Rail goes thin to cut PC costs

Tranz Rail is to migrate 600 of its 800 PCs to the Citrix on Linux in a project that aims to reduce the total cost of ownership for the desktop machines by 50%.

Tranz Rail is to migrate 600 of its 800 PCs to the Citrix on Linux in a project that aims to reduce the total cost of ownership for the desktop machines by 50%.

TranzRail infrastructure manager Gerard Keenan says the infrastructure department has minimal control over the desktop environment at present and there is inflexibility in its core systems.

"Today we don't have a standard desktop configuration -- we have about 30 different models."

The national rail and transport company will run the 600 PCs using Citrix MetaFrame ICA on Red Hat 7.2. Keenan says they're running the ICA client on Linux because Linux can be more effectively locked down than Windows 95, which was the machines' original operating system. The remaining 200 PCs will be hybrids running Windows 2000 and XP. The project is to proceed with the aid of new IBM xSeries servers and software and integration help from Citrix and Datacom.

Tranz Rail will also use Citrix's NFuse Elite access portal server, Keenan says. "We'll run Internet Explorer on the MetaFrame that will launch into the portal."

He says implementation will begin at the end of September and should be completed next March.

Citrix claims NFuse Elite allows secure access to personalised applications and content, making life easier for systems administrators. NFuse's architecture is XML-based and supports Microsoft's .Net web services platform.

Keenan says TranzRail would still have gone ahead with the thin client migration if NFuse Elite hadn't been available. "It's the icing on the cake."

Another New Zealand-originated company, health software specialist Dr Global, also uses NFuse Elite for its patient medical records management service.

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