<computer, networking> A personal computer
which has neither a hard disk
nor floppy disk
drive and which performs all file access via a local area network
connection to a file server
The lowest level bootstrap
code is stored in non-volatile storage
This uses a simple protocol
such as BOOTP
to request and download
more sophisticated boot code and eventually, the operating system
The archtypal product was the 3Station
developed by Bob Metcalfe at 3Com.
Another example was the Sun
Diskless workstations are ideal when many users are running the same application.
They are small, quiet, more reliable than products with disks, and help prevent both the theft of data and the introduction of viruses since the software and data available on them is controlled by the network administrator or system administrator.
They do however rely on a server which becomes a disadvantage if it is heavily loaded or down
See also breath-of-life packet