Air Force Considers Dumping PCs for 1.2 Million Thin Clients

Bob Brewin | Nextgov | March 2, 2012

The Air Force could send personal computers to the junkyard by 2014, depending on the results of a study to replace them with thin clients -- 1 million on unclassified networks and 220,000 on classified networks.

The Air Force Space Command said in a request for information to industry released Thursday that a switch to thin or zero clients could cut operations and maintenance costs and improve security.

The service currently uses PCs with hard drives, or fat clients, which store applications locally, while thin, or zero, clients access applications stored on remote servers. Zero clients consist of a keyboard, mouse and monitor with no local processing power, while thin clients have some built-in processing power to support rich graphics displays and multimedia applications.

Space Command said it plans to test the thin client architecture with 9,000 users on the unclassified network and 6,200 users on the classified network at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. It did not specify a date...