Thin client anyone?...

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Boy Apple, those Xserves sure are sweet....now if the corporates only had a think client to go with them...hmmm



http://edition.cnn.com/2004/TECH/biztech/07/28/thinner.computing.ap/index.html

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,276member
    Bad link
  • Reply 3 of 19
    mr. memr. me Posts: 3,219member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by macfly

    sorry...



    http://edition.cnn.com/2004/TECH/biz....ap/index.html




    How many times do these people have to float this lead balloon before they get the message that it just won't fly?
  • Reply 4 of 19
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,276member
    Yeah....I used to like the concept of Thin Clients but with the high integration of components now and the forward progress of SoC(Systems on Chip). The TC paradigm is a hard sell. You still have to have some sort of local storage, RAM, Video etc which drive up the cost. TC aren't going to fly now with $349 standard PCs easily available from White Box providers.
  • Reply 5 of 19
    composercomposer Posts: 212member
    I think it flies very well. But it shouldn't be tied to specific hardware - just yet. The problem with thin clients is two-fold. They appear to the user to be a toy-computer, and to corporate IT departments as a proprietary solution, locking them into a hardware and software paradigm.



    The most successful "thin-client" installations I've seen we're thin client installations at all. They were regular computers loaded with Linix and ONLY those programs needed to run the business in question. Don't need email? you don't get it, don't need a web browser? Poof, that's gone too. Or rather, it was never there in the first place. Solitaire? Forget it. In addition, by placing users' home directories on the server, one machine is as good as another in most cases.



    I can't tell you how many places I've been to where everybody has a Windows box and all they do is access one or two programs necessary to do thier job.



    The less you see, the more effective it is.
  • Reply 6 of 19
    programmerprogrammer Posts: 3,409member
    A much more interesting place for a thin client is in the middle of your A/V equipment stack with an IR remote to control it, and decent A/V inputs and outputs.
  • Reply 7 of 19
    costiquecostique Posts: 1,084member
    I seriously doubt that thin clients as a sort of crippled/limited-functionality/stripped-of-features/highly-specialized computers make sense these days. You can have a full-featured computer in a portable form factor, aka laptop, for reasonable money. If you don't need a real computer you can have a PDA for less money. And those are rather general-purpose devices. Why introduce more specialized hardware is beyond me.



    As Programmer said, digital hub is different in that respect. If you don't need a PC to be in its center, a PDA is not enough in terms of connectivity/throughput/power, etc. A low-cost box with a lot of various ports, which doesn't need to run on batteries, possibly has a hard drive and a DSP unit, looks more appropriate, IMO.
  • Reply 8 of 19
    mmmpiemmmpie Posts: 628member
    The reason thin clients havent flown is simple, they've always cost as much as a fat client.



    Indeed, the article linked to isnt even about thin clients. Its about a restricted software environment, running on windows no less, designed to make managing networks easier. It also adds centralised software administration. Thats all great, but its going to be running on typical PCs.



    Indeed, another poster mentioned PDAs, and they are very close to the thin client ideal ( hardware wise ), you'd only need to add a full size monitor, and a keyboard/mouse to get a desktop thin client. But PDAs cost more than a fat client before any of that.



    I do believe in having dedicated machines. But that isnt really a thin client either. Thin clients run their apps on servers, not locally.
  • Reply 9 of 19
    addisonaddison Posts: 1,185member
    Thin clients have more advantages than just cost. The main difference is that you have one machine to patch and update with software. It is also possible to buy Winterminals designed to make life easy. I have seen them used in both schools and industry and they do work well in specific situations. Schools and call centres are a good example.
  • Reply 10 of 19
    Having worked for a company that bought into the Thin Client argument big time I can tell you first hand how it doesnt work. In theory, this sounds like a good idea, but in practice, not so well. That old adage about all your eggs in one basket comes to mind.



    All of our terminals ( using an HP Thin Client) ran off of a Citrix server located about 600 miles away, connected to us by 2 T-1 lines. We also had a local server that was the print server,etc. The system was horribly unreliable and buggy. Virtually everyday, the entire office came to a standstill while we waited for someone in Chicago to reboot( or kick) the Citrix server. When it went down, so did we. With a dumb terminal, we had no local files or apps. So, we would just twiddle our thumbs and relish the productivity gains we experienced from the Thin Client solution. When the T1 lines failed, down we went. You couldnt even work on a Word document or Excel spreadsheet since, well..it was located in Chicago! Had we had individual PC's we would have been able to continue working.



    Having worked in the IT-Telecom industry, I always enjoyed teasing the IT staff at work about it. They loved it because it made THEIR jobs easier since everything was centrally located near them. It also resulted in an increase in their staff, which I pointed out was contrary to the alleged Thin Client advantages. They didnt understand that we shouldnt make IT decisions soley to make the IT geek's job easier, but to ensure a reliable system to make its employees productive. I suggested we all get iMacs and be happy. One tech laughed and said they'd all be out of a job if they did that.



    After I left the company, they replaced the Thin Client solution with a standard desktop PC/Windows environment. The IT VP had been fired as were a number of the IT management.
  • Reply 11 of 19
    costiquecostique Posts: 1,084member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Markovich

    I suggested we all get iMacs and be happy. One tech laughed and said they'd all be out of a job if they did that.



    After I left the company, they replaced the Thin Client solution with a standard desktop PC/Windows environment. The IT VP had been fired as were a number of the IT management.




    Thank you, Markovich for the real-life story. That's exactly what I always thought it would look like.\
  • Reply 12 of 19
    programmerprogrammer Posts: 3,409member
    Frankly it is pretty stupid to make everyone dependent on a single less-than-robust remote server. That is taking the thin client concept much too far. A far better solution would be to use some big iron (i.e. from IBM) that measures up time in years, put one in each office and network those together across the country but ensure that people work on their local server.
  • Reply 13 of 19
    pbg4 dudepbg4 dude Posts: 1,611member
    I remember in the early 90's I worked in an office running terminals connected to a Wang minicomputer. Whenever it went down, the entire office was down, just like Markovich's example.



    I spoke with one of the helpdesk techs yesterday. He said if hardware/software vendors ever got a clue and worked together more, he'd be out of a job (I didn't bother mentioning Apple to him again, I got the "lalalala I'm not listening look" last time). He loves Windows/MS for this reason specifically.
  • Reply 14 of 19
    ""I spoke with one of the helpdesk techs yesterday. He said if hardware/software vendors ever got a clue and worked together more, he'd be out of a job (I didn't bother mentioning Apple to him again, I got the "lalalala I'm not listening look" last time). He loves Windows/MS for this reason specifically""





    I think this is a prevalant attitude within most IT departments. I have worked for a major online service and more recently a massive telecom company that filed for a rather large bankruptcy, and who's CEO is indicted,yada yada yada......There is a built in need for survival within any department, and the IT dept is no different. They dont want an easier solution that requires less staff,etc. They dont want their budget to be cut. It's a natural resistance to change and looking at new ways of doing things. Most are hardcore Windoze geeks whose careers are soley based upon their knowledge of MS software,etc. Any other OS is perceived as a threat to their jobs. I knew a few IT guys who felt Unix was a passing fad!!As a group, I have always found the MS geeks to be boring and narrow minded.On the other hand, the small Mac community within my last company was a colorful collection of a wide range of personalities and imaginations.A fun group to hang out with and always a good source of humor and positive thinking. The differences were simply striking!



    Markovich
  • Reply 15 of 19
    jaslu81jaslu81 Posts: 39member
    Most of the concerns voiced about thin client have been corporate environments. What about education? If thin client would be a cheaper way to configure a school computer lab, wouldn't that make sense? Seems like Apple has been developing resource sharing approaches for a few years now, maybe it's time to introduce a lower-cost eMac as a thin client application. If it's a way to introduce cheap computers for secondary home use (i.e., kid's bedrooms), why not? Cheap computers will increase market share, leading to more sales of high-end machines with bigger profit margins.
  • Reply 16 of 19
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    Schools want to be able to buy one machine and have many students work off of it. A solid educational tool that allows for a server hub to power a classroom would sell.
  • Reply 17 of 19
    mmmpiemmmpie Posts: 628member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by jaslu81

    Most of the concerns voiced about thin client have been corporate environments. What about education? If thin client would be a cheaper way to configure a school computer lab, wouldn't that make sense? Seems like Apple has been developing resource sharing approaches for a few years now, maybe it's time to introduce a lower-cost eMac as a thin client application. If it's a way to introduce cheap computers for secondary home use (i.e., kid's bedrooms), why not? Cheap computers will increase market share, leading to more sales of high-end machines with bigger profit margins.



    Any networked environment can benefit from the TCO reduction that should be realised with central management.



    However, you turn around and express exactly the concept that is the core fault with thin clients.



    Quote:

    time to introduce a lower-cost eMac as a thin client application. If it's a way to introduce cheap computers for secondary home use (i.e., kid's bedrooms), why not?



    Thin clients arent any cheaper than fat clients, simply because fat clients can be made so cheaply ( shipping a free OS is the biggest saving ). There is certainly room for Apple to make a cheap computer, but not as a thin client.



    Now, its questionable whether or not any central admin systems actually deliver TCO savings, but ARD sounds like a good system.
  • Reply 18 of 19
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    A think client in a classroom could easily be a monitor, keyboard and mouse. That's a hell of a lot cheaper than a thin OR fat client, especially when you already have them lying around.



    HP is already selling a solution like this in South Africa, but they're trying to keep the news quiet so the desire doesn't spread to the US. It's crap, but Apple could jump in and steal the market with their superior OS.
  • Reply 19 of 19
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    Oracle has been big on this idea for years, but Apple wasn't too interested in it 3 years ago.

    It could be done now that Apple is strong with current technology, Schools, and science. Apple was net-booting iMac's way back with the bondi blue I think.

    If all your storage, and the majority of the hardware could be held in an XServe, and you just needed your video card, and a new slim design options in a display base it could probably do well in schools, but It seems like Apple would need more production lines to accommodate a line not intended specifically for the consumer.

    Although in the best case scenario upgrading your hardware would be updating your servers which schools could be really interested in rather than updating all our monitors, and what not.
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