Buyer's Handbook:

A guide to enterprise thin client systems

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Implementing thin client systems in your enterprise

While a capable server and robust network are the backbone of a successful thin client deployment, decision-makers must select the right end-user hardware to fully realize thin client benefits. Looking beyond the age-old form factor decision of laptop or desktop, vendors offer specific thin client systems to serve many business needs and IT realities.

There are two potential benefits for companies that decide to move forward with thin clients. One is the total cost compared to procuring and managing a fleet of traditional PCs. The other is related to security and overall management. For example, a law firm may purchase thin clients for their security capabilities, while schools may utilize thin clients for budgeting purposes. Keeping up with a central server is a simpler proposition than managing hundreds or thousands of individual laptops.

Thin client systems come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from small compute sticks and single-board computers, like Raspberry Pi, to bulky and rugged tablets built to function in punishing industrial and military environments. The relatively inexpensive Chromebook is available from multiple vendors and puts a new spin on thin clients. It has also proven popular in school settings.

In this buyer's guide, we explore thin client hardware, starting with the cost and security benefits, IT challenges, and its various uses in numerous industries. This buyer's guide also covers specifications and functions for the different forms of thin clients, as well as the importance of network and server connections. We also highlight thin clients uses, benefits and drawbacks. Finally, we identify the major thin client vendors, as well as specialty players.

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