A Deloitte and Touche investigation for the Queensland Government has concluded that network computing is beneficial only to certain applications and should not be considered as a viable alternative to all PC environments.
The study was conducted by Queensland-based integrators NC Data, Southmark and Tektronix in an attempt to establish a clear comparison between the "fat PC" and network computing, including issues of cost, relevance of a network to particular circumstances and application and support demands. According to Michael Beckett, senior manager at Deloitte Consulting, "network computing is specific in that it applies to certain roles and is more suited to administrative tasks as opposed to high-end media functions". Beckett claims that the more power that is used and the more complicated an application the more suitable a PC will be. He suggests that this is unlikely to change even with future developments in network computing.
However, for selected users, network computing can reduce the total cost of ownership by up to 22 per cent, a figure validated by a recent Gartner Group report, Beckett added. The dilemma is therefore the cost of the initial outlay in intro- ducing this mechanism into a PC and UNIX-based system.
Then there is also the possibility that you might be spending a fortune on a network that is totally irrelevant to your company's, or even your department's, needs.
According to Paul York, director, Strategy and Planning, Queensland Department of Communication and Information, the Queensland Government commissioned the report in an attempt to "solve the dilemma of how to drive down the cost of desktop ownership without having an adverse effect on service delivery".
All the hype
Beckett added that the Government wanted to be assured that computer networking "is viable, especially considering all the hype surrounding it".
In pursuit of this goal, Deloitte has determined the total cost of ownership of a managed PC in the Queensland Government. However, Deloitte sources warn that this information does not necessarily transcend the very limited boundaries of the study.