06 September 2010

Greening Offices

As we move into a new awareness of resource scarcity, businesses are finally realizing that greener practices go hand in hand with productive and cost efficiencies.

I came across a program called CitySwitch, run by the Australian government that attempts to bring big office tenants under wing and the results seem impressive.

What I did notice, however, consistently across a lot of this greening is that our computer systems are frequently overlooked.

How about considering thin client technologies as a replacement for traditional desktops where specialized software is not required? We consistently see energy saving bulbs, green architecture, behavioral programs, and so on, but hundreds, upon thousands of power hungry PCs are still the de-facto arrangement in offices. Odd to me considering the problems associated with them and the applicability of newer approaches and technologies and the advent of the Cloud.

The 80-90% use case of word-processing, spreadsheets, email and group-ware are far more efficiently deployed centrally.

The keys here are:

- Thin client hardware, far smaller manufacturing, energy and emissions footprint.

- System consolidation, simpler management and scaling of infrastructure.

- While data centers are huge resource users, they are also far more easily optimized than lots of individual desktops or user-endpoints, e.g. converting a data center from AC to DC based already cuts waste without even having to reconfigure any software.

- Cloud-themed approaches to this are also more and more available eliminating a lot of the capital costs related to systems deployment.


  1. I've got a Vista Home Basic desktop serving as my HTPC. It's a 3GHz Core2Duo and has my storage so I would like to use my XP Pentium M laptop as a thin client running as another user without interrupting the HTPC functionality.

    Any suggested hardware/software upgrades to achieve this? Do I have to upgrade Vista to Professional?

  2. No, you probably don't have to do the upgrade.

    There's a lot of options for this these days -- have you checked out NComputing? They have good and simple thin client solutions for home users. The only caveat I'd put there is that it can sometimes conflict with Windows update patches, but the same might be said of many similar PC sharing products.

    For a software only solution you might consider ThinStuff ( You can probably get away with the lite version which is cheap (below $40).