Thin Client Proposal for Education Sector

Introduction

This document describes Thinvent’s thin client solution for the education sector. It introduces the company, its products and achievements. It then provides a proposed solution for a typical college or secondary school.

About Thinvent

Thinvent Technologies Pvt. Ltd., is a technology oriented company promoted in 2007 by Saurabh Jain and S B Sarin. The promoters are both B. Tech. and M. Tech. in Electronics and Communication Systems from IIT Madras. Thinvent has a single minded focus on creating rugged hardware and open source software, that solves the unique IT needs of Indian organisations. Our technology solutions are indigenously created.

Thinvent has been providing IT solutions to large customers such as the Indian Railways, since its inception. Currently more than 6,000 thin clients in the Indian Railways use our technology. From the reservation system and unreserved ticketing, to crew management and locomotive management, we have made our presence felt in all fields of Railways operation. Our products are also used in banking and other mission critical applications.

Thinvent has now introduced a complete IT package for educational institutions. This comprises of thin clients, servers, networking, and remote management software.

About Thin Clients

Thin clients are computers that are optimised to work in a centralised computing environment. A typical PC consists of a processor, memory, storage, display, keyboard, etc. It is a self contained unit. Though it is connected to a LAN, it does not utilise any of the resources of the computer network. It only uses the LAN to connect to the Internet.

Thin clients, on the other hand, are designed to tap into the power of modern networks. All the computational and storage capacity of a thin client is derived from the network. A thin client contains only minimum amount of processing capacity.

When you install thin clients, you must also purchase a terminal server. A terminal server is a simple off-the-shelf server, installed with a Terminal edition of Windows or Linux. The thin clients, when switched on, connect to the server and provide a login screen. The users enter the username and password, and log into the server. Now, any work they do is performed on the server, not on the thin client.

Thin Clients in Your Environment

Educational institutions need to provide the latest computing facilities to their students. IT knowledge is very important to the employability of a student, hence they should be familiar with the best software and solutions in the industry. This means that institutions must upgrade their PCs every two to three years, in keeping with the times.

Thin clients, on the other hand, do not need an upgrade. All their computational power comes from the server. Hence, whenever the computer system feels sluggish, we only need to upgrade the server. A server is typically twice the cost of a PC, and serves about forty thin clients easily. Hence, rather than spending the cost of forty PC every three years, we are now spending on only the cost of two PCs.

Advantages of Thin Clients

Listed below are some of the advantages of thin clients:

  1. Lower initial investment compared to PCs.
  2. Far more rugged compared to PCs – there are no moving parts in a thin client.
  3. Resilient to dust – there are no cooling fans in a thin client. Hence it does not accumulate dust.
  4. Lower power consumption. Typical 25W power consumption of a thin client, including display and processing unit. Compare to almost 200W for a PC. This helps you save Rs. 1,500 per year per computer, just in power bills.
  5. Lower maintenance. Since a thin client is rugged by design, with no moving parts and a lower operating temperature, their failure rate is much lower.
  6. Smaller in size. The size of a thin client is smaller than a notebook. In the case of our Uno series, the thin client is built inside a monitor. Hence is saves precious room space.
  7. Less heat. A thin client generates only 25W of heat when running, compared to 200W from a PC. This means you save on air-conditioning costs.
  8. Less UPS and generator requirement – with an 85% reduction in power, you also gain from reduced UPS and generator capital expenditure (cap-ex).
  9. Longer life. As discussed before, while a PC needs replacement every three years, thin clients last longer than five years. The typical life of a thin client is eight years.

Our Thin Client Products

Here is a list of thin client products that we are manufacturing and marketed:

1. Micro 2: India’s first branded RISC based thin client, the M2 features ultra low power consumption, industry leading 350ml size, and easy VESA mounting. Our embedded firmware enables connectivity to both Windows and Linux servers.

2. Micro 5: The M5 is the smallest (500ml), lightest (500gm) and least power consuming (15W) Atom based thin client in the world. It’s 1.6 GHz processor lets it function as a cloud computing client, web kiosk, and even an embedded server.

3. Uno 19V: Thinvent is proud to have developed India’s first all-in-one thin client. It is as sleek as an LCD monitor, yet packs all the features you need from a modern thin client. This integrated product saves space, power and maintenance, and gives you freedom from wires.

4. Uno 16M: Following on the U19V’s success, we are readying the U16M for its launch. This cost optimised product features a smaller screen, but provides a faster processor and increased storage. It is based on our new modular PCB, that lets us rapidly customise the product as per end customer needs.

Proposed Solution

Keeping in mind the growing needs of modern educational institutions, we suggest that they go in for our Uno 19V thin client. This model not only conserves space and power, it also provides the advantage of a high quality LED backlit LCD screen.

These Uno thin clients will be configured to boot from a Linux based boot server. This embedded boot server provides various network features such as DHCP, DNS, TFTP, NFS, Syslog, PXE and NIS/LDAP. The thin clients do not have any local storage. When switched on, they connect to the boot server and pick up all the boot information and OS from it. Once booted, the thin client displays a screen where the user can choose from the various servers available in the campus.

Once the user selects a Windows or Linux server, the login screen of that server is presented. The user can login by providing their username and password, and begin working on the server. All the user files and programs are available on the server. The user can connect from any thin client on the campus to their server, and access his or her files and programs.

Conclusion

We hope that through this document, we have been able to convey the advantages of thin clients, and explain the proposed solution. Kindly contact us for any further clarification.