February 18, 2009 By News Report
Userful and ThinNetworks today announce that they have been selected to supply 356,800 virtualized desktops to schools in all of Brazil's 5,560 municipalities.
This initiative will provide computer access to millions of children and adolescents throughout the country. It is a historical achievement, said the companies in a relese, being the world's largest ever virtual desktop deployment, the world's largest ever desktop Linux deployment, and a new record low-cost for PCs with the PC sharing hardware and software costing less than $50 per seat.
The decision to deploy Userful and ThinNetworks' low-cost and environmentally friendly desktop virtualization solution establishes the Brazilian Ministry of Education as a global leader in computer education and provides other governments and institutions worldwide with a proven model for improving student to computer ratios while rolling out large numbers of desktops with minimal cost and environmental impact.
Userful offers the features of a full PC including high performance video for less than $50 per additional seat in large deployments (not including monitors and keyboards) and uses standard PC hardware including additional low-cost video cards and USB/2-way-audio hubs from ThinNetworks. Userful and ThinNetworks are providing the desktop virtualizaton and PC sharing software and hardware while Positivo, Daruma, and Itaultec are providing the PCs and services. Userful and ThinNetworks have been selected in a competitive bidding process for all three phases of the project. The first phase, 18,750 workstations in rural schools, has already been installed and they are functioning well.
Userful's cost saving ability to turn 1 computer into up to 10 independent workstations enabled the Brazilian government to supply its schools with an unprecedented number of computer workstations.
Savings of 60 percent in up-front costs, 80 percent in annual power savings and additional savings in ongoing administration and support costs as compared to a traditional PC-per-workstation solution all contributed to making 356,800 new workstations for Brazil's school children possible.
Up to 10 users can work on a single computer by simply attaching extra monitors, mice and keyboards. "This deployment alone saves more than 170,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually, the same as taking 28,000 cars off the road, or planting 41,000 acres of trees", said Userful's Sean Rousseau. Turning 1 computer into 10 reduces computer hardware waste "e-waste" by up to 80 percent, further decreasing its environmental footprint. A free 2-user version of Userful Multiplier software for home use is available online.
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.