NEC takes on fat PCs

NEC Computers has launched a new thin client architecture, which it claims can replace regular PCs entirely for most organisations.

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By  Eliot Beer Published  December 6, 2006

|~|tagger200v.jpg|~|“We have been clear for a few years that the thin client architecture is the future, but needed some additional work.” Jean-Claude Tagger, CEO, NEC Computers |~|Last month NEC Computers launched what it is hoping will be the first ‘mainstream’ thin client system, offering integrated peer-to-peer IP telephony, as well as on-client audio and video processing. The new US100 client works in conjunction with two NEC Express5800 120 Ri2 servers, which include administration functions, along with a single SV7000 IP telephony server; these servers can handle up to 20 clients. The key differentiator for NEC is that it claims its new thin clients will be able to replace normal desktop PCs with no loss of performance for the user in the vast majority of cases. This claim stems from the built-in multimedia processing, which allows high-quality audio and video at the desktop, as well as the power behind the clients, in the form of the Intel Woodcrest-based servers. “We have been clear for a few years that the thin client architecture is the future, but needed some additional work,” says Jean-Claude Tagger, CEO of NEC Computers. “We needed to develop the chipset, and increase the level of integration of the hardware. The virtualisation technology has developed – two years ago there was virtualisation on the server, but not to the level we are seeing now. I also think we needed to have really powerful servers. “So to bring all of these together, along with the management and the audio and video which we had already, I don’t think we could have done it before this point – maybe three months earlier, but not before that,” he adds. The benefit of moving to the US100 thin client systems will be one of cost, according to NEC. The vendor is predicting TCO savings of up to 50%, but acknowledges this depends heavily on the individual circumstances of an organisation. “We are basing our predictions of up to 40% TCO savings on a number of different metrics – we have experience of the Japanese market, so we are adapting those figures for the situation in EMEA,” says Tagger. “For example, the thin client will cut energy consumption in half – in Belgium, this is very important, but in the Middle East where power is cheaper, it will be less significant. We are adapting our metrics country by country; what we are sure of is savings will be between 20% and 50%.” Companies will be able to stagger their adoption of the NEC thin clients – they will work with existing systems, according to NEC. Tagger expects organisations will initially adopt only a few of the units, until the mass of existing PCs reaches end-of-life. At this point, Tagger is hopeful organisations will adopt the thin client system wholesale.||**||

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