No I’m not making light of a serious eating disorder.
I wanted to explore just how skinny the “thin client” might evolve into. Referenced in my Virtual Desktop blog I discussed the emergence of the “thin client” in the Enterprise space.
The term “thin client” actually came from a Oracle Marketing VP back in the early 90′s to differentiate their server side software from Microsoft’s desktop products. Ironically Mr. Ellison, who is very entertaining with his rants on the misuse of buzzwords like “cloud computing”, was the Oracle (sorry could not resists) that spread the word of the value and possibilities of the “thin client”.
Now what was considered to be thin today is definitely not what we considered to be thin back when Larry was giving this pitch. The popular netbook computer, which now has grown to almost 20% of the PC market in the last few years would have been considered a smoking machine compared to the typical PC configuration. I remember considering deploying a thin diskless (that’s right no disk space) client. A newer term for this is an ultra-thin client or a zero client, which only connects to network to interact with the application be served from the network.
According to a Forrester report Tablet PCs will outsell netbook PCs and combined they will have 50% of the PC market by 2015. With the popularity and speed of growth that the iPad has had on this market Forrester admits their projections are more than likely lower than what the market will actually look like in 2015 especially if other Tablet devices take off.
So what do these statistics have to do with answering the question of how thin a client might be? Well my history lesson presented in this article hopefully revealed it is not a technical issue that prevents us going back to what was available 20 years ago. Rather what is going to drive this is what the masses are going to gravitate to.
I was asked recently when will we be freed of the growing dependency of the browser application. Agustin, who asked the question really did hit the nail on the head. As long as services are tied to fat browser operations then the diet we can put the clients on are going to be limited.