The hosted desktop is fast becoming a firm favourite of professional service businesses. Not least because it offers a wealth of benefits such as reduced costs, greater security, better backup procedures and increased productivity. What’s more, you simply pay for what you need on a per user basis, and scale up, or down, on demand.

But, if your firm has made the decision to move to a virtual desktop setup, you’ll first have to consider what hardware your hosted desktops will run on.

Of course, from your employee’s point of view, whatever option you choose, their desktop will work the same as a standard computer. They simply open their device and access everything they need to do their jobs. The difference is, in the background, rather than having all the necessary settings, data, and operating systems stored on the computer’s hard drive, these are stored on servers at a secure data centre and delivered via the internet.

So, what options are available to you when it comes to hardware?

Thick clients

A thick (or fat) client is basically a conventional PC. They have their own hard drives, software applications, etc. And, despite what you might have heard, some organisations do choose thick clients for desktop virtualisation. This is often the case where an organisation has legacy computers that it would be costly to update. So, rather than investing in new hardware, these thick clients are demoted to a “dumb terminal”, which connects to a server. This approach usually requires no hardware modifications, and your PCs can continue to use their current Operating System (OS).

However, it’s worth noting that if you do decide to relegate traditional PCs to work as virtual desktops, you are unlikely to benefit from some key benefits such as reduced power consumption and best-in-class security. Likewise, not all PCs are suitable for desktop virtualisation, and you may need to invest in additional software.

Thin clients

A thin client (or lean client), is a lightweight computer that relies on a server and network connection to carry out its computational role. So the device itself doesn’t do much processing and tends to require less maintenance than thick clients. Thin clients are cheap (although you will pay more for those with advanced functionality), easy to install, and to maintain. They are also ideal for cloud/desktop virtualisation environments. Thin clients also make centralised management easy; making them an excellent choice for security-conscious firms. You can also recycle old PCs to use as thin clients, but, depending on their age, they could provide poor graphics and could be liable to malfunction.

Zero clients

Zero clients are even slimmer and more cost-effective than thin clients. They need no configuration and have nothing stored on them. A very cost-efficient option, not only do they use less power, but they also claim to require little or no maintenance.

However, if you are going down the hosted desktop route, regardless of the hardware you choose, it makes sense to deploy a managed approach. This way, IT specialists are keeping an eye on your system all the time, making sure it’s running smoothly and quickly. Managed desktop services also boast best-in-class backup and recovery processes. So you can be sure that your data is recoverable should something go wrong.

Mobile devices

In addition to the traditional desktop computer, many firms are now opting to provide employees with tablets and other mobile devices when deploying the hosted desktop. And, as network speeds become faster and screen resolution improves, this approach is likely to become more and more common. Often such devices are used alongside the more traditional setup, providing solicitors, accountants, recruiters and other professionals with instant access to all the files, data and applications they need, regardless of where they are.


At Cloud Geeni, our Cloud Server services consistently achieve the highest level of data security and reliability. With high-quality support and customer service, and proven experience in understanding business needs, we provide everything you need to help your business thrive. To find out how a hosted desktop can benefit your business, speak to a member of our team on 01942 263 434 or request a demo to see how our excellent hosted desktop solutions work in practice.