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     Gartner, IDG and other major analytic firms estimate that a typical Windows PC on a desktop in a typical corporate environment costs $12,000-$15,000 a year to run. This is based on a Total Cost of Ownership ("TCO") comparison, and one that might properly be presented to an IS administration _or_ at the executive management level.

A partial list includes:

     When one analytically sits down and actually runs the TCO of individual desktops against a server-thin client structure, things like a Unix terminal server user computing environment, or the much less economical Citrix / Windows terminal server (less economical because they cannot shed the local desktop support load and related per unit software expense), make lots of financial sense.

     The terminal server environment decreases the maintenance cost significantly over "fat" desktops. Then take the next step, and do an 80/20 analysis and move to a *nix Terminal Server design, and the Server OS cost: (no desktop OS, no installed local software, etc.) go to zero - the TCO is WAY, WAY lower than a Windows or even Mac (with it's 80% less TCO cost than Windows) desktop environment.

     OK, so let's be up front -- it DOES takes the "Personal" out of "Personal computer", but, put in financial terms, there is NO basis for any argument.

     There are some real needs, for power users and legacy applications for the proprietary environment tools -- So, take a look: What is the cost of adding 1 Win2k Server to a Terminal Server environment? The $700 price of the software? No, conservatively put, the initial cost of the install is the $15,000 range, with at least this in recurring TCO costs, after dulution of support, maintenance, lost productivity from outages, and upgrade over the life of the asset.

     Whenever you figure out the TCO on something, there is both the non-recurring (plan, design,implement) cost, and the recurring (operate, maintain) costs. Keep that in mind as well. And it is not a factor of what you are paid, but how many hours it takes, and how many different diverse skills it takes to support the complexities of a "real" IT environment.

Pitfalls

     Many models cover hardware and infrastructure (networks) as well as end-of-life replacements, but miss the major cost areas of:

     Many approaches also, to varying degrees, miss the very real cost point of distinguishing non-recurring (plan, design, and implement) vs. recurring (operate, maintain) phased of the TCO life cycle.

     In addition, they can fail to take into account, in all phases, the person-day factor and expense budget, when the models focus on capital budget, wiring, and service costs.

       

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Last modified: Mon, 14 Mar 2005 13:01:48 -0500
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