TC-TS as Tech’s Pain Reliever

Following on my previous post on our learnings from the market, here is what we think are Tech’s Pain Points (“tyrannies”) and how our Thin Client-Thick Server (TC-TS) solution can provide relief:

1. Cost of Proprietary Software: After the hardware, the biggest universal cost is that of Microsoft Windows and Office. Till now, there really has been no alternative. StarOffice has been tried my various companies but one common issue has been that of performance (“too slow”). What TC-TS does is eliminates most of the USD 500 (Rs 25,000) per user cost of Windows and Office because of its use of open source (Linux, KDE, Evolution, Mozilla, OpenOffice, GAIM). OpenOffice is more than good enough for most users. For 30 users, it means a saving of USD 15,000 (Rs 7.5 lakhs). Because it runs OpenOffice on the server, perfomance and the desktop hardware becomes a non-issue (also see point 3 below).

2. Virus Menace: On the Windows desktop, one either needs anti-virus software (which costs additional money), or has to live in constant fear of a virus attack. TC-TS provides a virus-free environment.

3. Hardware Upgrades: Every new version of Windows requires desktops to be upgraded. More money to be spent to run the same applications! By moving computing to the server as TC-TS does, desktops never need to be upgraded. Instead the money saved can be used to provide a new set of users with computers. Now, all the old computers can be used rather than just be disposed off.

4. New Computer Cost: Every new computer costs at least USD 500-600 (Rs 25-30,000). By contrast, a TC (Thin Client) can be an old PC – like a Pentium II, with 233 Mhz processor and 16/32 MB RAM. No hard disk or CD-ROM drive is required. These desktops are available for less than USD 150 (Rs 7,500). Even newer stripped down machins will cost no more than USD 300 (Rs 15,000).

5. Computing for Everyone: This is now no longer a dream. Even if the TC costs are high, a shared set of terminals (TCs) can be set up with privacy guaranteed for each user.

6. Software upgrades: Every time a new version of software is released (or a new internal application needs to be deployed), all desktops need to be upgraded. In the case of TC-TS, the upgrade needs to be applied only on the server.

7. Remote Management: Desktops can be managed and configured from the server, dramatically easing the life of the IT team. Even the desktops of remote branch offices can be managed from the head office (through the Internet and the TS at the branch).

8. Centralised Backups: A big worry with desktops is backing up the individual desktops. With TC-TS, since storage is centralised, backups now become very easy.

9. Windows Applications support: This has been the biggest challenge. We now have solutions for this. For an additonal cost of USD 100 (Rs 5,000), a TC will be able to run almost every Windows application. This protects the legacy software written.

10. Double the Desktop: One issue with the desktop (which I have written about in my Tech Talk series this week on “Rethinking the Desktop”) is that we have moved from a stand-alone world to a networked and collaboration-centric world, but our desktop has not changed. The TC-TS Solution offers two desktops, separated only by a single click, thus effectively doubling the usable screen space at no additional cost. (I describe how the two Spaces can be used in my Tech Talk articles).

Overall, the cost savings are significant. Let us look at three scenarios: a Windows desktop, a Linux-only Thin Client, and a Linux Thin Client with full Windows applications support.

Windows Desktop – total cost: USD 900
– Hardware: USD 500
– Windows: USD 100
– Office: USD 300

Linux Thin Client Desktop – total cost: USD 300
– Hardware: USD 150
– Server Load: USD 50 (assuming USD 1500 server for 30 clients)
– TC Software: USD 100 (includes OpenOffice)

Linux Thin Client Desktop with Full Windows support – total cost: 500
– Hardware: USD 150
– Server Load: USD 50 (assuming USD 1500 server for 30 clients)
– TC Software: USD 100 (includes OpenOffice)
– Windows: USD 100
– Windows Emulator: USD 100

Thus, the savings are USD 400-600 (Rs 20,000-Rs 30,000) per desktop. Multiply this by the number of users in the organisation, and the savings can get quite big very quickly. That is the real opportunity for TC-TS, and what we need to highlight.

If the latest hardware exists, on the software front alone, the savings range from USD 50-250 (Rs 2,500-Rs 12,500), excluding hardware upgrades which new Windows versions may need.

Add to all this the other administration and management benefits, and the TC-TS solution now can look like a very powerful desktop alternative. Also, by dropping the cost of computing, it now becomes possible ti imagine new segments where we can deploy computers (eg. hotel rooms). This is the message we need to get out to prospective customers.

TC-TS is both a Pain Reliever and an Opportunities Creator.


Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.