A thin client (sometimes referred as dumb terminals) is a basic computer optimised for remote access to a server-based environment which is responsible for the majority of the work, such as storing applications, data and resources.
Thin clients are utilised as part of a larger computing infrastructure, which enables many clients to collaborate and interact on operations within a server. A thin client connects to a server-based environment which hosts the majority of applications, memory and data the user requires, enabling clients and users to work more remotely.
A thin client is effective in replacing bulky, expensive PC workstations and keeping all the data and resources securely in a centralised location, such as a server or a data centre, rather than a local hard drive. In comparison to fat clients, they use less energy, are simpler to maintain and offer a higher degree of security.
Thin clients work by connecting remotely to a server, often hosted in a data centre, using a wireless network adaptor or a physical Ethernet adaptor to connect to the internet, to a server-based computing environment where the majority of applications, data and memory are stored.
Thin clients usually contain only enough processing power and components to connect to and use a server's resources. They are incapable of running programmes or storing data, but instead thin clients serve as an interface, conveying keystrokes and mouse movements from the thin client to the servers, enabling them to connect to applications, data and resources stored on the server. The servers, which perform the majority of the work, host the applications and data and transmit them across the network to the thin client, which displays the output on the user's monitor.
A thin client is hardware which excludes hard drives, memory and moving components and is capable of running any operating system, including Windows, Linux, Citrix or VMware, depending on the client's demands or requirements.
Thin client software refers to the operating system that runs on a thin client device, which may be based on Windows, Citrix or Linux.
Unlike hardware thin clients, which are smaller PC devices, software thin clients (terminal client applications) typically operate as an application on an existing device. Despite the fact that both thin client software and hardware function identically.
A thick client is a PC device or computing workstation, that includes more hardware components compared to a thin client, which does all its own data processing. The term "thick" alludes to the fact that they are physically larger and thus use much more energy. They are much more costly and harder to maintain than thin clients and they are also significantly less secure.
Compared to fat clients, thin clients have numerous benefits including:
More efficient manageability
Read more about the pros and cons of using a thin client compared to using a thick client.
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