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3/29/2008
11:30 PM
Joe Hernick
Joe Hernick
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Cinci Bell Goes Thin With Sun

I wrote on Sun's VDI upgrade earlier this month. Charlie Babcock interviewed Jeff Harvey from Cincinnati Bell on his company's VDI deployment for our 3/31 issue.

I wrote on Sun's VDI upgrade earlier this month. Charlie Babcock interviewed Jeff Harvey from Cincinnati Bell on his company's VDI deployment for our 3/31 issue.While I see Sun's VDI as a pretty slick any-to-many broker for desktop virtualization, we all know Sun is also hoping to move a bunch of thin clients out the door. According to Harvey, CB's project manager, he'll be moving 750 Win2K desktops to Sun Rays. Not surprisingly, the target desks are mainly folks wearing headsets. Check out Charlie's piece here...

We've all heard this pitch before. Heck, I inherited a MetaFrame (pre-Presentation server, pre-XenApp) ICA cluster a couple of jobs back and had mixed personal feelings.

I can say: 1. My budgetary 'feelings' weren't mixed. 2. My admins & support staff loved the environment. 3. My users, um, didn't.

Have user attitudes changed over the last four years?

Do enterprises care about user feelings?

The cluster's operational costs were pretty much flat for five years. Those 30 seats are probably still rolling on the original terminals. We did one server SW + HW rev on my watch with no user downtime to "upgrade" all seats. Pointing all terminals to the new back-end was seamless; users came to work and found a 'faster' machine on the desk.

Sun's VDI looks to deliver a pretty robust user experience on a variety of user hardware: PCs, Macs, or terminals. I feel that one of the big benefits of VDI is the flexibility of its Java-based client app; sites can roll out a portfolio of desktops as appropriate to pretty much any flavor of hardware. Lock 'em down, leave 'em be, or give 'em an inexpensive screen, keyboard and mouse. Let 'em work from home. It doesn't matter.

Sun Rays list from $249 up to $849 for an all-in-one with 17-inch LCD. VDI is licensed at $149 per concurrent seat. You'll need to contemplate your navel for a bit to see if those numbers make short- and long-term sense for your shop. It seems they do for Cincinnati Bell.

There has been a bunch of reader commentary to Charlie's piece, mostly on the relative ROI/TCO/etc. merits of terminal-based solutions. It's worth reading; well-defended viewpoints, strong opinions, some minor name calling, and solid peer feedback.

Whatever your opinion on the thin-client debate, we're all going to be seeing different flavors of desktop virtualization and respective delivery mechanisms becoming a (the?) major operating model in the not-so-distant future.I wrote on Sun's VDI upgrade earlier this month. Charlie Babcock interviewed Jeff Harvey from Cincinnati Bell on his company's VDI deployment for our 3/31 issue.

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