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Freedom from the desktop

IT administrators should no longer be shackled to the desktop, trapped in permanent rounds of helpdesk visits, security patches and upgrades. The future could be an estate of efficient and remotely managed desktops and mobile devices; freeing IT administrators to focus on deploying IT innovation for competitive advantage, says Simon Richards, IGEL Technology’s UK & Ireland Managing Director.

Simon Richards, IGEL Technology’s UK & Ireland Managing Director
Simon Richards, IGEL Technology’s UK & Ireland Managing Director

For many IT administrators the feeling of being shackled to the desktop will be all too familiar. An endless round of responding to helpdesk tickets raised by users, running security patches and rolling out upgrades. “Surely there must be more to life than this?” they ask as they trudge off to solve another user issue.

And thank goodness there is. A new desktop era is upon us in the form of the Managed Workspace. It’s not perfectly formed as yet, more of an evolution than a revolution, but the future is here. For some IT administrators – those that run thin client desktops – life has been more manageable for some time. Easy profile set-ups and plug and play roll-outs, with centralised remote management have been offered by leading thin client operators for many years with the free management software included with every device. And by offering both Windows and Linux firmware versions, with a wide range of codecs and protocols included, they are open devices – meaning IT administrators are free to deploy the IT infrastructure they wish with the flexibility to change – without having to worry about the compatibility of their desktop devices.

But the modern day reality for the vast majority of businesses is that they have inherited a mixed bag of desktop devices or the workforce, with its varying requirements, demands a range of different devices from PC’s to notebooks and thin and zero clients. What hope then for the desktop guardians from IT? But even here, times they are a changing.

Under the banner of Workspace Management, with some simple conversion and management software, many desktop PCs and laptops can now easily be converted to thin client devices in a matter of minutes. This conversion creates the opportunity to manage the vast majority of business desktops and mobile devices like a single estate. The benefits are many fold and instant. Suddenly the devices are burning less power. A study by the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany found that Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) can be reduced by 47 percent if an existing managed PC is converted into a thin client instead of replacing it with a new Windows PC. With a notebook conversion, this figure is as high as 55 percent. If fat clients are simply replaced by hardware thin clients, then savings of 35 percent can be achieved over a three-year period.

With a uniform desktop estate, the devices can be centrally and remotely managed at the click of a mouse. And the latest developments in this desktop management software means that it can easily be integrated with enterprise system management software such as IBM Tivoli and Microsoft SCCM.

Another benefit is that desktop security is instantly improved – no chance of a virus here – and the chance to move to a virtual or cloud infrastructure suddenly looks simpler and more cost effective because the need to change all the end user devices has been removed. Can you feel those shackles falling away from your wrists? It feels good doesn’t it?

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