Smart Clients vs. Thin Clients vs. Zero Clients

The Virtual Desktop Infrastructure: Should I Drive a Thin, Smart or Zero Client?

Thin client technology is gaining traction daily as more organizations worldwide jump on the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) highway. However, nearly everyone has the same question before taking their VDI journey – Is a Thin Client, Smart Client or Zero Client best for my organization?

Whileeach can deliver tremendous cost, productivity and environmental efficiencies to an organization, there are differences that need to be taken into consideration.

Smart clients, which can run .NET Framework applications and traditional client server applications, offer the greatest flexibility in terms of connectivity, security, performance, reliability and customization. These end-user clients, which have their own native operating system, such as Windows Embedded or Linux, can have multiple VDI connections to more easily fit into an existing IT infrastructure and allow for more comprehensive remote management and control. Thinlabs Smart Clients can drive feature rich internet browsers like Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome browsers with all popular plug-ins and are ideal Internet connected devices that allow a user’s desktop to interact with server-based or web applications. Thinlabs Smart Clients have a write protected file system on a Solid State Drive, allowing administrators to configure the devices or install applications using the Aurora Device Manager, while protecting files from changes by users.

With no operating system, zero clients are less versatile and customizable than standard thin clients for the end user. Zero clients also require administrators to commit to one of two industry protocols, limiting their flexibility and capabilities. Furthermore, if there are upgrades to the protocols, the older generation zero clients may not get the full benefits of the protocol upgrades.

Ultimately, to build a productive, efficient and cost-effective VDI environment, you need to closely identify the application and job needs of your end users when deciding on deploying thin clients, smart clients or zero clients.

Thinlabs and our team members have years of experience designing, developing and implementing these solutions in a broad range of organizations and industries. Please contact us for assistance on selecting the most appropriate thin client or smart client solution for your organization.

For more information on how Thinlabs can help implement a well-managed smart client network that delivers the best possible return-on-investment for your organization, contact us.