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Thinner

Am I writing as Richard Bachman today? (That was Stephen King's nom de plume for a freaky little novel of the same name.) No, but even writing under my own name, I'll point out that the trend of slimming down hardware resources, which we've seen in blade servers, is cropping up again on the desktop -- a development that would lead the market back to server-based computing if successful.
In the case of thin clients, it's a trend that's rearing its head again, and I would guess that it'll have as much appeal as it did the first time around -- very little. Thin clients were an outgrowth of the belief that all computing was likely to be Web-based within a generation, and in some instances, that may be true. Thin clients also enable a more secure environment. But there's still way too much enterprise computing overall that depends on desktop power -- power that people have gotten used to and won't lightly give up -- and on applications that aren't designed so well for a networked or Web environment.

PC blades, a cousin of the thin client, could be a different story in the new era of virtualization. The idea is to have desktop blades share the resources of a virtualized server, which could really improve resource utilization for specifically defined tasks and thus cut overall desktop costs quite a bit. Even in such an implementation, though, is it more of an administrative headache in the long run to tend these mini-networks? Maybe, maybe not. But I suspect that, as with thin clients, this may be a solution that's looking for a problem. If your experience is different, though, let us know.