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Lenovo to Sell Blade Desktops 160

Some guy writes "Having acquired IBM's PC division, Lenovo will become the first major reseller of blade desktops. Blade desktops feature only input devices and a 'networking unit,' connecting to a blade server for computational power. Such thin client designs reduce support needs and cluttered desk space, but require complex deployments to work well."
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Lenovo to Sell Blade Desktops

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  • Thin Client Redux (Score:5, Informative)

    by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @08:14PM (#13049505)

    Here's a link [clearcube.com] containing some more detailed information about ClearCube's technology.

    So...thin clients are back in vogue yet again...let's see if they stick this time. With the Blade Desktop's modular architecture and ability to run the KVM over standard, existing LAN infrastructure, this iteration might have a shot.
    • by timeOday ( 582209 )
      So...thin clients are back in vogue yet again...
      I'd say it's way to early to make that prediction. I doubt these will go anywhere.

      IMHO the problem is that the "thin" client must have almost all the resources of a normal pc... processor, memory, video card, nic, screen, mouse, keyboard, usb ports, everything except perhaps a hard drive. So what's the point?

      • IMHO the problem is that the "thin" client must have almost all the resources of a normal pc... processor, memory, video card, nic, screen, mouse, keyboard, usb ports, everything except perhaps a hard drive. So what's the point?

        You apparantly don't understand the concept.

        A thin client DOESN'T have any of the ordinary components. No CPU or RAM to speak of. No HDD. No expansion bays. Quite possibly no peripheral drives, either. It's just a box that you plug your input/output into.
        • A thin client DOESN'T have any of the ordinary components. No CPU or RAM to speak of.

          Umm... yes it does. A thin client needs a CPU to function, and memory to feed that CPU with. The difference between a "thin" client vs. a "thick" client is that the "thin" client has very cheap hardware. i.e. You might find an ARM processor and 16 megs of ram. Such a device should cost $50-$100 in bulk.

          No HDD.

          Correct. Although they usually have flash memory for the basic OS they run.

          No expansion bays.

          Correct.

          Qu
          • Re:Thin Client Redux (Score:2, Interesting)

            by coflow ( 519578 )
            I'm certainly no expert on what qualifies as a thin client, but here's my input based on a client my company recently did work for. They moved approximately 7000 desktop pc's out of their stores' back offices (low class pc's, purchasable for approximately $500 each) and replaced them with a "thin client" machine running an embedded windows system. As it turns out, these machines cost just slightly more than the older desktops, contain slightly less powerful processors, and have a lower capactiy for RAM, a
          • . No CPU or RAM to speak of.

            Yes, Georgia, every word in a sentence IS important.

            An ARM processor with 16MB of ram -- slower and less memory than my Palm! -- is "none to speak of."

            Sheesh.
            • No CPU or RAM to speak of.

              Yes, Georgia, every word in a sentence IS important.


              I think you mean "No CPU or RAM worth speaking of."

              If it was an honest mistake, though, that's fine by me. Lord knows I make enough of them myself. :-)
      • Re:Thin Client Redux (Score:5, Informative)

        by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @08:28PM (#13049626) Homepage
        1) They refresh from the server so if something goes wrong you can simply push the off button and turn them on again

        2) No HD and no fan means no moving parts (except keyboard and mouse) and thus very few hardware failures (except keyboard and mouse)

        3) Your end users don't have physical access to machines with data on them. This is a huge plus for security.
        • by timeOday ( 582209 )

          1) They refresh from the server so if something goes wrong you can simply push the off button and turn them on again

          Moving components to the server room doesn't stop them from breaking, especially since (like I said) the thin clients are still nearly PCs in themselves. Especially in the case of this Levono system where each user apparently has their own blade. Hopefully there is a reduction in hard drive count, which would help. On the other hand there's increased reliance on the network, which w

          • J- They refresh from the server so if something goes wrong you can simply push the off button and turn them on again

            Moving components to the server room doesn't stop them from breaking, especially since (like I said) the thin clients are still nearly PCs in themselves. Especially in the case of this Levono system where each user apparently has their own blade. Hopefully there is a reduction in hard drive count, which would help. On the other hand there's increased reliance on the network, which will cause
      • by Anonymous Coward
        So what's the point?
        Well for one thing, the 'thin client' can have a single 'System on a Chip' instead of all the seperate ICs you're talking about... since it's all in a single piece of silicon, it can be pretty cheap/low power.

        For another, rather than running say 300 computers at 10% utilization you could possibly get by with 60 blades averaging 50% load for 300 users. If you're a big company that has a lot of people doing very low cpu intensive stuff like data entry/etc, it can make a difference in T
      • The idea, at least as far as what I have generally pushed is that you improve security (no data except on the servers), you reduce the need for constant upgrade cycles (go from replacing desktops every 3 years to replacing thins every ~10), and finally the biggy, managability (someones thin dies, all you do is replace it with another thin, they get all their same apps, all their customization is still in place, etc without having to do ANY additional work). Plus it's easier to maintain a small farm or two o
    • by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @08:23PM (#13049570) Homepage Journal
      On the surface, it looks like a thin client, but I think the difference is that each user would still get their own dedicated computer, so really, it's just a long distance KVM.
      • Parent is correct, these computers are nothing but remotely stored computers with KVM run over a common wire. Basically, it's most of the disadvantages of thin clients, while still having to manage each computer individually.

        Why not simplify the solution and tie everyone into a few (or quite a few) serious servers running virtual machines? You can easily manage everything, have all documents stored locally, simplified back-up and RAID solutions. Basically thin clients. Oh and as for the argument of think c
      • True. A real thin client would run RDP or X11 to a Terminal Server or X application server. Just serve the applications you need. Don't bother with maintaining entire OS images for each client. On the other side of the thick/thin client spectrum, you'd have a diskless workstation. It's a full PC with everything but a disk. It boots off the net from a storage server that holds OS images. With the cheap prices of commodity PC hardware, it's a good choice too.
    • NOT a thin client (Score:5, Informative)

      by A nonymous Coward ( 7548 ) * on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @08:26PM (#13049610)
      Thin clients keep all their info on the server. This is NOT a thin client. It might be called a remote client, but each blade has its own CPU, disk drives, etc. Each blade is a full PC, serving just one desktop. The only thing unusual is that the PC is located in the server room instead of on the desktop. Thin clients are really just a minor variation on the old timeshare model of big expensive computers. This could only be considered a thin client if you think of every user having their very own dedicated server.

      Thin clients vs PCs are like taxis vs private cars. Blade PCs are like private cars kept in a communal garage, like an apartment block vs a private house.

      You didn't even read your own link. This is a new low for slashdot, methinks.
      • but each blade has its own CPU, disk drives, etc.

        Actually, I don't see anywhere in the article that each blade has its own disk. The only thing I see mentioned is separate memory and CPU.

        If anything, it's more akin to VM tech - we'll call it PM, since each machine has its own processor. And in that sense, each user does have their own dedicated server.

        • Re:NOT a thin client (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          If you look at the picture of the blades in the top-level respondent's linked PDF, you can clearly see that there is a hard drive in there. Plus they mention that it comes with a 10GB IDE drive or a 40GB IDE drive (though that was in 2003, so the prices look pretty sucky by today's standards).
          • If you look at the picture of the blades in the top-level respondent's linked PDF, you can clearly see that there is a hard drive in there.

            Got it. The PDF isn't in the story itself. It's in one of the first poster's posts. Something I didn't check until you pointed it out.

      • Sounds exactly like the setup in the University computer lab back in 1984.
      • Thin clients keep all their info on the server. This is NOT a thin client. It might be called a remote client, but each blade has its own CPU, disk drives, etc

        Like any remotely recent thin client from Wyse or whoever else, that run Linux, Mozilla, and various Linux apps, or Windows CE, or XP embedded, or whatever else, have disk drives, CPUs, etc?

      • The reasons why I can think of deploying something like a thin client today are:

        1) Because of the need for strict, tight controls on data and access. Having a single server means far less for the admins to keep an eye on. They only have to keep one compter secure.

        2) Because of highly asymetric processing power needs. If I had a situation where one user was likely to need a ton of power, while others didn't, and which user it was alternated, this could be useful. Get a more powerful server and then everyon
        • You've neglected physical management and repair. The nightmare of the variety of desktop clients and where they're stuffed in people's desktops is a source of incredible pain for anyone in IT. The ability to keep a few spare blades and swap them in is a lifesaver to restoring people's systems. UPS management, cooling, and auditing the machines for accounting or security reasons all benefit, and you're much less likely to have employees steal RAM or CD drives when you're not looking. The problem is that the
      • Yeah, except for the fact that in this case single appartments costs as much as four full-blown houses.
    • you should never link to a PDF file without warning! :)
    • I run a Citrix thin client at work (on an XP laptop) and at home (on a Gentoo box). It's pretty cool when it works, but IT can't seem to manage to keep the network humming more than 95% of the time - 2 hours per work-week of network based frustration isn't the ideal way to get things done.
    • So...thin clients are back in vogue yet again...let's see if they stick this time.

      Thin clients will never stick because they are a cyclical technology. They exist on a constatly turning Wheel of Life that means they are either just on their way in, or just on their way out.
  • What? (Score:5, Funny)

    by shobadobs ( 264600 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @08:16PM (#13049522)
    Is this summary serious? Wouldn't they want output devices, too?
    • Re:What? (Score:3, Funny)

      by tomhudson ( 43916 )
      Is this summary serious? Wouldn't they want output devices, too?
      Remember, this is about centralizing stuff. All your output are belong to us, comrade!
    • Yeah, that was exactly my reaction, but I figured someone would've pointed that out before I got here.

      Might be nice for the luser in your life, though. They can't complain about how their computer is behaving without any feedback. And no annoying flashy screensavers, obnoxious sound schemes....

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Lenovo will resell blade desktop systems from ClearCube Technologies as the Chinese giant kicks off its effort to woo the international set.

    Under the deal, the two companies will cooperate to sell ClearCube's blade systems, initially to the customers Lenovo acquired when it IBM's PC unit [zdnet.com]. The units sold by Lenovo will bear ClearCube's brand. IBM Global Services already resells ClearCube desktop systems.

    Similar to blade servers, blade desktops [zdnet.com] are complete desktop PCs, but instead of coming in a plasti
  • I still don't get how vampires figure into all this.
  • [ ] "reduces desk clutter" - so they can now make your cubby smaller, since you no longer need a desk - a tea wagon should suffice
    [ ] they can now appropriate your amd64-3000 for themselves, since you don't need such a powerful unit any more
    [ ] "a clean desk is a sign of a sick mind" - and this will reduce desk clutter ... so you can be fired because you're now obviously a sicko perv
    [ ] central management - "all your pr0n are belong to us"
    ... I for one don't welcome our asian blade-serving overlords.
    • Well, as an engineer I hate my thin client because I obviously don't get root on it and it has limited functionality unless you're a paper-pushing human-resources/legal/finance/management dweeb.

      But the positives are:

      - Quiet.
      - Low energy
      - Low heat
      - Small physical foot print
      - Cheaper than a full system
      - Not much good to anyone if they steal it
      • ... except this isn't a real "thin client". You get a dedicated cpu/disk/etc in a rack for each user.

        Also, because of the complexity of configuring, etc., they'll be more expensive to set up and maintain than a beige box (which the article points to as one of the reasons it hasn't been done that way before).

        Think of it as the equivalent of your current PC stuffed in another room, with a long mouse cord, a long keyboard cord, and a long monitor cord. Also, since all the "servers" will be in one place, you

        • The PHBs will hear "managed solution", "TCO", and the like, and stumble over themselves writing checks.

          OT: Did you year about the dyslexic agnostic insomniac? He used to lie awake at night wondering if there were really a dog.
          • Damn - we made a hardware/software product presentation today and didn't even think to use a single buzzword! Stuck with those old-fashioned terms "easy to use" (then show them), "simple to maintain" (then tell them how), etc.

            I don't know - I think all the buzzwords would tend to work against you nowadays when you're trying to build trust, because people recognize them for what they are ... marketing bafflegab.

            I mean, when is the last time that the phrase "TCO" didn't set off your bullshit detector?

        • The overall cooling is better: one server room with real cooling is much more efficient than scattering the cooling throughout the building, and more reliable when the management turns off the cooling for the cubicles over the weekend. The individual blade and cooliing management can be made quite a lot better: blades are notoriously easier to seriously vent than are desktop chassis's with their tangles of randomly located components and cables.
          • and more reliable when the management turns off the cooling for the cubicles over the weekend
            Wouldn't the user turn off his box over the weekend, since he's not there? Save on cooling AND electricity AND wear-and-tear.
            • No, some end users leave long and intense simulation jobs running. Others don't want to have to re-open their windows, others have active network connections monitoring other services, others are just dumb and forget to save their work, others hate having to log in and leave their login sessions active for weeks.

              I've seen all of these behavior in the last week among fewer than 10 people.
              • For those who are running long jobs, its no diff whether its local or on the blade. Turn off the monitor and walk away till monday.

                Those that don't want to reopen Windows need to be educated that they're just leaving their machines open to be abused, either locally or over the network, as well as wasting electricity.

                Those with active connections monitoring other services, its the same whether its local or over a blade.

                For those who are just dumb and forgot to save their work, again, education.

                For

      • But the positives are:

        - Quiet.
        - Low energy
        - Low heat
        - Small physical foot print
        - Cheaper than a full system
        - Not much good to anyone if they steal it


        Rather interestingly these positive points are also shared by the common or garden brick. Make of that what you will.
  • Albeit not blades by the strict definition: Mac Minis + Hacked .Mac + Myrad of server side webapplications. We even have a windows server to remote desktop into for the windows only applications we have decided to run (Quickbooks enterprise edition).
  • 3270 emulation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Aslan72 ( 647654 ) <psjuvin AT ilstu DOT edu> on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @08:22PM (#13049562)
    "How much has the corporate desktop PC changed in the last 20 years?"

    A bit. The thing though is that this really isn't a new concept; its name has changed a bit, but it boils down to the 3270 concept that IBM made popular. This time you have a mouse and a color monitor instead of a 3270 keyboard and a green screen.

    I remember hearing back in college that the trend floats from centralized computing to distributed and then back again, but I'd never thought I'd see it.

    --pete

    • It's one company trying it. Other have soltuions that are similar. Sun Microsystems has Sunblades, for example. They aren't precisely the same thing, but basically a Sunblade is an X-term. All it does is handle keyboard, mouse, video and sound, and then do X communications to the server. Everything is then run there. Kinda neat, in the real world often not as usable or cheap as you'd think, though it works well for some specialty environments.

      This isn't going to signal a major shift most likely. Distribute
      • > Sun Microsystems has Sunblades, for example. They aren't precisely the same thing, but basically a Sunblade is an X-term. All it does is handle keyboard, mouse, video and sound, and then do X communications to the server.

        They're called Sunrays, and they do not speak X. It's more like VNC. And you can cheap out and make a sunray installation cheaper than a desktop, but your performance will suck. They're good for places where you want to put severe restrictions on client state. Trading offices for
    • heck look around a hospital and see how many p4 desktops running windows xp have a 3270 terminal emulator open.. as much as people say the mainframe is dying, all the technology that made it popular are being reimplimented today on cheaper hardware... os/390 lpars vs xen for instance. very little innovation over the past decade overall in the software industry. its sad in a way.
  • by HotNeedleOfInquiry ( 598897 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @08:25PM (#13049594)
    We called them "dickless workstations"
  • Since 1996! Ten years from now, I expect them to still be the future of computing. Also, by then we'll only be 10 years from real AI, and 20 years from practical fusion...

    • Thin clients can take a real shot at being the future of computing when they're significantly cheaper to purchase and deploy.

      Right now you might save a few bucks per desktop, but you'll likely pay it back in the salaries of your IT staff and training, at least up front, I know it's supposed to reduce staff time and such, but fact is it's a different staff, one that needs to know a little more and hence demands a higher salary... regardless though, it takes alot of deployments to make it a profitable decisi
    • 1996? You're forgetting Sun's diskless "The Network Is the Computer" workstations from a decade earlier and X-terminals in between.

      *sings* You're once, twice, three times a failure, but the VC's loooooove yoooouuuuu.
    • by flithm ( 756019 )
      These are totally not thin clients!
      • I read the article. It's a thin client.

        Did you watch the Disney movie with the animals trying to escape from the zoo? Remember the penguins coming up in front of the zebra? Waving his hands, saying, "you didn't see anything"?

        Lenovo is waving their hands. You don't have to swallow the bull. You have a small, low-power device, used to connect to a central server. Whether that central server is a piece of hardware dedicated to you, a hardware 'partition' dedicated to you, or simply a timeshared resourc
        • This is basically like taking your computer and moving it into another room, and connecting your keyboard, mouse, and video to it with very long cables.

          This is different than a thin client setup because you're not sharing resources.

          If you read the article you'd know that they're actually using a KVM style technology to connect the user IO devices to the individual PC "blades." The user is only "remotely" acccessing their PC in the same way you remotely access yours but with shorter cables. Extend the ca
    • It seems like thin clients, network computers, or whatever the current euphamism is for dumb terminals keeps coming up every 2 years or so. No matter how many times this stupid idea is ridiculed, some aspiring tech writer feels the need to inform us that thin clients are catching on, after citing one example of them being used. So yes, we have at least 10 more years of bi-annual entertainment listening to some dope try to convince PHBs to invest in thin clients, the future of computing.
  • 1: First, DELL will ignore and point to strong indications of no demand for such hardware.

    2: Once Lenovo's sales pickup, DELL will jump onto the ship - fast...! This time pointing to new research showing shifting customer requirements.

    3: Third will be: You guessed it - PROFIT! Whether they will be able to muscle their way against Lenovo is another matter.

  • In related news... (Score:1, Informative)

    by SA Stevens ( 862201 )
    Lear-Siegler sells their ADM-3A 'thin client.'

    Oh wait! That was back in aprox. 1974. . .
    • The ADM-3A came out in 1977. Here's a link:

      http://www.old-computers.com/history/detail.asp?n = 32&t=3 [old-computers.com]

      "The product was originally sold in assembled form for $1,195. A kit version would appear few months later, at $995. It could be ordered with a white, green, or amber tube background colour."

      For those of you too young to remember, twas this baby which gave rise to the infamous cursors package in UNIX, as well as vi. It's why vi uses the "k", "j", "l", "h" keys to move around, as those keys had ar

  • Terminal Serving - 1
    Being Able to Play Diablo 2 at Work - 0 ... rats!
  • by kebes ( 861706 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @08:35PM (#13049666) Journal
    I see lots of posts that are reminding us how thin clients are nothing new. Indeed having thin clients and centralized processing is nothing new... and sometimes it seems that the pendulum swings back and forth between "imagine how cool it would be if each user had this much power on their desktop" and "imagine how amazing it would be if all this computing power could be centralized and used efficiently."

    I think the point to take out of all this is that we should use the right tool for the job. There are lots of good desktop PCs, and lots of good thin client solutions (or being worked on). For any given task, you have to decide what's right. What is easier to manage, a centralized server or a bunch of desktops? (depends on how many users you have, what software you're running, etc.) What's more powerful, having good desktop PCs or a central server? (depends on your software needs) What's more cost effective? (again... it depends!)

    Obviously hard-core coders and video game designers are going to need their own dedicated machines for testing (and crashing!)... whereas alot of managers, secretaries, and data entry personal would do fine with thin clients.

    Maybe this is totally obvious to slashdotters... but it's something that perhaps the higher-ups in companies should come to realize. There is no perfect solution... you have to crunch the numbers for any particular corporate environment.
    • And to add, is this really going to be the right solution for a 50 person company? And depending on how your organization is structured it might not even make sense for a 10,000 person company. My guess is that there is some sort of oscillating value curve as an organization scales which goes back and forth between cetralized mangement versus distributed.

      The whole point about having a pc on someone's desk is besides the point i think, since you can remotely manage that desktop. And if space is really a c
    • by aaarrrgggh ( 9205 ) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @10:49PM (#13050378)
      The other advantages are that you can scale up systems as required centrally. Desktop blades offer a lot of cool advantages, but the ultimate problem is that they aren't designed for the server room, they are intended for the wiring closet.

      This is a problem because most wiring closets aren't designed for the cooling requirement (even just puting in a 6500 series switch can be hard), and when you have a good number of PCs in one place you have to look at a UPS.

      Starting from scratch it can be great, but it is hard as a retrofit to actually make work.

  • TFA says, "At their desk, users have only a keyboard, mouse, monitor and a networking unit that connects them to their computer", but the summary says, "Blade desktops feature only input devices and a 'networking unit,'". I doubt the summary is correct.
  • This is just a dumb terminal with a new coat of paint, the emporers new close and works just as well cause if the network goes down, or the server, it idles all the workers just like it did "back in the day". This is why corporate america put fully functional machines (with storage) onto the american desktop.

    In this case the Dumb refers to the rehashed idea and the terminal indicates their profit statement.
  • by solios ( 53048 )
    ...it's a goddamned xterm.

    Those have been around for HOW many years now?
  • NOT a thin term (Score:5, Informative)

    by Predius ( 560344 ) <josh DOT coombs AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @09:02PM (#13049796)
    For those too lazy to RTFA...

    These are not thin terms. It's a bunch of full function blade servers, on a managed KVM backplane. You then have remote 'end nodes' that supply DVI/USB/sound over Cat5, Fiber, or IP, your choice.

    So far, this is pretty ho-hum, boring. The neat trick is the software that comes with it. Take an 8 blade chassis, setup 7 users on it, each with their own PC. Blade 8 is now your hot spare. Uh oh, Joe just had a failure? Fire up the management app from your desk, swap him to blade 8. Without getting up, Joe now has a new system, and you can deal with the failed blade on your time, either remotely via your end node, or in the server room.

    No, it's not a huge advancement, but for places that maintain large fleets of desktops that run near identical OS/software installs, it makes system management and maint a bit easier by reducing time lost to running around shuffling hardware.
    • Oh, I forgot to note:

      By Cat5 I do NOT mean ethernet, It's just using Cat5 as raw cabling. So this setup requires point to point Cat5 runs from the desktop to the blade rack, no switches / etc allowed. You want to do it on ethernet, use the IP node.
      • Assuming that you run Cat5 from your server room to the station (not an uncommon place for your network patch panels), you just replace the cable from a Computer -> Switch connection, it is a Station -> Computer connection.

        Alex
    • Fire up the management app from your desk, swap him to blade 8. Without getting up, Joe now has a new system

      Unfortunately, all his data was on the disk in the blade that failed, so either Joe has to re-do a lot of work from scratch, or Joe has to come to you and bug you to get his old blade back online so he can get to his data.

      Sure, you could take it a step further and put a shared storage solution behind the blades, but if you're going that far, why not go all the way and use true thin clients, with vi
  • by mfloy ( 899187 )
    I have never been a fan of thin client type setups. Sure they can save space and make things simpler for companies where the most people use their computer for is word processing. In practice however, they are fairly unreliable and I find they cause more harm than good.
  • ...we called these VT100's. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Having previously worked for ClearCube, I can tell you that these are not thin clients. Their patented technology allows the video signal from the video card (yes, they have video daughtercards, nVidia chipset) to be sent down CAT5 cable to an interface box. That is where the monitor is connected as well as keyboard/mouse/sound. They use USB to get all the peripheral signals back and forth. The blades themselves are anywhere from 2.8-3.2 GHz P4, (maybe faster since I left) and they're even selling dual-proc
  • Every time I have to deal with a PC problem at work, I just can't help but think that the IT department either gave up on getting users to learn anything about PCs, or they just like having complete power over the great unwashed who just use computers (my opinion changes from day to day). The sad thing is MS just feeds this demand for central contol in the workplace, but in a random way. The best example is the fact that I cannot set my clock, which is usually off by a minute or more, but if IT wants to do
  • Here is where any benefits are harvested back to ClearCube: $2000 per seat for management license?!
    Don't forget the additional $1200 for hardware per seat?!?

    No thanks.

    I'll spend the $400 per seat on a new computer and send my staff on a vacation with the $3000 per seat savings.

  • the economic case (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Budenny ( 888916 ) on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @02:43AM (#13051221)
    The thread is very critical of thin clients, but its not very clear why. Here is the case I am looking at: a museum with no money, and 3 old windows machines, plus one reasonably fast recent one. They would like to give the public access to their catalogue, run some kind of shared calendar for the various volunteers who staff the place. At the moment one of the old machines is in storage, the fast machine is in the office but used only a couple of days a week when their secretary comes in and does mail and accounts, one runs their catalogue, but since it is Win98 and has no security they cannot let the public use it...

    What I am thinking is, use Skole Linux, buy cheap network cards, and run three thin clients off the fast recent machine. Is this not a case where without spending hardly any more money the institution gets a lot more functionality out of what it already has? And may there not be lots of public sector/charity cases where this sort of thing applies? Or is there something about thin clients or Skole Linux that I don't know?

    • Windows thin clients are a bad economic case. You need to be running a REALLY beefy server and any client capable of running the thin client software is itself going to have to be more than fast enough to be entirely usable running a free UNIX.

      Here is the case I am looking at: a museum with no money, and 3 old windows machines, plus one reasonably fast recent one.

      Install a free UNIX on them. If the machine's fast enough to run any kind of thin client software at all it should be plenty fast enough to ru
  • So the next time it BSODs, I can't pull the power myself, I have to raise it with Server Ops?
  • ...the more they stay the same.

    3270 -> PC -> 3270 with a PC look and feel.

    These are actually a great idea in highly managed environments. You can keep storage centralized, you don't have to worry about putting PCs on every new hire's desk, etc. Plus, the virus-of-the-week can be dealt with more effectively if all the PCs are stored in a central location.

    The problem I see with blade anything these days is a lack of industry standards. If your vendor decides to stop making a particular blade design,
  • in our case, this will be beneficial:

    1. increased security, it allows the disabling of all types of device attachment except for the keyboard and mouse. nobody can plug in a usb flash, cd-rom, etc. files are not easily exported from the corporate network.
    2. from 1, it reduces risks for viruses as there are no more inputs.
    3. from 1 as well, they can steal the monitor, keyboard, mouse, and breakout box, but the computer and data is not stolen.
    4. increased availability, it allows for easy swapping of

  • This should properly be a separate thread, and the lenovo stuff isn't the answer, but here it is. I've been trying to figure out what is the absolute cheapest solution to create response systems for large (50-3000 person) computer-assisted meetings (CAM).

    Generally this is done by buying each person a laptop, or a few people at a small table share one. Way too expensive. I then heard schools (in the U.S.?) were using something with success called a pad system which is apparently either a single keypad,

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