A thin client – the opposite of a fat client – is a term in network administration that refers to a client that’s part of a client/server network. More specifically, it’s a client that occupies very little memory disk storage space and leaves most of the processing that needs to happen to the server. This means that the client is fast and effective, and not bogged down by unnecessary functions that slow things down. It also has less of an impact on the user’s system, as difficult tasks are handled by the server.
Technipages Explains Thin Client
Fat clients require significantly more training for employees that need to use them – they are full-fledged and featured application programs that run on the user’s computer rather than on the server itself. In order to access external data, a user would need to learn not just one, but potentially multiple fat clients, each of which will have its own menu structure, functions, commands, and unique aspects.
A good example of a thin client is a web browser – while results and websites will display in the browser, the actual ‘work’ is done by the server. Web applications are hosted on the server and executed there. They do not significantly impact the machine they are displayed on. A fat client doesn’t execute all of the code either – some parts are still handled by the server, it’s merely the proportion of one versus the other that’s different. Thin clients often also don’t require any installation and can be executed directly. They have low system-requirements and are generally used more as a type of interface than anything else. Terminal services are another example of this – a database program can execute the calculations, while a thin client on the user’s side displays the results of queries that have been asked.
Common Uses of Thin Client
- A thin client is a lightweight user-side application that doesn’t need to process too many functions.
- Although a thin client is fast and low-impact on the machine it is executed on, it can’t do much in the way of actively executing code or performing functions.
- Thin clients find many uses, but most commonly, they can be found in the shape of terminal services.
Common Misuses of Thin Client
- A thin client is a type of database management software.