‘Thin’ is the new green

Core benefits of a thin client infrastructure include the ability to reduce TCO and improve manageability and security, but have you ever considered its low carbon credentials?

[easy-tweet tweet=”Thin is the new green, and green is the future says @DavidAngwin of Dell” user=”comparethecloud” hashtags=”thinclient”]

History was made at the 2015 United Nations climate change conference in December as world leaders agreed upon a final deal which included a “legally-binding” agreement to keep global warming below 2˚C. The international community, governments and publics around the world will now be keeping a watchful eye over organisations to ensure they are playing their part in delivery against this commitment.

UK businesses will be expected to devise prudent and long-term policies to rein in their energy consumption

UK businesses will be expected to devise prudent and long-term policies to rein in their energy consumption. Those who don’t risk incurring hefty fines and a public backlash. IT sustainability will of course be a key part of any carbon footprint reduction plan and one approach which is definitely worth considering is deploying thins client within a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). 

Thin clients have been around for decades and today’s improved systems are an increasingly popular approach, particularly within healthcare, education, government, and retail sectors.

Simply put, a thin client is a desktop device connected over the corporate network to a central server. All application processing and storage is done by the server and the thin client is merely a device for input, display and output. It uses cloud technology, and desktop resources are centralised into one or more data centres – either on or off-premise.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Centralising infrastructure to a server running multiple #ThinClients is green and it optimises #hardware resources”]

It is this centralisation which delivers many of the advantages thin clients are known for – namely optimisation of hardware resources, reduced software maintenance, and improved security – but there is a significant ‘green’ element which shouldn’t be overlooked.


When considering the entire lifecycle, cradle-to-grave, thin clients offer numerous environmental benefits. These include energy efficiency; a longer life-span, improved reliability, less packaging, and fewer raw materials:

  • Lower failure rate: Thanks in part to the absence of moving parts such as hard disks or fans, thin clients use as little as 6 watts of energy, which can be a 90 percent reduction compared to existing PCs. This will significantly reduce energy usage and expenditure, especially across large sites.
  • Longer life-span: Thin clients have no hard drive and host no applications. Studies show that thin clients last on average twice as long as conventional desktop PCs, which are typically considered obsolete after three to five years because of advances in computing speeds, storage capacity and functionality.
  • Heat reduction in working environments: Low energy consumption also means low heat emissions which dramatically reduce the need for air-conditioning. Aside from the environmental impact, excessive heat can make working environments uncomfortable for users, and research shows this is likely to impact on productivity and morale.
  • Reduction in packaging and transportation: Thin clients are 60 to 70 percent lighter in weight and smaller in size than PCs which means a reduction in packaging. Furthermore, freight costs, and the environmental impact of transportation, can be reduced as many more devices can fit into each shipping container. 
  • Fewer raw materials and waste: Manufacturing a computing device requires raw materials, such as, metals, water, electricity, and chemicals. Thin clients contain fewer components and in turn fewer mechanical fasteners and adhesives, all of which need to be disposed of at the end of the product life.


Thin clients and a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure is an economical solution for organisations that are looking to significantly reduce their carbon footprints. Modern systems deliver a greener, leaner and more flexible and productive working environment than you might have realised.

Thin clients and a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure is an economical solution for organisations that are looking to significantly reduce their carbon footprints

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