Thin Client-Software: Safeguarding Investments, Cutting Costs

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1 Thin Client-Software: Safeguarding Investments, Cutting Costs

2 Thin client conversion software allows the relatively short replacement cycles for desktop PCs to be lengthened. Instead of simply upgrading to yet another set of replacement PCs, it is worth considering deploying a future-ready, centralized IT infrastructure. The result: a lower TCO along with increased competitiveness. In economically troubled times, many companies tend to put off upgrading their IT systems. Instead, they give priority to IT projects designed to increase the effi ciency of what they already have. The concept of converting older desktop PCs into thin clients, and as a result standardizing them, combines both of these approaches by simultaneously safeguarding your IT investment and cutting your IT costs. Thin client conversion software can increase the service life of existing computing hardware by two to three years, no matter whether it concerns PCs, net-tops or older thin clients. After implementation of this solution, the converted end-user devices only access a centralized IT infrastructure, which results in a permanent drop in operating costs. In addition, taking this step will improve the availability and security of your IT environment. Compensating for Budget Squeezes If you assume a typical service life of three to four years, then worldwide some 280 million standalone workstation PCs are now due for replacement. This is the conclusion reached by market analysts at Gartner, who have been researching and gathering relevant production fi gures since According to Gartner, the investment costs per workstation of approximately 400 Euros each can be put off for two to four years if the PCs concerned and already written off are rejuvenated by conversion to thin client operation. The converted units do not allow users to save data locally and can only access centralized IT infrastructures, either provisioned by an internal data center or the web or hosted by external, outsourced service providers. The primary technologies available for deploying internal or external application hosting are server-based computing (SBC), virtual or virtually hosted desktops as well as cloud-computing services. According to Gartner, SBC continues to be the most effi cient solution for medium and large companies and Cloud Sourcing as the most effi cient solution for small companies. This is because its overall costs clearly beat those of an unmanaged PC environment (client/server network) by 50%. The second-best approach, a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), offers savings of up to 10%. Cut your TCO Permanently Proof that it is truly worthwhile to deploy a centralized IT infrastructure and convert existing desktop devices into thin clients can be found in the economic analysis by the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology (UMSICHT), PC vs. TC. Compared to unmanaged PCs linked in a client/server network, the TCO of an SBC/thin client architecture can be up to 70 % less. However, this calculation is based on the use of real thin clients, not converted PCs. If, as an interim step, legacy PCs are converted into thin clients, for example by using IGEL Universal Desktop Converter (UDC) software, the costs of installing the replacement system result in initial savings of 90 %. That is because the thin client conversion software costs about one tenth of the purchase price of a standard business-grade PC. In addition, the management and support times are cut by just under 70 % (see table below). The reason for this lies primarily in the centralized management of software and end-user desktops, the elimination of the need to separately (re)install software and subsequent software patches on each and every PC, as well as a drop in the user assistance required. Comparsion of Management Costs (in Euro) PC PC with UDC Savings Software % installation Patches % Transport % Reinstallations % Self-help % TOTAL % Source: Fraunhofer study PC vs. Thin Client, pages 44 and 82 As a rule, PCs converted by means of the IGEL UDC are locked down and cannot be easily manipulated by end users. During the installation of the IGEL UDC, the contents of the hard drive or fl ash memory in the device being converted (PC, laptop or thin client) are deliberately deleted and are no longer locally available. From then on, data can only be saved on the central server, which is protected by high-end data security and backup mechanisms. This high security level is accompanied by increased resistance to viruses and other malware. In addition, when the IGEL UDC is installed, an IGEL Linux OS is also installed. This eliminates the cost of expensive single workstation licenses for antivirus software. 2/5

3 Standardized Management The standardization of the software of the desktop environment with thin client software brings with it the major opportunity to manage all desktops by means of a centralized management solution. With the IGEL Universal Management Suite (UMS), which comes standard with UDC devices, IT administrators have a powerful and scalable management tool that they can use to economically and clearly manage their IGEL thin clients as well as PCs, net-tops, laptops and thin clients from other manufacturers that have been converted by means of the UDC from a remote location and in a group-based manner. Whenever an occasional update is required for the thin client operating system, it can be conveniently scheduled to remotely self-install. A fail-safe mechanism ensures that the update process is always error-free, even in cases of power failure or network errors during the update. The Javabased management console for the IGEL UMS is intuitive to use and platform-independent. To help speed up the roll-out, individual and group profi les can be defi ned in advance and then transferred to the respective end-user devices simply by drag-and-drop. Microsoft Active Directory can also be used to manage the system administrator profi les. After its IGEL software is licensed, the converted thin client automatically retrieves its specifi c settings from the central management server and is then immediately ready for use. Different Implementation Paths There are several ways to convert existing devices into IGEL Universal Desktops. If the IGEL Universal Desktop Converter (UDC) is used, the implementation process takes place in two steps: software installation and software licensing. There are four ways to accomplish this, depending on what is preferable for the given situation: directly at the end device by means of an IGEL USB token, a USB memory stick, a CD or over the network. The media required for the last two installation methods can be generated by means of an IGEL installation tool. For larger environments, a roll-out over a network is recommended. In this case, this process is accomplished with the aid of the Remote Installation Services (RIS) in Microsoft Windows Server The customer obtains the licenses for the thin client software on a SIM card that can be inserted into an IGEL USB token, from which the licenses are either transferred to each device individually or as a group by means of the IGEL UMS during installation. During this process, the UMS management console displays those end devices that have not yet been licensed. At the desktop from which the management console is launched, the administrator can read the licenses from the IGEL USB token and assign them to the devices. Deployment Flexibility: Features and Firmware Packages The implementation of thin client conversion software deliberately removes the option of locally installing applications on the PCs concerned. For this reason, it is extremely important that the newly generated PC-based thin client can support the broadest possible range of applications. In addition to those software clients essential for conventional server-based USB BOOT (IGEL UDC token with license) / LICENSE DEPLOYMENT UDC LICENSES USB BOOT (UDC2Stick from IGEL UDC or IGEL FTP server) CD BOOT (ISO fi le from IGEL UDC or IGEL FTP server) UMS SERVER ROLL-OUT OVER NETWORK Remote Installation Services Graphic: Implementation Paths 3/5

4 computing (SBC) in Microsoft Windows Server and Citrix XenApp, it is also important to provide support for both leading desktop virtualization solutions: VMware View and Citrix XenDesktop. Via Broker Clients like Quest vworkspace, Leostream or Ericom WebConnect nearly all other popular enterprise virtualization solutions are supported. Beyond this, depending on its content level, the respective fi rmware package will also permit direct access to IBM mainframe and SAP environments as well as cloud-computing services. Starting with its Standard fi rmware package, IGEL software contains the specifi c software clients, terminal emulations and an integrated web browser. IGEL thin client software is available in three versions designed to meet different user requirements: These versions are called Entry, Standard and Advanced. Need-Based Deployment Features The IGEL Universal Desktop Converter (UDC) supports the following technologies and infrastructures: Package Entry Standard Advanced Allows access to the following: Microsoft Remote Desktop Services, Citrix XenApp, Java, XDMCP Includes Entry features plus: Web-Browser, Flash, Citrix XenDesktop, VMware View (incl. PCoIP ), Terminal Emulation, Leostream, Quest vworkspace, NoMachine NX, Cendio ThinLinc Includes Standard features plus: SAP GUI, VoIP, Media Player (local decoding, Multimedia Redirection), Citrix HDX a situation that will be compensated for by the PC hardware, which is usually more powerful than standard thin client hardware. According to some manufacturers, there may be some limitations affecting multimedia redirection in VMware View environments. In light of these possible issues, IGEL recommends that special scenarios be fully tested in advance with a free evaluation copy of the IGEL UDC. Crossing the Finish Line: The Second Migration Phase The gradual migration via thin client software permits an economical transition to a more sustainable and effi cient desktop infrastructure. After this interim step, comes the second and fi nal migration phase: When the converted end-user devices eventually reach the end of their service life, they are gradually replaced by real IGEL thin clients, whose own service life is usually six years or more. Compared to a PC-based infrastructure, this two-stage thin approach can double the length of hardware investment cycles, not to mention the energy savings that can have a major effect on bottom lines. In a 64-bit SBC environment, these savings can add up to a 75 % reduction in power costs compared to those for a conventional PC-based client/server network. However, there are also additional potentials to cut costs that can be realized. For instance, IGEL thin clients, which can all be effi ciently managed remotely, offer the ideal prerequisites for outsourcing the provisioning of a desktop infrastructure and its management. What is more, environments enhanced by cloud-computing services or hosted virtual desktops will see IT costs further cut to rock-bottom levels. A.T.U. Converts 6,500 PCs into Thin Clients Support for Different Models and Drivers Companies wanting to standardize their desktop infrastructures with thin client software should keep two things in mind: fi rst, that the software has actually been tested by the service provider on the devices to be converted; and second, that there is the greatest possible coverage when it comes to driver support. For instance, the IGEL UDC can not only be used with previous IGEL models but also with various net-tops and thin client models from Acer, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Neoware and Samsung. In all these cases, IGEL provides full driver support. This means that even multi-screen confi gurations will not present problems. All other devices need to have x86-compatible hardware and a VESA-compatible display to be able to be converted into an IGEL Universal Desktop. Depending on the hardware, there may be some individual cases where there will be limits to audio support. In general, power management will not be available. Computer display graphics are only supported in VESA mode, Since 2006, the German market leader in auto parts, service and repair, A.T.U. Auto-Teile-Unger Handels & Co. KG, has been consistently converting its desktop infrastructure over to server-based computing (SBC). The company with some 13,000 employees and 650 stores provisions its applications from one central computer center. It is also increasingly using remote management to maintain its desktop units. Compared to its original client/server network, SBC is now saving A.T.U. about 25 % in support costs each year. To expand thin client computing across all of its stores, in addition to its 1,200 existing IGEL thin clients, A.T.U. also used the IGEL UDC to convert 6,500 PCs. In this way, we are gradually getting the whole company-wide migration done over a longer time frame, states Manfred Gerlach, IT manager at A.T.U. The PCs concerned are already fully depreciated and we can perform the conversion easily and economically. 4/5

5 Germany (HQ) IGEL Technology GmbH Hanna-Kunath-Str. 31 D Bremen Tel +49 (0) Fax +49 (0) United Kingdom IGEL Technology Ltd 1210 Parkview Arlington Business Park Theale Reading Berkshire RG7 4TY UK Tel +44 (0) Fax +44 (0) United States IGEL Technology America, LLC 2106 Florence Avenue Cincinnati OH USA Tel Fax Toll Free (US only): GET IGEL Singapore IGEL Technology Care of: C. Melchers GmbH & Co. Singapore Branch 101 Thomson Road # 24-01/05 United Square Singapore Tel (65) Fax (65) Hong Kong IGEL Technology Care of: Melchers (H.K.) Ltd Shun Tak Centre West Tower Connaught Road C. Hong Kong Tel Fax Errors and omissions excepted. Subject to change without notice. 10/2010 IGEL Technology A member of the Melchers group. 99-EN-40-1

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