Centralized PCs rack up favor

A centralized PC architecture should be considered as an alternative to the traditional distributed desktop environment, according to a recently released study by the chief information officer at the Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

The total cost of ownership (TCO) study, which was conducted earlier this year, compared the traditional environment with a racked PC architecture from ClearCube Technology Inc.

The study recommended that CIOs at Air Force military treatment facilities should be given the option of a racked PC architecture or distributed PCs when it comes time to go through the Air Force Medical Support Agency's annual information technology refreshment process, said Capt. Tim Ohrenberger, the base CIO.

The study was conducted in Hill's medical group, which has 44 users and is housed in a building separate from the main facility. The group runs patient care for three clinics: optometry, pediatrics and the flight surgeon's office.

The medical facility faces everyday challenges concerning space, security and reliability, said Ohrenberger, who also serves as the information services flight commander at Hill's Tanner Memorial Medical Clinic.

Specific TCO study findings in the use of a centralized PC architecture vs. a distributed one included:

* A 96 percent time savings from 3.5 hours to nine minutes for imaging a PC.

* A 79 percent time savings from 43 minutes to nine minutes in retrieving or swapping a failed PC.

* A 95 percent time savings from 43 minutes to two minutes in user downtime.

* An 83 percent time savings in IT support for desktop and support calls.

"The qualitative and quantitative observations made during this pilot project demonstrate significant time savings for technical support and a significant increase in ease of use" with the centralized arrangement, according to Ohrenberger's study.

"These reductions in time and effort translate to real monetary savings. Additionally, the reduction in user downtime and time lost for replacement provides a more productive environment for the users. These savings can positively affect the cost of delivering health care in the tested environment."

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