Thin clients take second place as enterprise refreshes legacy XP PCs

In spite of industry noise concerning the merits of deploying virtual desktop infrastructures (VDIs), businesses appear to be in the midst of a PC revamp.

In spite of industry noise concerning the merits of deploying virtual desktop infrastructures (VDIs), businesses appear to be in the midst of a PC revamp.

Worldwide PC shipments reached 82.9 million units in the second quarter of 2010, a 20.7% increase from the second quarter of 2009, according to preliminary results by Gartner.

"Businesses did not upgrade PCs in 2009, but we are now seeing a PC replacement cycle," said Ranjit Atwal, principal research analyst at Gartner.

The main driver for the upgrade is moving off unsupported Windows XP SP2 onto Windows 7. Although XP will be supported until 2014, Atwal said companies replacing PCs now will most likely be installing them with Windows 7.

Atwal believes many business are still unsure whether their users will accept thin client and VDI to replace traditional desktop PCs. Although these approaches can potentially lower IT operation costs because client applications run on servers, Atwal said that many enterprises are unaware of how the cost benefits apply within their own organisations.

He said, "The PC offers a pretty rich client experience. The transition to thin client will happen, but it is happening much more slowly. So this year, businesses are replacing older PCs with new ones, rather than adopting VDI and thin client technologies."

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