HP initiative harks back to thin client computing

Hewlett-Packard wants to redefine traditional notions of how to best provision office workers with their own systems by enabling...

Hewlett-Packard wants to redefine traditional notions of how to best provision office workers with their own systems by enabling customers to move key PC functions, such as running applications and storing associated data, off desktops and into the data centre.

Chief strategy and technology officer Shane Robison said HP's initiative would enable administrators to manage their users' applications and information centrally, with a view to improving security, reliability and flexibility, while reducing costs through streamlined administration.

Users would no longer be tied to a primary machine, and could access their own set-ups through a variety of devices, including handhelds, laptops and stripped-down workstations.

Several companies, most notably Oracle and Sun Microsystems, heavily evangelised the concept of thin-client computing in the mid-1990s.

Robison said HP's new desktop architecture could be built around its OpenView management software and run on its blade servers,  which contain little more than microprocessors and memory.

The design could cut PC support costs by 70%, and reduce the four-year total ownership costs of corporate PCs by 40%, Robison estimated, although he offered no timeline on when customers could expect to begin seeing deliverables from the initiative.

Stacy Cowley writes for IDG News Service

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