Why Now

By John G. Spooner  |  Posted 2006-05-08 Print this article Print

Thin is in again. After years of false starts, so-called thin clients are gaining traction as IT departments look to cut costs and boost security. Dell, Intel and AMD are eyeing the space.


Why Now?

It's natural to ask "Why now," given that thin clients have been around since at least the late 1980s, when Citrix began championing remote access to applications.

Part of the answer is that new legislation—such as the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, for example—is forcing senior technology managers to think about how to lock down the sensitive data located on PCs that can be stolen or hacked. For its part, HIPAA requires medical facilities and related companies to, at a minimum, ensure that they limit unnecessary or inappropriate disclosure of protected health information.

Meanwhile, new technologies, including hardware and virtualization software, all make it easier to host desktop environments on a server and transmit them to workers' desktops. Blade desktops, for example, work on the back end like a server but host users' desktop environments.

These technologies offer greater benefits and fewer drawbacks than previous thin-client generations when it comes to delivering computing resources. However, cost is often the main reason that companies choose to make the leap to thin clients, industry watchers say.

Read the full story on eWEEK.com: Thin Clients II: The Comeback

John G. Spooner John G. Spooner, a senior writer for eWeek, chronicles the PC industry, in addition to covering semiconductors and, on occasion, automotive technology. Prior to joining eWeek in 2005, Mr. Spooner spent more than four years as a staff writer for CNET News.com, where he covered computer hardware. He has also worked as a staff writer for ZDNET News.

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