Thursday 1 – About Vecmar Corp.

So this post is for the purpose of thanking our vendor Vecmar Corporation with the purchase and support of the thin client technology.    First of all, many folks don’t know what thin clienting is.   Basically, thin clienting is kind of like putting an old paradigm to work in new technology.  Back in a day, and not that long ago, the typical office computer system consisted mainly of terminals that connected to and worked from a main frame computer.   The “dumb” terminals as they were often referred to, did not have any really computer power themselves but connect to and opened up a “user” session on the main frame computer, which was the central computer doing all of the work.    Move forward to the PC era and you then had desktop computers (and eventually laptops) that are separate computer in themselves.   To work together as a team, we had to have networking which allows the computers to communicate with each other and do things like share files, printers and such.   Along with that came Server PC’s which brought the components of centralized network authentication, centralized file sharing and security along with shared applications, databases, etc..   That was not really new  as shared applications and databases were all part of the Mainframe world, but with PC’s the processing was more distributed rather than on one central computer.    With Windows Servers came Terminal Services.    This allowed multiple users to open up a full windows sessions from the Terminal Server, kind of similar to the Main Frame / Terminal days.    So with that came devices called “Thin Clients”.   Thin Clients are smart devices that can open Windows sessions to work pretty much like PC’s but running from a central Terminal Server, these days called Remote Desktop Services.


So what are the pros and cons of Thin Clients?   It depends a bit on what the computer users need to do.   If you are looking to do heavy design, graphics intensive applications, stick with a PC or Mac.   But if you just need to give a group of users access to everyday applications like word processing, spreadsheet, web browsing, etc.,  then Thin Clients are a great alternative for a number of reasons.


Let’s take the install we just did at Bishop Okullu College.   They wanted to have 15 computers for students to use for those everyday applications noted above.   In Kenya, a good, fast PC would cost about $1200 minimum.   That would be $18,000 USD.   For the Thin Client network we needed to purchase a server (about $2400) and the thin client units ($180 each) times 15 for a cost of $2700.   Add to that 15 monitors and some other peripherals and we came in with an overall budget of $8000.   That’s a huge savings of $10,000.    The thin client sessions are fast and the configuration is very easy.   What ever software we purchase and load on the server (licensed for 15 users of course) is immediately available to all users from one install.   So there is a time savings with setup for sure.   There are other benefits, but one that is particularly helpful here in East Africa is electricity usage.   The thin client network environment consumes far less electricity than a 15 PC network would.   That’s big cost savings to the college.   All in all, it’s great computer lab environment to implement in a case like this.


So why the title “About Vecmar Corp.”.  Just simply this; they are a excellent and helpful vendor for thin client technology.   We had one problem to solve with our thin client setup this week that I just could not solve.   We want to let student use their own USB flash disks to save and backup their files on.  Thin clients can to this, but for some reason, I could not get it to work properly.   I made a Skype call to Vecmar’s tech support and was serviced immediately on the issue.   They took the time to setup and test a thin client of the same model and firmware as we had and tested and got the USB flash disk problem solved for me.   With just an E-mail with some instructions and links, I was able to get the USB drives working with our thin client setup.    My thanks to Vecmar support for their prompt helpful service.    It’s sometime hard to get timely service from many hardware and software vendors, even from back home in the USA.   This was quick and excellent service from half way around the world.   I have to say, I fully endorse Vecmar as the vendor of choice for anyone looking to work with Thin Client technology.



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