Defence mulls thin client

The Defence Force is understood to be considering a switch to thin-client computing. Computerworld understands the NZDF is undertaking a feasibility study to assess a server-based architecture for the army, navy and airforce.

The Defence Force is understood to be considering a switch to thin-client computing.

Computerworld understands the NZDF is undertaking a feasibility study to assess a server-based architecture for the army, navy and airforce. The decision on whether or not to go to thin clients shouldn’t impact NZDF’s plans to consolidate its storage over the next 18 months.

NZDF has just completed its storage strategy for the next three years. It expects to spend about $1.5 million on storage in the next year. However, the storage project won’t go ahead until the computing architecture has been decided.

The NZDF commissioned analyst and consultant firm Gartner to investigate its storage provision and the resulting report has been used as the basis for a new storage strategy. NZDF chief technology officer Warwick Sullivan won’t comment on the move to thin clients.

Sullivan says the storage report recommends the use of storage area networks, a technology the NZDF has already deployed in a number of instances and with which its IT staff have a degree of competence.

Future equipment purchases will be selected predominantly from two storage vendors. Sullivan declined to name them, but both Compaq and EMC gear figure heavily in SANs recently implemented by the army, navy, airforce and defence headquarters.

Sullivan says one of the other key Gartner findings was that storage should be considered just like other IT purchases — it has a finite life and hardware/software refresh cycles offer the opportunity to introduce new technologies. As a result NZDF will buy storage as it needs it and take advantage of commodity-based price changes.

“Disaster recovery and business continuity were assessed as the major requirements for NZDF storage. As a result the need for greater data consolidation has been accepted with changes being implemented in a phased approach,” Sullivan says.

Hierarchical storage management will become the norm, he believes, as total storage costs are contained through the appropriate use of different storage mechanisms.

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