Thin clients are ideal for server-based computing environments that support many desktop users who need access to a standardized set of applications or for mission-critical situations in which reliability is an issue.
The need to regularly update such applications on networked PCs, exacerbated by the need to frequently patch such systems to plug security holes, brings the total cost of ownership to an average of about $7,000 per networked seat, according to a Wyse Technology Inc. report citing a number of industry analyst figures. Thin clients, which can be managed centrally by updating software on the servers, can cut that cost by half or more, depending on the
However, thin clients cannot be used in situations in which users need to do a lot of off-line processing, such as Web design, or where close local control
of data is needed for confidentiality reasons.
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.