What is thin computing?
Most people are used to using a PC or laptop, whereby you have a screen, keyboard, mouse, processor and a hard disk which allows you to permanently store your applications and data. The fundamental difference between a PC and thin computing system is that with a thin computer, the user has a terminal comprising of a screen, keyboard, and mouse, but no storage or processing capability.
As a result, rather than your information being stored locally on your hard drive, it will be stored remotely on a server that is accessed via the internet.
How does it work in practice?
The thin computer is connected through a network, or remotely, and can access all the applications and information stored on the main server.
Naturally, this means that you rely heavily on the ability to access the remote server.
What happens if I can not access the internet?
This is one of the down sides of thin computing because you need access to the internet every time you want to connect to a remote server.
Is it an idea to have some local storage?
Many packages will give you the option to retain the ability to store data locally but this is mainly to be used as a contingency in case you can not access a remote server. As a result you may be still be able to continue working.
Why should I consider thin computing?
There are a number of reasons why you should consider it. The key factor is cost, simply because thin terminals are less expensive than a PC or laptop. They are less likely to go wrong as they (generally) don’t have any moving parts. It means that the costs for supporting a network are much lower because all the software and servers are located in one place. As a result, if something fails, then it will be at one location, and an engineer is not required to travel to fix a problem at a user’s home or remote location.
How can I save money by using thin computing?
The hardware required for thin computing is less expensive than a typical PC or laptop and support costs are lower.
Thin computers use less power so they energy overhead is less. Thin computers have a longer life span than a normal PC because they don’t have to be upgraded as often simply because the processing power resides with the server. As a result you’ll save on upgrade costs or the costs of new PCs.
I’ve heard that thin computing is a green option?
Generally speaking, thin computing is said to be ‘greener’ than a traditional network of PCs’. This is because thin computers use less power than a PC or laptop.
However, some argue that because the emphasis is on the server requiring more power, that this negates any power savings overall and consequently the impact is upon the environment is simply transferred.
That said, if thin computing environments need less upgrades or new equipment then this means that the environment is being better served as less equipment needs to be manufactured and as a result emissions will be lowered.
Is it something that I can install myself?
No, it is most unlikely that you will be able to, unless you are extremely technically proficient.
It is important to ensure that a thin computing environment is implemented properly to prevent any issues from occurring, bearing in mind that the single point of failure will be the server that stores all the applications and records.