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Issue of February 2007

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Fat apps on thin clients

IT Infrastructure management is the biggest challenge for CIOs and IT Managers today. Maintaining infrastructure budgets is another major area of concern for almost 80 percent of large business houses in India.

Amod Phadke

Applications are becoming highly complex and in turn the IT infrastructure needs regular updation which is a huge cost for a business. This also requires the network setup to be changed, this again is a cost burden.

Thin clients are becoming popular enabling CIOs and IT Managers to reduce costs by 50 percent while raising productivity by 90 percent.

Benefits of thin clients

The Operating System cannot be tampered with by the end user and nor can he install or modify user level applications. Because of the centralised control of application usage and deployment, the headache of updating individual PCs with the latest software and patches fades away. The time and manpower required is reduced, as once the setup is changed on the server, all thin client users will have access to the same applications.

Thin clients also lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) by enabling fast and easy application deployment and reducing bandwidth usage. The technology provides network security, manageability and remote access to data and complex applications.

Growing demand

Thin client are popular at call centres and BPO outfits. Critical data is secure as all data is sent from the server. Hence, no user can tamper with it or copy off the database.

The users in the call centre increase frequently, and adding a thin client for a user is comparatively easier than adding a PC.

Thin clients are popular in the education sector where you can see thin client labs at IITs, engineering and management colleges. As per the new All India Committee for Technical Education (AICTE) guidelines, thin clients are one of the products to be considered in all engineering colleges for their their internal laboratory set ups.

Embedded Linux with thin clients has become popular in education, as it is easy for a laboratory assistant to manage the network and IT infrastructure from a central location.

Banking on thin clients

Thin clients are also catching on in the banking sector, at the branch and the head office levels. As the major banking applications are centralised server based applications.

The biggest set up of thin clients as far as India is concerned is at booking counters, where these devices have been used for the past six years without any upgrade of hardware or applications.

Thin clients available in the market are based on VIA or AMD platforms. VIA has a major share in thin clients. As far as thin client positioning in concerned, since it is based on server based computing the server has to be designed and specs drawn up depending on the size of the data and the number of concurrent users. The data back up also has to be taken into consideration, as all the data is stored completely on the server.

— By Amod Phadke, General Manager - Sales, Gigabyte Technology (India)

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Indian Express - Business Publications Division

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