Why isn't the business PC dead yet?

It's not everyday you look forward to a funeral, but I can't wait for the death of the business desktop PC.

It's not everyday you look forward to a funeral, but I can't wait for the death of the business desktop.

It's not that I dislike the loyal business desktop, it's just that it's getting a little past its prime. After all, it takes a lot of time, energy and money to maintain, manage, patch and keep up to date. Worst of all, in its old age it's starting to get a little fat.

The future, it seems, is a thin client. Analyst Gartner puts the growth of thin clients at 45 per cent year on year from 2008 through to 2012, while it describes the growth of traditional 'fat' desktops as "effectively flat" in big business.

This isn't surprising, as when we put the two technologies under the microscope, it is hard to see anything but an impending funeral for our old friend, the 'fat' desktop, in big business.

Let's take a look:

Security & reliability
By hosting applications on a central server, critical data is better protected, both from hardware failure and physical theft or damage.

Further, security software can be deployed and updated centrally, meaning no more endless patching of endpoints. Even in the event of hardware failure at the server level, thin clients desktops have the ability to live migrate to new server hardware with minimum disruption to the end user.

Longer upgrade cycles
Desktops typically need to be updated every 2 to 3 years in a standard organisation. Thin clients, on the other hand, can have twice the lifecycle or more, as the processing upgrades all occur in the server room.

Mobile thin clients have also become popular in rough work environments, where machine with no moving parts are much more durable and reliable.

Lower support costs
Centralised management lowers support costs, as does the deployment of more reliable hardware.

Leaner is greener
Thin clients use substantially less energy than fat clients, and produce less waste because they don't need to be upgraded as often. Thin clients we have reviewed use a peak power usage of just 17W, while a desktop might use upwards of 50W.

With a list list like that, who wouldn't prefer thin clients? Are we there yet?

Think fat clients will last in big business? Can't wait to get rid your fat client fleet? Let us know what you think.