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.
Help desk, user support, diverse skills availability
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
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.
Many models cover hardware and infrastructure (networks) as well as
end-of-life replacements, but miss the major cost areas of:
Application development and packaged software, both personal and
operations [enterprise adminstration]
Data Management and structure (employee records, customer tracking,