Two basic kinds of computers used in business today go by the terms "thin client" and "fat client." A fat client is a typical computer. Though it may be attached to a network either wirelessly or with infrastructure such as Ethernet cables, a fat client can also function as a standalone workstation because it possesses all the resources it needs to do its tasks. These resources include hard drives, memory chips, and computer power in the form of microprocessors.
A thin client, in contrast, cannot function as a standalone computer. Instead, it is a virtual desktop consisting mainly of a monitor, input devices, and connections to a networked server. A thin client uses the memory and computing power on the server to do its work. A thin client does not run applications. Instead, it sends computing requests to the central server and returns results to the user's screen. All data is stored centrally when employees use thin clients to do their work.
Advantages of Thin Clients
Many businesses prefer to use thin clients because they reduce costs in several ways. Because thin clients do not have their own disk drives and other moving components, they are less expensive to purchase than standalone computers. With the help of Citrix or other virtualization software, they can interact with the same network servers the company already uses, adding to the cost savings. In additions, thin clients experience fewer maintenance issues over their lifetime.
Setting up and maintaining IT solutions including thin clients is best done through a managed programs approach as it requires specific areas of expertise.