Thin Clients, Zero Clients, Chromebook and Cloud Clients
Welcome to Thinclient Computing. The conventional thin client has historically been something along the lines of a Wyse terminal. In the beginning there was little if any local storage. That has changed over the years. The pandemic pushed thinclient computing to new levels. Security of the primary network being the primary consideration. Hard to police remote logins from who knows what.
Thin client definition has expanded so that not only the usual Dell and HP “Thin Client” but now we have media players running cloud-based CMS for menu boards and digital signage. We have Raspberry PI (clocking in at just over $100). Last week the LA School District put out an RFP for 128,000 Chromebooks. Are those thin clients? We think so.
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About Thin Client
Since 1999, Thinclient.org has been reporting the thin client computing market as well as the ChromeBook, Zero Client, Android clients, Pi Raspberry Clients and Thick Client market. Generally the cloud computing market since it started with companies such as Citrix back in the late 80s.
A thin client is a lightweight[vague] computer that has been optimized for establishing a remote connection with a server-based computing environment. The server does most of the work, which can include launching software programs, performing calculations, and storing data. This contrasts with a fat client or a conventional personal computer; the former is also intended for working in a client–server model but has significant local processing power, while the latter aims to perform its function mostly locally.
Thin client hardware generally supports a keyboard, mouse, monitor, jacks for sound peripherals, and open ports for USB devices (e.g., printer, flash drive, webcam). Some thin clients include legacy serial or parallel ports to support older devices such as receipt printers, scales or time clocks. Thin client software typically consists of a graphical user interface (GUI), cloud access agents (e.g., RDP, ICA, PCoIP), a local web browser, terminal emulators (in some cases), and a basic set of local utilities.
New hardware interfaces includes socket-based enabled devices eliminating the need for a physical USB connection. Bluetooth wireless connectivity is also a big factor for devices.