using thin-client technologies conducted earlier this year by Datapro
concluded that on average, deploying thin-client devices cut support costs by more than 80
percent. If a thin-client's purchase price were twice as high as a PC's, its cost of
ownership would still be considerably less expensive.

But there is a catch of two. Even if you take into consideration the economic advantages
of thin clients, it's fair to question whether the approach represents technological
progress. Many argue that it's a return to the old model of centralized host processing.
You'd better be prepared to take into account that argument and make the case that the
previous way of doing business has benefits today. Thin-client deployments are most
successful in organizations where centralized IT management can be embraces as more
effective, not just more efficient. Even then, the systems have to deliver the
applications users need with performance and functionality rivaling that of today's PCs.
Continues for 3 more pages >>




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