Client-side architecture applications in LIMS lab software programs are important because they allow the servers and clients to communicate. A server stores and manages the exchange of information between a client’s computer and the server. The clients use their computers or workstations to access the server to retrieve the data. Two of the primary client-side architecture applications that have been used when processing LIMS Lab Software data have been thin and thick client architecture applications.
Thin-clients mean that most of the ways they are going to handle the data will be done using a web browser to access the data on the server. The data is accessed using a validation system such as a user name and passcode. There are a few pros and cons to using a thin-client application.
- Easy to Use: The client-side computer does not need to be upgraded with specialized software to access the system since it uses a web browser to process the information.
- Portability: As long as you are working on a personal computer or at a workstation where you get on the Internet, you can also access the server.
- Older Computers: You can use older computers as long as you can connect to the Internet.
- Higher Security: The server that hosts the information is responsible to keep the information secure and it usually has personnel dedicated to making sure that happens.
- Downtime: If the server goes down for any reason, your access to the data will be cut off until the server comes back online.
- The application is not able to interface with other equipment in the lab so you cannot access any data directly from it. All data is interchanged between the computer and the server.
Thick-clients will process most of the data via applications on their computers instead of through a web browser. The server performs as an archival resource. Thick-clients connect to the server to retrieve the data they need from it. The information is then stored on the thick-client computers. This means if the server goes down, the thick-client applications can still keep on working on the data because you have the data stored for processing in your computers. There are a few pros and cons for thick-client applications.
- Storage: You can store the files and applications on your computer so you can access them at any time.
- Better Technology: You are not reliant on a web browser to power your data processing efforts and you are not limited by the browser’s capabilities.
- Server Connection: You don’t have to maintain a constant connection with the server. Once you retrieve the information you need, you are ready to work for as long as you want.
- Data Verification: The data is verified by the client versus the server which increases the speed of the validation.
- Security: Instead of just the server-side being primarily responsible for the protection of the data, you will now have to make sure the data stored on your computer system is protected as well.
- Resources: Running a thick-man application requires more resources to deploy the system. The resources include financing the system and having IT personnel available to fix any issues and keep the system running.