Thin Clients

Zero Clients

Even thinner than thin clients, the hot new thing is "zero client" computing. But is zero client technology just a passing buzzword or will zero clients soon take the business world by storm?

You're just starting to get arms around the idea of thin client computing and then someone drops the idea of zero client computing in your lap.

You can't get much thinner than a zero client computing environment, but is zero client technology really practical for your business?

The answer is a firm "maybe". Zero client technology has several important business applications. Under the right circumstances, it can streamline your operating system, eliminate administrative tasks, stabilize your computing environment and help save the environment -- and it does it all at a much lower cost per unit than is found in workplaces that employ traditional hardware solutions.

Zero client computing isn't right for every business, but it might be right for yours. Here's what you need to know before you populate your workplace with zero clients.

Zero Client Overview

Zero client computing (a.k.a. ultrathin client computing) is similar to thin client technology. Instead of running applications or accessing information on their own hard drive, users employ stripped-down devices to tap into a central corporate server. But while thin client solutions run an operating system for connection with the server, zero client solutions have no operating system. They only contain the necessary hardware to initialize a conversation with the network, begin network protocol processes, and display server output.

Zero client technology is clearly not appropriate for every business application. It is designed primarily for single environment uses and functions. But for the right application, it can deliver improvements in the areas of speed, management, security and energy use.

Zero Client Considerations

  • Since zero client computers or terminals have no local operating system, they give users instant access to applications and data, and they require little if any technological administration.
  • Zero client solutions are completely invulnerable to viruses or other cyber attacks. The lack of a local operating system shifts total threat exposure back to the server.
  • Zero client terminals are considered to be the most green computing option because they have very low power requirements, often less than three watts.
  • One of the drawbacks of zero client technology is that it can be difficult to perform upgrades on the hardware. Make sure to ask your vendor about their specific upgrade policies.

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