Thin client is a device or a computer program that relies on the server to outsource and perform the data processing. It can either be a specific thin client terminal or a regular PC with installed thin client software, both used to send input to the server and receive screen output in return. The thin client does not process any data, but rather it presents only the user interface (UI). This is much different from traditional “fat clients”, which were designed to take on a role of processing data on their own, without any outside support. The typical thin-client platform consists of a client application that is installed on a user’s local desktop computer or mobile device and a server application that executes on a remote system. One of the convenient features of thin client model is that the end user’s machine can be a hardware device, simply a low-end personal computer or tablet/smartphone. The remote server machine runs a standard server operating system eliminating any need for a complicated system design. The client and the server communicate across a network connection, which allows a user to connect to a client at any location with a network/internet connection. The client sends input data across the network to the server, and the server returns display updates.
To skip over the technical mumbo-jumbo that we are so fascinated by and that may very well put you to sleep; the main goal of the thin client model is to centralize computing resources. The objective of this service is to sustain the benefits of easier maintenance and cheaper upgrades, while maintaining the same high quality of service for the end users that could be traditionally provided by a fully dedicated workstation. The thin client model is designed to move end users from full-featured computers to thin clients, much less complicated machines primarily used for display and input, which also conveniently require much less maintenance and fewer upgrades. Computing services are then provided to the end users’ thin clients from high-powered servers over a network connection. The beauty of this design is that it allows server resources to be shared across many users, resulting in a much more effective utilization of computing hardware.
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