Thin client solutions vs. cloud computingBy Frank Ohlhorst | Posted 2008-11-13 Email Print
SIMTone promises cloud computing capabilities that are simpler, cheaper, faster and more secure than other solutions on the market.
Some may wonder how SIMtone differs from thin client solutions such as those available from Wyse. Simply put, in SIMtone’s case, it is all about provisioning and enabling a data center to offer a hosted desktop experience to a browser-enabled PC. That differs greatly from the thin client concept, which is all about delivering a session to a specific piece of thin client hardware, such as an ICA/RDP terminal.
Of course, the line can be somewhat blurred between thin client and cloud computing. For example, SIMtone offers a SNAP device, which looks and feels like a piece of thin client hardware. On the other hand, companies playing in the thin client realm offer sessions via a browser. Take for instance, Wyse with their "zero client" technology – an add on that transforms the thin client experience into a browser-based experience.
Thin client and cloud computing further differ when compared conceptually. Thin clients are designed to replace the traditional PC and have all of the processing take place on a dedicated host PC, usually located on site. Cloud computing relies on the intelligence of the desktop PC to share in the processing details, usually by combining elements of SaaS with a browser experience.
In other words, although a hosted system is responsible for delivering a desktop experience, the host may be handing off much of the processing chores to a generic client PC running a compatible browser. Beyond the conceptual differences, cloud computing solutions tend to offer management and migration utilities not found with thin client systems. That helps to "transform" a traditional environment into the cloud, while thin clients are more focused on building a new architecture to deliver services.
Ultimately the channel will decide which route to follow, but bear in mind that thin clients are associated with the past way of doing things (think mainframe/dumb terminal), while the cloud screams of the future.