Network computing no panacea

Network computing does have a place in enterprise architectures -- but is no panacea for enterprise-wide personal computing cost headaches, a leading consultancy claims.

A report by Deloitte Consulting into the potential for network computing to lower desktop costs for the Queensland government found network computing would only deliver significant benefits for niche groups of users.

The report said while the government could achieve savings of around one-fifth of total cost of desktop ownership for selected users by switching them from personal to network computing, it faced "significant" initial costs in introducing network computing into existing PC and Unix environments, particularly in terms of integration required, and faced further costs in re-coding and scripting changes for some departmental applications which are highly integrated with existing systems or not compatible with network computing products.

The consultants reached their conclusions after assessing approaches across two departments:

Queensland Health Citrix/WinFRAME model -- which uses a range of PCs and network computers, with the application focus around transaction processing and office-based applications such as patient records, financials and Microsoft Office suite;The Department of Family Services and Community Care's Microsoft/Citrix terminal-based server model -- using desktop PCs and X-terminals, with a focus on office and case-based applications, such as Lotus Notes and the Microsoft Office suite.

The report also found that:

to obtain the maximum benefits from the technology, user groups have to be selected according to their profiles and application mix; and

the technology is more likely to apply to specific groups within the enterprise rather than across the whole.