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Qatar University eyes up Windows 7, thin clients

Qatar University begins testing of Windows 7, and confirms plans to place an order for 100 thin clients from HP

Qatar University eyes up Windows 7, thin clients
Qatar University has begun testing of Windows 7, says Javeed.

Qatar University's director of IT services, Muhammad Javeed, has expressed strong interest in implementing Microsoft Windows 7 at the university, making it one of the first institutions in the region to publicly announce Windows 7 plans.

The school has also confirmed placing an order for thin clients from HP, in an attempt to cut overall costs.

As a volume customer, Javeed received early access to the final code and has already begun testing the new OS to see if it meets the requirement of the university: "We will be starting in October once the public release is out. By that time, we should be ready. On rolling out, I will say that I will not roll out until the next semester. We're pretty much controlled by the semesters so we don't disturb things in the middle of the semesters.

"I was using Vista Business for the last six to seven months and I just moved to Windows 7 Professional now. We have to be proactive in our approach in order to support our customers. I don't have a choice, I have to act first. I have to know the issues and problems before other people discover them and tell us.  For us in terms of IT, we have to be the first adopters," he added.

One advantage for the school ‘s IT team in terms of testing Windows 7 for general dissemination is the current timing - with summer holidays in effect, most of the students and faculty are still away, giving Javeed time to fine tune his deployment.

"All are on vacation so the university's almost dead. We start normally with seven to ten people. It's mostly people in my IT department, except the application team - we don't allow them [to test Windows 7] because they're not supposed to be busy with these things, they're busy with ERP and so on," he stated.

While most enterprises typically wait until the first service pack to begin implementation of a new Microsoft OS, Javeed is confident that the new version of Windows will suffice for the university's needs.

"My team has been working on the beta and it has already gone through rigorous testing. I don't think we will be waiting for SP1. If you look at our Microsoft history, we did not wait for service pack one because XP was a result of the problems and issues which was encountered in Windows 2000 or Windows ME. Microsoft decided to go for XP instead of issuing another service pack," he said.

"On top of that, I'm rolling out virtual desktop clients as well. It will use VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) - we're just placing an order. We're testing HP thin clients with wireless connectivity. We're going to buy 100 of them - already it's in the purchasing process," added Javeed.

In terms of usage, he does not reveal where the new thin clients will slot into the organisation's IT infrastructure, but hopes that they can be put to good use for the university's many events.

"For example, we have several conferences where we need to set up terminals for people to check their e-mails or print documents. We can put these up very quickly without giving them passwords. It's just a standalone device which works on wireless as well. You hang it up behind the screen and just start - that's it," claimed Javeed.

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