Thin Clients Essay Research Paper In an

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Thin Clients Essay, Research Paper In an ideal world, it would be easy to deploy and manage the robust client/server applications that tap today s abundant PC power. But if you support a distributed computing environment built around the Wintel computing architecture, you know better. To a large extent, the culprit is a Microsoft OS deign that s not quite at home in the enterprise. While hundreds of add-on products promise to reduce cost of ownership though centralized desktop management, few deliver benefits that justify their costs. Most managers simply resign to the fact that supporting large numbers of PC workstations will be incredibly expensive and inefficient, and chalk it up to a cost doing business. So which is better for your organization, PC or thin-client?

Thin-client computing now offers real hope for progress. The state of affairs described above is like a fat pitch don the middle of home plate, just begging for thin-client computing proponents to smack it out of the park. When it comes to total cost of ownership for desktop computing services, thin-client computing is a bottom-line winner. Yes users will have to five up some control of their desktops. Any yes, administrators will need to learn a new approach to application deployment. But the payback is so clear; thin clients arrival is almost inevitable. What about $500 PCs, you ask? Why buy a brain-dead thin-client device when PC prices are in free fall? Here s another chance for thin-client proponents to swing for the fences. First, while $500 PCs exit, most large

organizations spend significantly more than $1500 per new PC, or about twice the cost of a well-equipped thin-client device. Their money flows to high-end systems in the hope these computers will have a longer useful life. This strategy makes a lot of sense, because upgrading a PC is a time-consuming, costly exercise that almost always includes follow-up support calls. More important, savvy organizations know that less than 20 percent of the true life-cycle cost of a PC is reflected in its initial cost. There s a mountain of evidence to support this assertion, as well as the corollary that thin clients save money. For example, a survey of 25 sites using thin-client technologies conducted earlier this year by Datapro concluded that on average, deploying thin-client devices cut

support costs by more than 80 percent. If a thin-client s purchase price were twice as high as a PC s, its cost of ownership would still be considerably less expensive. But there is a catch of two. Even if you take into consideration the economic advantages of thin clients, it s fair to question whether the approach represents technological progress. Many argue that it s a return to the old model of centralized host processing. You d better be prepared to take into account that argument and make the case that the previous way of doing business has benefits today. Thin-client deployments are most successful in organizations where centralized IT management can be embraces as more effective, not just more efficient. Even then, the systems have to deliver the applications users need

with performance and functionality rivaling that of today s PCs. These goals are not so easy to accomplish. While the momentum certainly is with thin clients, there are significant obstacles to successful implementation. Perhaps the greatest challenge lies in thin-client computing s lack of a clear identity. A PC is a PC, no matter who manufacturers it, and 95 percent of PCs use the Windows OS. It s clearly a commodity market around which a vast array of software applications has been built. Thin-client devices do not draw on such a common identity. There are Windows terminals, Java computers, network computers and even a new breed of ultra-portable PDA devices. Instead of being characterized by a specific architecture and PS, thin clients represent more of a new approach to