Thin Clients Are The Real Thing In IT

I’ve long touted thin clients as the right way to do IT. For most purposes“Wal-Mart had a huge IT department, with each branch or region the responsibility of a team of tech managers. Over 1,000 people maintained the company’s office computers used for inventory counts, correspondence, etc. Now they have an IT maintenance department of just two people, who manage the systems for all 9,000 Wal-Mart branches in the US from one place.” they work exactly like legacy PCs but they have fewer moving parts, use less power and cost a lot less to maintain. Here is some evidence of that from the supplier of thin clients to Wal-mart: 1000 IT guys were replaced by just two when the switch to thin clients was made.

Of course, I don’t want to see anyone out of work but people in IT should be doing the right thing, making IT that’s as efficient as possible at the lowest cost. Running a fleet of PCs running M$’s OS is not that. PC Chip uses GNU/Linux on most of its thin clients. Fewer re-re-reboots, BSODs, malware, etc. all lower the cost of IT as well as having smaller power supplies, boxes, fewer fans and fewer hard drives. Less is better when it comes to performance/dollar. The folks who used to service PCs could well be put to work running thin client terminal servers in the cloud. That’s a growing industry as is anything connected with */Linux.

See 'Thin' PC systems help cut corporate fat, says CEO.

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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19 Responses to Thin Clients Are The Real Thing In IT

  1. oiaohm says:

    drloser I will add something highly stupid a 50-100 dollar thin client standard Linux thin client has more processor power in it than a 300 dollar Zero Client only devices.

    You get some items named ZeroClients like but they are not Zero Clients. Yes thin clients that can emulate Zero Clients by marketing people are getting Zero Clients stuck on their name.

    I guess you don’t know what the key signature of a ZeroClient. No means to run any local applications at all. OS in rom in most cases. So no upgrading either.

    Thin client define covers devices running a local OS with some means to run some applications locally.

    HP Zero Client – Teradici Tera2321 good one to look up for bad pricing. Yes the only difference is the HP case compare to those that are using the stock case. Those go for up to 600 dollars. Yes DrLoser some people have more money than sense. I really like to hear what you think of the 600 dollar version when you called the 300 dollar version dismal. Yes the 600 dollar version still requires a wall plug and does not have the means to be bolted down.

    Proper good thin clients have their place. I have a very hard time justify full zero clients.

  2. oiaohm says:
    This “TERA2321 zero client” in stock case with another company brand on it. Notice its absolutely identical to a Zed PC.

    Teradici in fact makes the stock case and the motherboards. Then everyone using the stock case are just like shop brands.

    I should have said 300-400 dollar device. Zero Clients are expensive bits of work.

    True thin clients start 50 dollars and go up don’t lock you into particular solutions.

    Jack pc lxj is in the more expensive class around the 300-400 dollar mark for a thin client.

    jack pc lxj and equal do have some native application support. Like jack pc lxj has mplayerhq video play back so allowing video playback to be done by client so getting around one of the classic issues of thin clients of not being able to play video well.

    Jack pc lxj and equal advantages over both the solutions you mentioned.
    1 comes from being poe powered so from the poe switch you can reset the sod by telling the poe switch to turn power off on a port then back on.

    2 Simple battery backup due to being POE you get to use 1 UPS to support them all.(the UPS on the switch). Tablets and chromebooks still need a power point of some form to charge. In fact something like Jack pc lxj will not charge phones or tablets they do not have high power USB output.

    3 Security how do you nick it quickly when its bolted into the wall. You can bolt a standard vesa mount screen to wall and Jack pc lxj goes into wall. 300 dollar thin clients you expect to be able to bolt down with case included bolt holes. Sub 200 dollar thin clients you expect to be sitting on the desk free.

    I will give you a chromebook or a tablet is in most cases superior to a zero client for the same money. But a chromebook or tablet is not always superior to a true thin client for the same money. Security of the device is the big difference. Chromebook and tablets are a lot harder to secure.

    Dr Loser forget the Zed PC its a zero client not a thin client its the person finding pictures screwed up.

  3. DrLoser says:

    I should point out that on a brief search I have found several supposed “thin client” boxen (not all Gnu/Linux, but those are preponderant) that seem to do the same job as this piece of speculative shit for a mere $100 or so.

    I feel that it is time to take the next step on from the “beginning of a beautiful friendship” with Dougman. I’ve always thought of him as the Captain Renault type, except with a no-name baseball cap on the wrong way round, instead of a proper kepi.

    This is your chance, Dougie! Sell the world a FOSS thin client for only 1/3 the price of the competition!

    No more snake oil! You won’t have to scrub yourself every night with a porcupine to get the imaginary slime off your body!

    Time to do Good, Dougie! Time to be Loved!

  4. DrLoser says:

    “TERA2140 zero client” newer model.
    Zen PC was early brand. The “TERA2321 zero client” is able to be produced under what ever brand name you want. Yes its a 300 dollar device.

    Really, oioahm? Really?

    Not like you to fail to supply a link, so I had to go to Bing for this technological cynosure. Guess what? Your post is about 2/3 down the first page … This does not speak well of the product in question. Maybe you could volunteer a review?

    In any case, $300 is dismal for something that has no keyboard, no mouse, no monitor, no hard disk and no native apps.

    Seriously: if you want (for some strange reason) to promote the use of Thin Clients, which definitionally enslave their users by taking them back to the stone age of IBM mainframes, then why not pick a cheap, viable, Gnu/Linux thin client option from a reputable manufacturer that might actually be able to sell into a corporation?

    As usual, nobody here is listening, and I’m not even sure they’re thinking quite straight, but I’m going to repeat my two superior alternatives:

    1) A Chromebook
    2) A large, say 10″, say Samsung, tablet.

    Where did all the love go?

  5. dougman says:

    Wolfie, off his medication again it would appear.

    Very uninteresting as, Wolfie seems to think that Walmart outsourced their entire IT team with two blokes based in Israel…..LOL

    Whats that link you provided??

    Here is a better one, perhaps you should apply:

    Be warned though, San Francisco has the worst Female to Male ratio in the known universe.


  6. wolfgang says:

    …contact office…

    dougman sure that walmart run on Linux with two dweebsters handing world from Israeli site. dougman living in tree.

    dougman out of work by choice, he say, but he should maybe take job at walmart to see what company really do. good news is that he not have to move all the way to Israel and learn yiddish. bad news is he have to move to Bentonville in Arkansas. worse news is that he have to go to school first and get degree.

  7. oiaohm says:
    I would be more likely to buy this coolish item from chippc. Note chippc call a Jack px lxj a Thin client PC. The zen pc is a zero client. Different beast. Never trust people putting pictures on articles they screw up all the time.

    To be correct I would be very unlikely to buy “TERA2321 zero client” clients. The problem with them is their protocol you are fairly much bound to vmware servers and solutions. Pcoip is the only protocol they support that is VDI targeted for vmware solutions. RDS (Windows Multiseat/Useful(linux)) solutions for Windows are cheaper than VDI .

    Cost effective VDI is normally switch your core to Linux. Why VDA licensing from Microsoft is insane. 100 dollars per non software assured device you connect as well as 100 dollar for every contractor per year. VDA suxs and you can get into trouble quickly.

    Yes shared virtualbox installs on a Linux session on server sounds insane but its cheaper and does not have the strange limit that VDA applies of only 4 virtual machines at a time per seat. Why Microsoft include this limit to stop us using user stacking. creates user stacking against windows remote desktop solutions.

    VDI is coming but it is normally more secure environments not running windows. The big advantage of VDI is means to give clean state to user logining in. Good quality 3d support is coming to VDI. Last issue is Microsoft licensing.

    Really serous-ally Microsoft please lose the idea of per seat licensing. Its a pure pain. Contractors come in they can connect too many devices, user can connect their phones against too many devices. VDA is basically a license set up to burn your ass.

    Yes DrLoser Chromebooks/tablets/…. connecting to a Ulteo servers safer. Disadvantage is lack of great 3d support yet. The wayland changes on Linux are part about improving remote 3d support. Most office software does not need great 3d support.

  8. dougman wrote, “someone that will tell you 10-ways till Saturday on how something cannot be done”.

    There are some like that in every organization. Rather than moving forward, they want to wallow in the same rut forever. I have always tried to be a problem solver, working hard to overcome any obstacle. Often it seemed someone was on the other side of those obstacles piling them higher… I was in one school where the management had decreed that the old Lose-’98 machines be discarded and a company was hired to go around replacing those perfectly good machines with other machines running XP. This was in a school that had one lab and one PC on each teacher’s desk. I immediately installed GNU/Linux and put a cluster of the old machines in any classroom where teachers/students wanted them. The whole highschool stopped using the lab because the old machines worked better as thin clients of my beast than new thick clients running XP in the lab. Then the lower grades got more access to the lab and the highschool students had real IT: databases, encyclopaedia, thousands of e-books, tons of desktop software and their own servers. In that case, I turned the obstructor’s pile into an asset and the bastard never did seem to visit the classrooms anyway…

  9. dougman says:

    Loser, is a perfect example of someone that will tell you 10-ways till Saturday on how something cannot be done. These sort of people are lazy and barely contribute anything to society.

  10. oiaohm says:

    DrLoser “TERA2321 zero client” This is a zed pc.
    “TERA2140 zero client” newer model.
    Zen PC was early brand. The “TERA2321 zero client” is able to be produced under what ever brand name you want. Yes its a 300 dollar device.

  11. DrLoser says:

    I hate to repeat myself, but has anybody actually tried to source a ZED-PC?

    And don’t just tell us that there are “newer models.”

    Tell us what they cost.

    And, while you’re at it, explain why a Chromebook or a large tablet wouldn’t do a job equally as well or better?

    (Remember: both those run on Gnu/Linux. I’m not “trolling” an alternative platform here.)

    Small failed company puffery, nothing more than that.

  12. DrLoser wrote, “puffery by a start-up Israeli company”.

    Hmmm. They’ve been around for ages

  13. dougman wrote, “Migrating from a desktop computer to a thin client is just removing the existing computer and replacing it with the thin client.”

    It’s even easier than that for many legacy PCs. Just set the BIOS to boot PXE and a server supplies the minimal file-system and directs the thin client to a terminal server. I did that with many PCs in schools.

    The thing about minimum of 10 users is not right either. I think even a home with two users could benefit. ie. One only needs to buy one new PC every decade instead of two. The newest machine becomes the terminal server and a seat for one user. The older machine runs as a thin client. That’s a recipe for cutting hardware costs in two. GNU/Linux distros like Debian GNU/Linux allow ordinary folks to configure a terminal server in a few minutes, probably less time than installing the newest version of that other OS and certainly less time than it takes to fight malware.

  14. dougman says:

    Your trolling is *WEAK*.

    IDIOT! Why do existing business need a monitor, keyboard and mouse, if they already have those at each workstation? Migrating from a desktop computer to a thin client is just removing the existing computer and replacing it with the thin client.

    Regarding the client device, you can use almost anything to connect with namely Wyse, HP, NComputing and NX come to mind.

    Dave in Key Largo, Florida uses HP t5725, t5745 and t610 devices.

    “I’ve spoken about thin clients many times, but wanted to mention again how incredibly cost effective and stable they are to run for enterprise use. A small City of 10 employees would not reap benefits, but as you get into the hundreds of users, the savings are clear. We have about 560 of them deployed around various City buildings. $400 purchase price with a 10 year duty cycle yields $40 per year (hardware only) desktop costs. When one of them dies, the users have nothing saved locally and our support group just walks down and replaces the hardware. The user is back up again in just a few minutes with no loss of productivity.”

    Regarding Chromebooks, I used mine for a good year for remote work and it was awesome! I was asked so many times whats that, how much does it cost, etc….


  15. DrLoser says:

    Has anybody actually tried to source a ZED-PC?
    I’ve looked around, and it’s out of stock everywhere. Naturally. Hot cakes sell well.

    OTOH, failed product lines tend to be taken off the shelf rather quickly. This one seems to have disappeared before the end of 2013.

    The price? Always difficult to judge for an obsolete item, but it appears to have been $270 or so. Without a monitor. Or a keyboard. Or a mouse.

    Now, you can choose to believe some marketing puffery by a start-up Israeli company (and Israeli companies are just as good at this as Northern California companies). Or you can sit back and think.

    Hmmm, for $270, what else springs to mind? I know, a Chromebook — which would be a far better idea for this proposed use case. What, no love for Chromebooks? Zero-maintenance, thin-client-with-backup-applications, Gnu/Linux Chromebooks, comes with a screen and a keyboard and what-all, at the same price or less?

    Or, if your staff need to be mobile, a large form tablet. What, no love for Samsung Gnu/Android? At roughly 2/3 the price?

    Fickle, fickle indeed is the loyalty of the thin-client supporter.

  16. dougman says:

    Wolfie to stupid to rationalize the force-multiplier that Linux offers, his paradigm is Windows only.

    So of course he finds it “unbeliveabuble!”.

    My suggestion is to the call one of the offices and do some investigation, ask to contact one of their prior customers.

  17. wolfgang says:

    …very interesting….

    not very easy to believe, though. the story here is that Wal-Mart replaced their IT departments worldwide at 9000 locations with two people hunkered down in Israel with some off-brand linux pc running the corporation. unbeliveabuble!

    such a thing should have some corroboration widely noted. absence of same would indicate total baloney sausage.

  18. ram says:

    Considering one can build a Linux mini-super computer (one very powerful server) for under $10k and probably closer to $5k, it makes sense to use Linux based cheap thin-clients to connect to it.

  19. dougman says:

    1000 M$ trained idiots down the tube, Walmart should have started with Linux thin clients to begin with! FedEx Ground is another business that has dumped MicroSh1t.

    “Many companies no longer use applications such as Microsoft Outlook and Office, and instead use Google’s online mail and office applications for their daily business needs. By doing so, they save on licensing and storage. A Google license is a lot cheaper than a Microsoft license”

    Correct, bean counters love saving money and deploying M$ is not conducive to saving money.

    “Most of Chip PC’s models are based on Linux operating systems. ”

    Another win for Linux!!

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