It’s in to be thin

The computer under your desk is a big, clunky thing with a lot of moving parts. And moving parts mean that, sooner or later, some of those parts are going to break. That’s why, realistically, the traditional desktop has a three- to five-year lifespan.

 But the increasingly widespread adoption of virtualization and data centers is leading a lot of IT professionals to ask: “If I’m running little or nothing locally anymore, and all my processing is being done centrally, why do I need beefy, high-performance boxes with lots of moving parts prone to breaking sitting under everyone’s desk?”

 Well, the reality is, you probably don’t. And that’s why thin clients have begun getting a lot of attention. Frankly, it’s about time. Because though thin clients are one of the most ignored or misunderstood hardware options out there, they’re also one of the most cost-effective and secure.

Essentially, a thin client is a slimmed down, stripped down version of a desktop. But whereas traditional desktops need a big hard drive with lots of moving parts, thin clients don’t need a big hard drive – remember, most of the data is stored centrally. Thin clients just need a smaller, solid state or flash drive with no moving parts to boot up the machine. And because the smaller drive doesn’t have any moving parts, thin devices can last 5 to 8 years – nearly twice as long as a desktop.

 It gets better. Because thin clients are a stripped down version of a traditional PC, they’re also less expensive – about half the cost.

 So thin clients are cheaper and last longer. But wait, there’s more! A traditional PC might pull 125W of power but a thin device might only pull 10W. Now imagine 1000 PCs pulling 125W versus 1,000 thin clients using just 10W each. How much power and money do you think that would save your enterprise?

 But don’t take my word for it. An IDC white paper on thin computing found that organizations that migrated to a thin client model experienced major cost and resource savings, including:

  • Reduced hardware and software costs by 40%
  • Reduced IT operations costs by 29%
  • Increased IT staff productivity by 78%
  • Reduced worker downtime by 88%

 Cheaper. Longer-lasting. Less energy. Increased productivity. Can you say big-time ROI?

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About Jonathan White

Jonathan is a solutions architect within the Enterprise Architect Group at Softchoice. His main focus is to help customers define and design virtualization solutions.