Eplica Services: Our thin client move yielded ROI in nine months

Summary:I had an opportunity to chat with Brad Taylor, of Eplica Services, recently. During that discussion, I asked him a few questions about how his organization is using products from Neoware.

I had an opportunity to chat with Brad Taylor, of Eplica Services, recently. During that discussion, I asked him a few questions about how his organization is using products from Neoware.

Please tell me who you are and a bit about your organization.

Brad is a Systems Architect for Eplica Services. He helped define the architecture Eplica is using to help its customers deploy IT systems and services. Eplica Services has been in existence for over 2 years.

What does your organization do that needs what Neoware offers?

Eplica Services specializes in providing back-office support, systems and strategies to help businesses, succeed. The company provides services such as Payroll and Accounting, Information Systems, Safety/Risk Management, Legal and Human Resources, Marketing/Web Services as well as Management Consulting. The company provides day-to-day services for its customers. At this time, over 90% of the companies it serves are staffing companies.

Eplica Services acts as the IT department for a these companies. Acting at the IT resource for so many customers means that they have to deal with many different products, many different business models and many different styles of doing business. So, Eplica has to be flexible enough to provide services to in many ways to many customers and make the whole IT environment easy-to-use, customer friendly and, most of all, extremely cost-effective.

What products were considered before Neoware was selected?

Five years ago they started looking into virtualizing access to computing solutions. The primary tool selected was to deploy thin client/server-centric computing environments. They looked at HP, Neoware, Wyse and roughly 15 other suppliers. After some consideration, the field was narrowed to HP, Neoware and Wyse.

Why was Neoware selected over the competition?

Neoware was selected due to the strength of its management software, including number of management functions and how easy it was to use those functions. Brad pointed out that an additional benefit that influenced the section of Neoware over the other competitors was the fact that Neoware had a single hardware platform that could support several operating systems. This provided Eplica with the broadest range of options without also requiring the purchase of many different types of hardware. In Eplica's market, that's quite a competitive advantage.

What tangible benefits has your organization gotten from the deployment of Neoware products?

They able to deploy their IT infrastructure in a new customer's offices in a matter of days rather than a matter of weeks. Eplica's support costs are dramatically reduces because thin clients are black boxes and that means that it is no longer necessary for Eplica to stock replacement disks and other PC parts.Neoware's management tools made it possible for two staff positions to be reallocated to support other functions.

Eplica did a study of the costs and the benefits of moving to this environment and discovered that they achieved a positive return on their investment in only 9 months! Over the first two years, the company saved over $300,000.

Eplica started deploying VDI-based desktops recently and this is improving both the ROI and cost savings because they can use lower speed network links and still offer customers expected responsiveness and overall performance.

Do you have any advice for others who may be facing similar challenges?

Brad said that thin clients offer great advantages over PCs. It does take time, however for people to get used to the idea of a Thin Client. They're simply not going to be able to pop a music CD in the DVD drive and play music. The thin client devices don't offer this type of user accessible storage. So, it is important to educate the staff on the benefits they'll receive including the ability to work at any desk in any office and help them understand that the trade off is a good one for the company.

Brad says that it's been smooth sailing since the staff has gotten used to the new environment.

A bit about Neoware

Neoware, Inc. (Nasdaq:NWRE), describes itself in the following way: Neoware, provides enterprises throughout the world with secure and easily managed thin client computing devices, software for using PCs as thin clients, and services that integrate Neoware’s open thin client technology to enterprise computing environments. Neoware software manages and secures thin clients and traditional personal computers, enabling them to…

  • Run Linux®, Microsoft® Windows® and Web applications across a network
  • Stream virtualized operating systems on demand
  • Connect to mainframes, mid-range, UNIX® and Linux® systems

Neoware's products are available worldwide from select, knowledgeable resellers, as well as via its partnerships with industry leaders like IBM and Lenovo.

Snapshot Analysis

Neoware is focused tightly on server-based computing and offers thin client hardware, operating systems for that hardware and remote access of virtual machines. It offers support for the following access and processing virtualization software:

  • IBM Virtualized Client Solution (VCS)
  • VMware® Virtualized Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
  • Citrix® Dynamic Desktop Initiative (DDI)

Neoware appears to be competing with suppliers such as Computer Lab International (CLI), Hewlett-Packard, Igel, and Wyse. They obliquely compete with HP and ClearCube, suppliers of PC Blade computers and related software.

Server-centric computing, by the way, is the reincarnation of an old idea, time sharing. This approach has been the mainstay of the mainframe and single-vendor midrange worlds for decades.

Deploying this type of solution could be very helpful for organizations who want task-oriented, administrative and executive staff to have the benefits of a personal computer without having to become system operators in the process. This approach is also beneficial to a subset of knowledge workers and development staff.

It is clear that re-centralizing the computing could reduce ongoing costs of installation, administration, updating software while increasing levels of security. Neoware is not the largest vendor in this arena but, has interesting products that would be worth considering if the organization has embarked on a thin client/server centric computing project.

Organizations needing to address a larger need for an orchestrated environment based upon other forms of virtualization technology, such as application, processing, storage and/or network virtualization, may also be well advised to also consider the products of suppliers such as Cassatt, DataSynapse, Scalent Systems and others.

Topics: Virtualization, Hardware

About

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He is responsible for research, publications, and operations. Mr. Kusnetzky has been involved with information technology since the late 1970s. Mr. Kusnetzky has been responsible for research operations at the 451 Group; corporate and... Full Bio

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