Thin Client A Thin Client is a PC which has no hard drive. It depends on another machine for operation. The advantages of a thin client are added security, because obviously the machine it depends on, actually controls the life blood of the thin client. This way, whatever security is set up on the host machine, is what rules the thin client’s access. A thin client is really just a fancy way to allow a serving machine to host a client.
Mainframe and other terminal type systems work on this principal. The client’s screen and access to software and file structures is secured at the host. In a business setting, the costs of LAN maintenance is reduced because there is little ability of the thin client user to affect any settings which are critical to the business or workflow operation. In a perfect world all users are good users, but as reality shows, mistakes are made everyday by curious people using computers. If you are a DP professional, you know this translates into a lot of technical support and help desk calls and operations. The thin client eliminates this.
The thin client is also known as a Network PC; however, there is much to-do in the computer industry over just what actually constitutes a Network PC, so we use the term thin-client. NCs, NetPCs, and Java Network Terminals are based on the concept of thin client computing. Though their focus is at the OS level, the thin client-computing concept has been gaining more importance at the application level as well. Fat client, traditional client/server, applications are easier to design but have longer download times and require more client memory than thin clients. Thin Client or Server-based computing is a model in which applications are deployed, managed, supported and executed 100% on a server. It uses a multi-user operating system and a method for distributing the presentation of an application’s interface to a client device.
The server-based computing model employs three critical components. The first is a multi-user operating system that enables multiple concurrent users to log on and run applications in separate, protected sessions on a single server. The second is a highly efficient computing technology that separates the application’s logic from its user interface, so only keystrokes, mouse clicks and screen updates travel the network. As a result, application performance is bandwidth-independent. The third key component, centralized application and client management, enables large computing environments to overcome the critical application deployment challenges of management, access, performance and security. This efficiency enables the latest, most powerful 32-bit applications to be accessed with exceptional performance from existing PCs, Windows-based terminals, network computers.
Client/Server computing is a widely used multi – user model. The model consists of fat or fully functional PC’s linked to a powerful server. The model provides the power of the PC with the shared resources of a server. Client/Server is based on a distributed environment, which means that The client/server computer can monitor the available processing time on all computers [across the organization] and distribute tasks among them in order to squeeze the maximum amount of processing from the available resources. The server is used for the storage of data, which is delivered to the clients, where it is processed and manipulated to obtain the desired results. While both of the computing models have a valid role in today’s enterprises, it’s important to note the differences between them.
In the traditional client/server architecture, processing is centered around local execution using fat, powerful hardware components. But with thin client computing approach, users are able to access business-critical applications – including the latest 32-bit Windows-based and Java applications – without requiring them to be downloaded to the client. This approach also provides considerable total cost of application ownership savings since these applications are centrally managed and can be accessed by users without having to rewrite them. Basically, the thin client computing approach delivers all the benefits of both host computing and personal computing. Host Computing Benefits Single-point management Physically and technically secure Predictable ownership costs Mission-critical reliability Bandwidth-independent performance Universal application access Personal Computing Benefits Thousands of off-the-shelf applications Low-cost and fast-cycle application development Standards based Graphical, rich data and easy to use Wide choice of device types and suppliers * Source, www.citrix.com/products/ A thin-client hardware device is connected to server-based system software.
Because the applications it accesses are installed on the server, a terminal is not the equivalent of a PC with its operating system and array of local applications. Nor is it interchangeable with a network computer or NetPC, because these devices download and run applications off the network. The key criterion that distinguishes these thin-client terminals from other thin-client devices, such as NCs or NetPCs, is that there is no downloading of the operating system or applications, and there is no local processing of applications at the client. All execution of the application logic occurs on the server. The thinness of a Windows-based terminal and the many benefits of server-based computing make these thin clients ideal for certain types of workers and market segments. For example, task-based employees who primarily work with line-of-business applications, such as order entry, would be ideal candidates for a Windows-based terminal.
Retail organizations operating point-of-sale terminals, and branch locations of banks and stores, are markets that are also rapidly adopting these thin clients. Industry applications of thin-client/server technology: o Customer call centers o Inventory and order information o Point-of-Sale automation o Information kiosks o Human resource management o Accounting and financial reporting Client/Server systems are oriented towards more independent and high end users of an organization, who require flexibility and more resources. For example, designers, programmers, engineers, financial analysts, data base administrators would be the candidates that require powerful terminals. The summary of the major characteristics of thin client and client/server is: Computing Architecture Thin – Client Computing Traditional Client/Server Processing Model 100% Server Execution Local Execution Hardware Footprint Thin or Fat Fat Application Architecture Monolithic, Component or 2- or 3-Tier Client/Server 2- or 3-Tier Client/Server Native Device Variable or Fixed Function (PC, NPC, NC, WBT) Variable Function (PC) Native Application Type Windows or Java Windows In Thin Client computing — where server performance is the key to desktop performance — choice of hardware can have a dramatic effect on price/performance. As all the processing is done on the server, if the server crashes the clients/terminals will not function at all. Whereas, in the traditional client/server setup, even if the server crashes, the clients/PC’s still retain some functionality. Because storage is centralised and data resources are managed at the server end, the IBM Network Station has distinct advantages over traditional PCs in a Movex environment.
Software updates need be loaded only once at a central point rather than on every individual client device. In addition, the Network Station’s absence of a local disk drive means that it is impossible for users to introduce viruses and extraneous software which could affect the efficient running of a Movex implementation. Computers and Internet.