Linux | IT Infusion Inc

By: It Infusion  09-12-2011

As far as I’m concerned, Linux thin clients are a no-brainer for education, non-profits, and many businesses. The costs associated with purchasing, maintaining, and administering Windows based PCs is prohibitive even with the heavy discounts from Microsoft.

Scenario: High school with 200 Windows PCs.

  • Admin Costs – How many IT personnel is it going to take to properly administer a network with 200 PCs running Windows XP? I’d say at least 2, if not 3, full time equivalents.
  • Hardware Costs – How much is it going to cost to purchase those PCs? Minimally configured machines are going to run $500-600 (Canadian). You could beg for old donated PCs, but they are dog slow and break down pretty frequently which increases your admin costs.
  • Microsoft Licensing? A minimum of $10-15K per year.
  • Hardware Lifespan – What will be the average lifespan of those PCs before they have to be replaced? They get abused pretty badly so I’d put it around 3-4 years. Now you have to go out and replace them with new or donated hardware, configure them, roll them out, etc. This costs a lot of money.

Add it up and the school is looking at an IT budget that is easily $200K per year. Not cheap, especially for schools that are always trying to cut costs.

Scenario: High school with 200 Linux Thin Clients

  • Admin Costs – A Linux thin client network of this size can be managed by 1-2 individuals. Huge savings here.
  • Hardware Costs – Linux thin clients are half the price of new “thick” client PCs. Or you can just take donated PCs, pull out the hard drives, and then PXE boot them. Any way you slice it, you can save a lot of money on hardware.
  • Microsoft Licensing – You’ll never totally rid yourself of Microsoft, but the licensing can certainly be cut by at least 75%
  • Hardware Lifespan – The life span of Linux thin client hardware is going to be double that of comparable thick client hardware.

Schools, non-profits, and businesses that move to a Linux thin client infrastructure can easily cut their IT spending by 25-50%. Not only do the costs go down, but the performance and user satisfaction increases because the students and staff are now longer dealing with slow, unreliable, virus-ridden, computers. Linux thin clients are fast and reliable.

Like I said, in my mind it’s a no-brainer. What do you think?

The information in this article was current at 06 Dec 2011

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