IBM's Global Technology Services will provide consultation, assessment, planning, design, and implementation of a "virtual infrastructure" of client computers for customers implementing a strategy where most if not all of the processing is done by the server and users have a thin client or "dumb terminal" on their desktop. The new services come about a year after IBM announced its Virtualized Hosted Client Infrastructure platform, which lets businesses deliver up to 15 desktop computing environments from one server blade.
The virtualized client model being offered by IBM is being used internally by the company, which currently has about 350,000 "end-points" within the company providing "substantial benefit" in reducing cost to the company, says Pat Bolton, chief technical officer of IBM's end user services business unit.
"This is a factory model," she says. "By eliminating the labor and automating the management to deliver the platform elements we can reduce cost and release the benefit that comes from server-based end-user computing."
Two new services are being introduced this week. Software platform management services provide for the electronic distribution and installation of workstation software packages and data from a central point with minimal user intervention, Bolton says. The service supports the operating system, network protocols, hardware drivers, core applications, and operating system patch management.
A platform integration and deployment service offers range of activities from the procurement of end-user equipment, including PCs, kiosks, ATMs, and mobile devices, to overseeing the staging and testing of the equipment. The service can include a site survey, equipment installation and on-site training.