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What is ThinLinc?

ThinLinc Linux Remote Desktop Server is a product which enables applications and/or desktops to be deployed, managed, supported and executed from a central server. Users connect remotely using the ThinLinc client, and have their desktops and applications published as if they were being run locally.

Desktop Virtualization solution

Data, desktops and applications reside on a few central servers rather than on hundred or thousands of PCs. PCs can be replaced by simpler, less expensive and most importantly easier to manage devices. This simplifies hardware and software upgrades, desktop and application deployment, technical support, data storage and backup in a large, or even moderately sized organization.

ThinLinc Overview

Technical benefits

Management: Administrators can deploy, manage and support desktops and applications much more easily, because they are all held on a central server "farm" and managed from a single point.

Device independence: Users can access their desktop and applications from any client device.

Remote access: Users can access their desktop from anywhere, both from the internal network or over the Internet.

Performance: ThinLinc performs much better than a web application. Advanced data compression means sending screen updates between the server and client much faster.

Security: ThinLinc keeps all your data on secure servers locked away in the server room, which is far more secure the on the users desk.

Less prone to viruses and security breaches: Since the server is running on Linux it is more secure, and far less likely that a computer will be infected by a virus.

Scalability: New severs and clients can easily bee added as needed.

Increased availability: ThinLinc offers fault-tolerant and load-balancing and high-availability. Servers are inherently designed to be more reliable than average desktops.

ThinLinc - A Remote Linux Desktop Server, built on open-source.

Easily installed on a wide range of Linux distributions, ThinLinc provides users with centralised remote access to both Windows and Linux desktops and applications. Used by a wide range of customers in industrial, educational and government sectors, ThinLinc is secure, cost-effective and free to install for up to 10 users. Built on trusted open-source technologies including TigerVNC and OpenSSH.

Cost reductions

One major benefit of ThinLinc is reduced costs. These savings comes in different forms, according to a report from Fraunhofer Institute:

Reducation of Opex cost

Reducation of Capex cost

Costs for time and efforts

Desktop computers "steal" time from their users in several ways. Firstly, the user may want to use a particular application or software, and install them manually. Secondly, software upgrades often needs to be handled manually by the user. Thirdly, locally stored content, such as documents and files, can be jeopardized if the software or hardware crashes on the desktop computers. Finally, also concerning crashes, the user have to spend time to analyze the problem, call support and wait for the problem to be fixed.

Operating and maintenance costs

The operating costs for desktop computers are where the greatest savings are made. Operating costs include every cost, including energy and decommissioning costs for desktop computers, not including initial hardware and software costs. Maintaining a desktop computer accounts for approximately 40% of the total cost of ownership (TCO) for desktop computers.

ThinLinc, focuses on minimizing the operating costs for desktop environments.

Hardware and software costs

Keeping a workforce updated with new desktop computers is expensive. Even if the price and performance rates have improved in accordance to Moore's Law, new desktop computers and workstations are still costly to replace.

Software is expensive. The software license in itself is only part of the the total cost, handling licenses also comes at a price. There is also a risk that software can be unlicensed or even pirated, if the desktop environment is not managed. One proof of that handling software license is expensive are all the solutions for license compliance (see one example here).

ThinLinc can run on most devices, regardless of their age or capabilities (with the possible exception of graphical performance), thus negating the costs for constantly upgrading the hardware. Moreover, ThinLinc may also prolong old desktop computers' life cycles by turning them into dedicated thin clients by using products such as IGEL Universal Desktop Converter or Wyse PC Extender.

Since ThinLinc is a Linux-based system it gives access to the Linux ecosystem, giving access to a vast range of software with Open-source software (OSS) licenses. By using OSS instead of proprietary (closed) software, additional costs can be reduced for software and license compliance. However, non-OSS software running on Windows, Linux or Solaris can be still be used in ThinLinc environments.

In addition, since ThinLinc also provides integration for Microsoft and Novell, an unique mixed platform can be offered.

Enhanced security

Sensitive data can be lost or, even worse, end up in the wrong hands. In addition, critical data can be lost due to hardware crashes. Recovery from crashed hard disks is possible, but can be quite expensive, and all data may not be recovered.

Remote desktop computing can increase data security, since the data is not stored locally. Strong encryption and secure authentication makes sensitive data viewable over the Internet, while still complying with laws and regulations.

ThinLinc offers secure remote access and minimizes security risks, through OpenSSH using and client authentication of the server to protect against man-in-the-middle attacks. ThinLinc supports smart cards, public key authentication and one-time-passwords. ThinLinc also offers single-sign-on functionality, with full security, by integration with user credentials from Novell eDirectory, Microsoft Active Directory and RADIUS. The high security of ThinLinc enables employees to telecommute, without risking sensitive information.

Green IT

One aspect of operating and maintenance cost is the concept of Green IT, the effort to minimize the energy footprint of IT. ThinLinc, and other similar solutions, offer opportunities to comply with demands to create a more sustainable computing environment, by reducing power consumption on desktop computers, efficient use of hardware through application and system virtualization, and reducing the work force carbon footprint through the ability to telecommute.