A zero client is an excellent little piece of kit that allows you to access your workstation remotely, so you can house it somewhere more convenient. The client uses streaming pixel protocols - you simply run an application on your client with no need to download or install anything.
A zero client stands around 15cm high by 3cm wide, and weighs about 500g. It’s a solid-state device with DVI, DisplayPort/HDMI, and USB ports. It can support single, dual, or quad monitor setups and has optional VESA mounting.
So what are the benefits of using a zero client over a desktop?
You will need to add a remote workstation card into your machine. Then all a zero client needs to work is a network, a power source, and the workstation to connect to. Just turn it on, configure a few simple settings and it’s ready to use. Also, having this really simple set up means it boots up super quickly – usually under 20 seconds.
Zero clients have no operating systems, making them extremely secure with users having no ability to download data locally.
A zero client has no storage capacity – data is stored securely on the remote infrastructure and managed centrally, so if there are any issues a user won’t have to physically check their workstation themselves. And the fact that an organisation’s intellectual property isn’t stored on every device is excellent for maintaining integrity in regard to MPAA/TPN guidelines. Also, this allows a user to use any machine to access their workstation.
A zero client typically runs with one or two connection types – usually VMware or Citrix. Configurations and updates are done over the network, so all the zero clients connected to it receive the same updates, keeping the machines consistent with each other.
The device’s diminutive stature is a real plus as it doesn’t use a lot of power and produces less noise than a desktop – a great benefit for users working from home. Its space-saving size is infinitely preferable to a bulky workstation under your desk.
In brief, zero clients are easy to set up and use, quiet, low power, space-saving, flexible, and really secure. For projects that don’t require high-resolution 4K, or high FPS environments, then a zero client is ideal. If you do need more processing power, consider a thin client.