Thin Client Vs Thick Client

When we talk about Client-Server Architecture, the first task that hits us is ? ?To determine who is the one that handles the bulk of the workload?. You might be wondering ? ?What is Client ? What is the server?and What is this client-server architecture??


The client part of a client-server architecture. Typically, a client is an application that runs on a personal computer or workstation and relies on a server to perform some operations.


A computer or device on a network that manages network resources. Servers are often dedicated, meaning that they perform no other tasks besides their server tasks.

Client/Server Architecture:

A network architecture in which each computer or process on the network is either a client or a server.

There are typically three types of architectures ? Smart Client, Thin Client and Thick Client.

There a-lot of similarities between the thin client architecture and thick client architecture. In both cases, the client is the application that runs on PC which sends request and receives responses from the server. The server in turn acts as the middle-ware between the client and the database.

While they share similarities, there are many differences between thick and thin clients. Thick and thin are the terms used to refer to the hardware (e.g., how a PC communicates with the server), but the terms are also used to describe applications. This article deals specifically with hardware issues.

Thin Clients

A thin client is designed to be especially small so that the bulk of the data processing occurs on the server. Although the term thin client often refers to software, it is increasingly used for the computers, such as network computers and Net PCs, that are designed to serve as the clients for client/server architectures. A thin client is a network computer without a hard disk drive. They act as a simple terminal to the server and require constant communication with the server as well.

Thin clients provide a desktop experience in environments where the end user has a well-defined and regular number of tasks for which the system is used. Thin clients can be found in medical offices, airline ticketing, schools, governments, manufacturing plants and even call centers. Along with being easy to install, thin clients also offer a lower total cost of ownership over thick clients.

Thick Clients

In contrast, a thick client (fat client) is one that will perform the bulk of the processing in client/server applications. With thick clients, there is no need for continuous server communications as it is mainly communicating archival storage information to the server. As in the case of a thin client, the term is often used to refer to software, but again is also used to describe the networked computer itself. If your applications require multimedia components or that are bandwidth intensive, you?ll also want to consider going with thick clients. One of the biggest advantages of thick clients rests in the nature of some operating systems and software being unable to run on thin clients. Thick clients can handle these as it has its own resources.

That being said, I have a-lot more to know about thin and thick client architecture specially in the application side. Looking forward to do another blog about the application side.


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