Can thin-client devices we already have be used as clients for the MSS?

Can thin-client devices we already have be used as clients for the MSS?

Short answer - No. Read on for a detailed explanation as it requires a fair understanding of certain technical terms and their ecosystem.

Most of what is commonly referred to as thin-client devices also technically includes zero-client devices.

Thin-client technology and solutions based on thin-client architecture rely on centralised computing and storage which has severe limitations of scale, performance and stability. They were well received in the early 2000s due to the cost benefit they offered, as compared to any other solution prevalent at that time. Their use is stable and reliable for a finite, well defined and limited load of small office environments but not ideal for school labs with experimental needs or even large offices. Scale and reliability can be built into the thin-client architecture but only with high cost and complexity. Applications with slightly demanding graphics requirements also fail to give the desired output on these devices. These are some of the issues that we have experienced as well as commonly heard from users of thin-client technologies.

Some popular, branded solutions of thin-clients in India and the sub-continent are NComputing, Smartstation and Enjay. Most of the devices, at least at the time of this writing, follow a proprietary or locked-down ecosystem. A vendor lock-in ecosystem mandates that the consumers have to rely on the same vendors for their scaling needs.

On the contrary, the My sCool Server has an open approach. It is an open source solution and designed with the principle of zero vendor lock-in.
In the most unlikely scenario of moving out of the MSS ecosystem, the recommended hardware for the MSS clients can be used as stand-alone computers with the simple addition of a hard-disk. Thus, with the MSS, your investment is future proof as well as vendor independent.

The thin-client and zero-client devices do not match the minimum specification requirements, 2 GB RAM, dual core / current generation Celeron CPU, PXE boot capable LAN port, of MSS clients. Thin-clients which use the old Intel Atom processors, may be upgraded to 2 GB RAM memory and tried as MSS clients. It is highly recommended that 1 or 2 clients should be thoroughly tested for satisfactory user experience prior to making the investment in up-gradation of all the other clients one may have.

Thus, most thin-client infrastructure solutions either adhere to proprietary technologies or do not meet the minimum client computer specifications. Hence they cannot be reused in the context of a MSS based infrastructure solution.

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