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Thin clients a malware-free desktop option

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IDC estimates that growth of thin clients will maintain a clip of 21.5 percent through 2010. "But that doesn't show many of the alternative thin client options, such as virtualized PCs. There's a big movement underway toward centralized management. It cuts costs and improves security, and secu-rity is the biggest driver," says IDC analyst Bob O'Donnell.

Despite the success and cost savings associated with 150 users relying on thin clients, Androscoggin still uses a considerable number of PCs. "For various reasons, we didn't provide thin clients to supervisors, the executive leadership, or to high-end mobile workers. We have some very specific areas with applications that only will work on a fat client, that aren't supported in Citrix," he says.

Nonetheless, as a result of the sizable number of employees shifted to the Citrix and thin client architecture, Barter estimates Androscoggin's IT support costs will plummet by 75 percent a year. And the move toward a thin client/centralized computing architecture has cut the need for two additional full-time IT workers. "The ROI is just huge. We can manage things so much better, so much more centralized," Barter says.

Barter heralds a day when newer technologies, such as desktop and application streaming, will arrive and even more users either will be using thin clients or accessing centrally managed virtual desktops and applications.

With desktop streaming, an entire desktop environment, or a single application,

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is provisioned from a server and published to either a thin client or a full-blown PC, thereby getting all of the benefits of centralized computing and thin clients, while also making it possible to leave PC horsepower at the end user's disposal, if needed.

This was first published in March 2007

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