The company had 250 PCs running Windows 95 in remote sites across Europe with no on-site IT support. Using the Wyse Alcatraz management tool, Quaker said it was able to make use of its old PCs.
Stuart Riches, IT manager at Quaker, famous for its porridge oats, said the move saved the firm from having to replace half of its PCs, which would have cost £125,000. "We reckon we could add two to three years to the life of our PCs," he said.
Quaker used a beta version of Wyse Alcatraz, which was officially launched on 2 June. Alcatraz enables IT departments to "lock down" old PCs and turn them into thin client terminals that can be managed remotely. Quaker now uses three distributed servers and one central server to manage its terminals. Migrating local applications off PCs and onto servers is helping to cut costs and make software roll-outs easier.
"It reduced the cost and timescale for the Citrix and Windows 2000 roll-out quite considerably," said Riches, who estimated that it had cut the roll-out time from up to one day per PC to about 30 minutes. "It has also removed all the problems with trying to manage the PCs remotely."
Security has improved as users can no longer change settings, and the firm has more control over its desktops. "It has enabled us to turn the PC s into fairly dumb terminals," said Riches.
The company will now gradually replace PCs with Wyse Winterms. "Where PCs are broken we put Winterms in - they are much more plug-and-play," said Riches.
This was first published in June 2003