Thin client soft costs

Learn about the hazy subject of thin client soft costs and how to categorize them so you can understand their value and TCO.

Thin client soft costs

Savings on hardware are not the only way that Windows 2000 administrators can save their companies money by opting for a thin-client solution. This tip, excerpted from Windows 2000/NT Thin Client Solutions, by Todd W. Mathers, published by New Riders, discusses the soft side of the thin-client cost picture.

Although hard costs may or may not provide an initial reduction in TCO, the long term and more permanent savings come from the reduction in the overall support costs for the environment. Soft costs are so named because because they don't provide a definitive way of being calculated. This doesn't mean that they can't be calculated, but the costs aren't as clear-cut as hard costs.

Soft costs fall into three general categories:

  • Hardware Maintenance. The costs of servicing the user's local hardware, including computer upgrades, monitor servicing and so on.
  • Application support. The costs associated directly with the application that a user will run. This mainly has to do with application installation and upgrades.
  • End-user support. The costs associated with supporting the user. Providing assistance in using an application, configuring printers, scanning and removing viruses, and fixing desktop configurations that have been changed by the user are only a few examples.

Hardware Maintenance Support Costs
Terminal Server can provide savings in hardware maintenance costs by reducing the user's downtime while waiting for a PC to be repaired. A technician can simply bring a replacement PC, swap it for the faulty one, and take away the faulty machine for analysis and repair without further affecting the user's ability to work. Because no applications or data are maintained locally, the user is in no way tied to a specific machine.

Application Support Cost Savings
The costs of application deployment can be greatly reduced when applications are made available to users via Terminal Server.

End-User Support Cost Savings
Terminal Server can substantially reduce the end-user support costs both directly and indirectly. By moving the application software off the user's desktop and onto the Terminal Server, where it's installed and configured, you reduce the requirement for a support person to visit a user's desktop. As mentioned previously, because the software is configured the same way for all users, you no longer have intermittent problems with an improperly configured application for a few users, which a support technician must troubleshoot and resolve.

For more information on Windows 2000/NT Thin Client Solutions, or to buy this book, click here.


This was first published in October 2000

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