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The Business Benefits of Thin Client Technology

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When looking at the entire thin client technology as a business entity, it is important to first look at how the total cost of ownership will actually affect your business in general.  Total cost of ownership, or TCO, is defined as what it costs to actually procure all the necessary hardware and software in place that will eventually be used to maintain a management information system.

Although the actual cost has been debated as running higher or lower per client, it has been calculated that with some businesses the TCO per business client ranges from anywhere between $8,000 and $15,000 per year.  No matter what figure is presented; this is staggering when trying to implement new business technology when the technology is ever changing.  There is some breathing room for technology management departments that comes in the form of thin client technology.

Thin client technology is highly suspect in some technology partners as it is not a level playing field for everyone; it is dependent on what the business infrastructure is for that specific company.  Thin client technology was introduced as a way to reduce the overall TCO through a centralized management system for hardware, software and support costs.  The major cost components which should be considered with respect to any business entity with respect to the introduction of thin client technology include:


  • Hardware and software
  • System, storage and network management
  • General operations and maintenance of said hardware and software
  • Helpdesk support systems
  • Employee, both individual and as a group, support systems
  • Other hidden costs (this could include things like hardware and software contracts with third parties)

The debate is not over whether or not thin client technologies reduce TCO, as this is proven through such things as reduced hardware costs, but, rather how much can be saved using thin client technologies.  The metrics of thin client technologies show that a desktop device has managed to break the $500 per desktop barrier and still provide high end computing experiences.  Thin clients also require “fat servers” and, in many circumstances, a faster network infrastructure as many of the traditional tasks often are offloaded to new centralized devices that are now used for both processing and/or storage.  These hard costs can also be calculated to a definitive price point.

The real, or hard, TCO savings come from the integration of new types of thin-clients such as NCs, Window Terminals or NetPCs and your networking environment.  This is the true savings.  Further savings can be found when you put those thin client technologies into an infrastructure that allows you to run any type of application on any type of client, as well as being able to run this on any type of networking infrastructure without loss of speed or stability on such location configurations as LAN, WAN, Internet, VPN or dial-up.

Thin-client technologies are meant to not only reduce TCO for any business entity, but rather the way we interpret our computing needs by:

  • Reducing hardware and software costs
  • Reducing maintenance and support costs
  • Reducing LAN/WAN/VPN bandwidth requirements
  • Reducing down-time of users both internal and external to the company
  • Improving application availability
  • Improving scalability so that you can upgrade seamlessly
  • Improving overall performance of the network and desktop clients
  • Enhancing security with constant upgrades to routers and firewall software


- Adelaide Business Computer Services