Lenovo Goes Thinner with Thinkpad Desktops

By Judy Mottl | Posted November 20, 2008

Lenovo has launched a new desktop client that the Chinese PC maker said reduces management costs and bolsters data storage and security while retaining full computing functionality.

The Secure Managed Client (SMC) is a hard-drive free ThinkCentre desktop. It has all the looks and markings of a thin client computer, given the cost savings that thin clients promise. Lenovo estimates SMC can cut the average $120 monthly spend on PC management to about $70 per desktop.

"The solution has two overarching goals. Goal one is to preserve the fidelity of the PC. Goal number two is to keep the solution cost similar or lower than the desktop its replaces," said Rich Cheston, Lenovo's executive director and a distinguished engineer.

SMC is geared for small and medium size businesses seeking efficient total cost of ownership (TCO) ratios, said Cheston.

Lenovo is the latest among PC makers to pitch a thin client computing solution to business customers as a secure form of computing that cuts out the hard drive from the client-server computing equation. HP, for example, offers an array of thin clients to customers in order to address desktop replacement costs, make clients more secure and provide improved data access to mobile or remote workers.

But Lenovo claims this release is more than that. The SMC features, executives say, offer several significant benefits over current server-based computing options such as blade PCs, thin clients or desktop virtualization. For example, Lenovo said, the SMC ThinkCentre can easily be converted back to a traditional desktop PC by re-enabling the hard drives.

The desktop offering is certainly a stripped down computing product at a time when businesses are trimming tech budgets . ChangeWave Research recently reported that 29 percent of companies polled would cut or stop IT spending in the fourth quarter of this year.

Lenovo has been getting a solid share of IT budgets in recent quarters, but has felt the same economic headwinds as other system vendors.

The world's fourth-largest PC maker posted a 65 percent increase in third quarter earnings, which was its slowest growth quarter in a year. Analysts expect its revenues to continue to grow given its top market share in China and emerging markets. This July Lenovo introduced the SL ThinkPad line designed specifically for smaller companies.

Lenovo said SMC can potentially save IT departments between $1,200 to $3,600 per PC, over three years, compared to current desktop environments, by saving customers on data management, software license monitoring and asset administration costs. The vendor said SMC is the first centralized computing model that is storage-based, and not server-based. Information from all desktops in an SMC fleet is stored in a safe, single location. Lenovo claims this reduces the threat of on-site theft of data.

"It takes advantage of iSCSI protocol to remotely locate data storage without even the user knowing their storage is not local," explained Cheston. This aspect, said Lenovo, eliminates deskside support and improves patching, migration, disposal, security and disaster recovery.

Adapted from Internetnews.com.

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