Definition

thin server

In the computer industry, a thin server is a PC that contains just enough hardware and software to support a particular function that users can share in a network, such as access to files on a storage device, access to CD-ROM drives, printing, or Internet access. According to the first companies who have used the term, a thin server can be quickly added to a network and costs less than providing the same service through a more general-purpose computer server. Usually, a thin server contains an abbreviated version of one or more operating systems, such as Windows 95, Macintosh, or UNIX, and necessary network protocols, such as TCP/IP and NetBEUI. Typically, it also includes Hypertext Transfer Protocol so that it can be configured, administered, and used through a Web browser user interface. The hardware processor sometimes uses reduced instruction set computer processing.

Some thin servers are designed and marketed for use on local area networks in businesses. A newer development is a thin server intended for home use. Data General makes a thin server for the home or small office that performs the single function of providing access to the Internet. Other desktop and notebook computers and possibly other electronic appliances can be hooked up as clients and share the thin server's connection or connections to the Internet.

The thin server and the thin client concepts arise from the same idea: why pay for the function in a computer that you don't need? Whereas the thin client is a constrained personal computer that gets applications and data the user needs from a shared and usually full-function server computer, the thin server serves the client requests of other computers and their users by doing one thing well without needing to provide any other service. A thin server is similar to a thin client in that both may be thought of as single application, special-purpose computers, almost always with a very limited storage capability and with "trimmed-down" operating systems.

This was last updated in April 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Email Alerts

Register now to receive SearchStorage.com-related news, tips and more, delivered to your inbox.
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

More News and Tutorials

  • Coming in the August 2011 issue of Storage magazine

    A sneak peek at Storage magazine's August 2011 issue. Learn more about the state of backup deduplication, storage virtualization and new trends in data storage.

  • Coming in the July 2011 issue of Storage magazine

    A sneak peek at Storage magazine's July 2011 issue. Learn more about backing up virtual servers, performance tips and how to turn your data center storage into a storage cloud.

  • Storage magazine May 2011 PDF

    Download Storage magazine's all-digital issue at no cost. This month: The benefits, functions, future outlook and buying considerations for automated tiered storage technologies.

Do you have something to add to this definition? Let us know.

Send your comments to techterms@whatis.com

There are Comments. Add yours.

 
TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to: