Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) has brought renewed interest to alternative endpoints, especially thin clients. After all, if the desktop is running remotely as a virtual machine, why should you use an expensive, power-hungry PC to access it?
However, thin clients are far from perfect. Thin clients may be less expensive, as well as easier to and service than a PC, but those advantages are only evident when comparing a new thin client purchase against a new PC purchase. In fact, VDI offers the most bang for the buck when used with legacy PCs, eliminating the need to buy new client hardware.
Even if a client hardware refresh is on your agenda, you'll want to weigh the advantages of thin clients carefully. Most thin clients are based on technologies that were developed for terminal services solutions. They have CPUs and operating systems, and they require software installation, configuration, and maintenance. Like PCs, they must be provisioned and managed. In other words, though thin clients offer advantages over PCs, they carry some of the same baggage.