Chapter 1: Going Thin with Terminal ServerThe Total Cost of Ownership
The idea of reducing the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is a simple one: Maximize the company's return on investment in technology while minimizing the cost involved in doing so. Terminal Server provides the ability to reduce the TCO of supporting users and their local workstations.
Moving the application processing completely off the user's desktop provides much greater flexibility in the implementation process than you would have with a standard desktop deployment.
Reusing Existing Technology Although a business may be interested in standardizing on the latest Windows-based applications, the heterogeneous computing environment of most companies doesn't allow for this change without replacing or upgrading the existing hardware. Terminal Server and MetaFrame provide the mechanism to deliver these new applications while at the same time extending the life of existing desktop hardware.
Centralized System Management
Terminal Server centralizes the management of three components that traditionally exist on the user's desktop: application support and maintenance, maintenance of the operating system, and storage management.
An important requirement for implementing Terminal Server and MetaFrame is the ability to scale to meet the changing needs of a business.
In addition to the standard Windows NT/2000 Security, Terminal Server includes features that enable you to establish a secure environ ment in which your user will operate.
The Total Cost of Ownership
Whenever someonementions the words "thin client," he or she usually follows it with a discussion of how it can do things such as reduce the cost of end-user support, improve administrative controls for information technology (IT) managers, and provide a means of true rapid application deployment. All these benefits fall collectively under what is termed Total Cost o f Ownership (TCO). The idea of TCO is simple: Maximize the company's return on investment (ROI) in technology while minimizing the cost involved in doing so. The costs you're attempting to minimize can be broken down into two categories: hard costs and soft costs. Hard costs include all capital costs, such as hardware or software, and are usually easily quantifiable. Soft costs are most often associated with support issues at the end-user's desktop, but can also include server-side support as it pertains to the user. Recovering accidentally deleted data is a common example. In most situations the majority of the soft costs are incurred at the end-user's desktop. The soft costs are usually much more difficult to measure beforehand and are very often based on historical data.
Calculating the hard costs for a project is usually fairly straightforward. You determine the hardware and software required and then total their cost. The total amount of hard cost savings in a Terminal Server implementation will vary depending on the type and scope of the project and what other implementation options are available.
Because Terminal Server and MetaFrame allow both Windows and nonWindows systems (UNIX, Macintosh, Java) to access the latest 32-bit software (as well as many older 16-bit and DOS applications), under most circumstances they can reduce or eliminate the need to purchase new client hardware. This can result in a reduction in the hard costs associated with the project and hence lower the TCO. Unfortunately, this leads many people to believe that TCO is related only to the hard costs. This is not the correct way to evaluate the total cost of ownership.
Consider this example. Company C has 200 employees, 125 of whom have Pentium systems running Windows 95, while the other 75 have Pentium II systems running Windows NT Workstation 4.0. Company C wants to upgrade all employees to run Windows 2000 Professional, Office 2000, and a new 32-bit application being developed. In addition to this, the users need to be able to continue using any other business-related applications that they're using today. The company is trying to decide on one of two options:
- Update all Pentium computers to support Windows 2000 Professional.
- Provide access from the existing desktops to this new environment using Windows 2000 Terminal Services.
Assuming that the desktop computers cost $1,500 each to replace, Company C is looking at over $185,000 just in hardware to upgrade the 125 Pentium workstations.
On the other hand, out of the 200 employees, the maximum number of concurrent users at any one time is only 100. Based on this fact, Company C determines that they could purchase two servers at approximately $25,000 per server, each of which would be able to support approximately 125 users. These two servers would be used to provide load balancing and completely support the environment if one failed.
Based on the hardware costs alone, the traditional desktop upgrade would cost $135,000 more than the Terminal Server solution.
Now consider this slightly different example. Once again we look at Company C, but this time all the computers are already capable of running Windows 2000 Professional, so no hardware upgrades are required. In this scenario, the Terminal Server implementation would incur an additional $50,000 in hardware costs...