Security? Cost? Go With Thin Clients

In large organizations paranoid about security and having huge IT bills, thin clients are the way to go.“it quickly became clear that the DoD network, with more than 15,000 different sub-networks, was simply too large and had too many distributed resources to be defended effectively.
The NSA faced similar problems, he added, noting that during much of his time leading the NSA he had three or four separate computers in his office, each of which was needed to access a separate network.
The NSA completed its transition to a cloud/thin client model near the end of his time with the agency, and Alexander said it not only improved security, but also resulted in a savings of 500 million dollars in addition to improved service.”

The users in the US government also report improved service! Many folks still believe you need a big powerful box close at hand to have performance. That may be true for some purposes, but all kinds of people working on huge data or single-page documents get great performance using thin clients. They get the performance of the server (could be a cluster) which can exceed the power of any PC by many orders of magnitude. The “network lag” folks yap about is of the order of milliseconds, on a LAN. Do you care about that when the job that might take minutes on a PC happens in the blink of an eye? Even on my simple setups in schools and labs, users were amazed to see their biggest applications pop open a window on their screen in less than 2s (lots of stuff cached in RAM on the server) when on the same hardware used as a thick client that took 10-15s (lots of stuff sought all over a single slow hard drive). One guy even fell off his chair. I’ve warned people ever since to be prepared for better performance.

Bean-counters love thin clients (like this one). Every business has them… In UK, “83% of wealth management organisations currently use some form of thin or zero client desktops, with more than half (58%) saying speed of deployment is the biggest benefit. This came ahead of flexibility (48%), better cost structure (48%) and ease of use and management (48%), which are all cited as key benefits.” A lot of those still use M$’s OS as the back end but that’s much easier to change once M$’s OS is off the client PCs. Those same folks likely don’t use M$’s OS on their smartphone or tablet. The job of installing GNU/Linux on a few servers is reduced by orders of magnitude over installing it on many PCs. The number of seats for which M$ collects a bill become conspicuous when management can tell exactly what every seat is doing…

Nope. Wintel is in trouble. Bill Gates’ dream of a licence on every hard drive on every desktop is on its last legs. M$ now has to try to tax the server to death and GNU/Linux reigns there. GNU/Linux has a much larger share of thin clients than of legacy PCs.

See Former NSA director advocates for thin client cloud security model.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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One Response to Security? Cost? Go With Thin Clients

  1. dougman says:

    Actually M$ wanted internet driving licenses and the authority to ban any/all websites, but they could not get both to stick.

    http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/it-security/the-microsoft-internet-driving-license/

    http://www.securityfocus.com/archive/1/431027/30/0/threaded

    “This is yet another example of the sheer breathtaking arrogance of Microsoft’s belief that they have the right to control your computer and misdirect the normal flow of operations if they believe doing so to be in their own financial advantage.”

    Both ideas were advanced from the notion of computer “insecurity”, which was done by design with their sh1t software.

    Now, all they can do is charge from a simple lease agreement to a yearly subscription to increase its revenue, so as to make it seem like it is growing, when in fact it is not.

    “Microsoft stock trades 36% below where it peaked in January 2000 when Bill Gates stepped down as Microsoft’s CEO. On February 4, Microsoft announced that Satya Nadella would take over the CEO slot from Steve Ballmer while Bill Gates would spend a third of his time “mentoring” Nadella.

    Is this team a reason to buy Microsoft stock? No. There is too much competition in the biggest tech markets and Microsoft lacks the innovation chops to create a new one.”

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/petercohan/2014/02/05/why-nadellagates-cant-boost-microsofts-stock-price/

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