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Issue of August 2003 
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How to reduce TCO for desktops

Tim Goldring, Chief Executive Officer, VXL Instruments Limited, a company manufacturing thin clients, sees increase of use of thin clients in enterprises. To understand the reasons why, he stresses the need to understand the difference between information and data in context of daily use.

"Personnel need information, and not data. A bank worker who has to input figures on a financial package front-end and make certain calculations, needs information. A factory shop floor worker needs to type in shipment release and delivery dates on the application front-end. It isn't necessary to provide the latest PC model with a 1.5 Ghz processor, 40 GB hard drive, 128 MB RAM, and a sound card," said Tim.

"When you give users the scope to handle data they need to have responsibility. In such a scenario, the more you simplify the desktop client for a user, the more productive they can become." Not all users need to perform client-side resource intensive tasks like editing freeze frame video, or CAD to design hotels and bridges. So, no matter what kind of company, it should see whether it needs to use data. Accordingly, it needs to ask whether it's necessary to provide a floppy drive and a CD-ROM, since the user needs only information.

Tim feels that most enterprise servers today are capable of handling very high loads and have high amounts of processing power. And, most enterprise applications do not need too much client-side processing. In such a scenario, it makes more sense to offer a thin client on the desktop and let servers do the resource-intensive tasks. This way, a company can drive down the average cost per desktop. "A CIO also has to be rational about managing the large number of desktops typically present in an organization. A company doesn't want the IT team to be busy troubleshooting desktops all day. The team should be able to devote more time to important tasks like managing servers, storage, and security," explained Tim.

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