Thin Client Computing

Thin-client computing offers the promise of easier-to-maintain computational services with reduced total cost of ownership. The recent and growing popularity of thin-client systems makes it important to develop techniques for analyzing and comparing their performance, to assess the general feasibility of the thin-client computing model, and to determine the factors that govern the performance of these architectures.

The typical thin-client platform consists of a client application that executes on a user’s local desktop machine and a server application that executes on a remote system. The end user’s machine can be a hardware device designed specifically to run the client application or simply a low-end personal computer. The remote server machine typically runs a standard server operating system, and the client and server communicate across a network connection between the desktop and server. The client sends input data across the network to the server, and the server returns display updates.

The goal of the thin-client model is to centralize computing resources, with all the attendant benefits of easier maintenance and cheaper upgrades, while maintaining the same quality of service for the end user that could be provided by a dedicated workstation. In a thin-client computing environment, end users move from full-featured computers to thin clients, lightweight machines primarily used for display and input and which require less maintenance and fewer upgrades. Organizations then provide computing services to their end users’ thin clients from high-powered servers over a network connection. Server resources can be shared across many users, resulting in more effective utilization of computing hardware.


  • Enhanced security
  • Easier manageability
  • High reliability
  • Increased energy efficiency
  • Lower total cost of ownership