Offices in Canary Wharf are struggling to get access to enough power to run all their IT equipment and as a result are finding it difficult to scale up their operations, according to a leading provider of energy efficient thin client technology.
Neoware - which develops thin client devices that simply provide users access to the network, allowing firms to run applications traditionally found on individual PCs on a central server – claims it has been recently contacted by several Canary Warf-based firms who are investigating replacing their energy-hungry PCs with thin clients as the best means of ensuring they can employ more people in their offices.
The problem of not being able to get enough power into a building to run a datacentre has become increasingly familiar over the last few years, but according to Andrew Gee, sales manager for Northern Europe at Neoware, the problem is now extending onto the office floor.
"Businesses are finding they can't get more people onto the floor and can't populate the office more densely because they simply can't get the power into the building to run the PC's," said Gee. "The problem is particularly acute in the finance sector where people can have two or three machines on their desks and it is beginning to put a constraint on growth and making it impossible for firms to maximise returns from their office space."
With thin clients [pictured model Neoware e90] typically having no moving parts and using up to 90 percent less energy than a typical PC according to a recent benchmarking report from Neoware, the technology is emerging as an attractive alternative for power constrained firms.
Even where firms have no such power constraints interest in thin clients is growing, according to Gee, as concerns mount about energy costs, data loss and the environment.
"Our report showed that based on average electricity prices a company with 35,000 PCs can save £1.6m a year on electricity bills alone by replacing them with our thin client devices," he said. "The enhanced security and manageability you get with everything being run off a central server are also proving big drivers for adoption… and as the products mature and diversify the number of customers thin clients don't suit diminishes."
One such example of this diversification was Neoware's recent launch of a thin client laptop that provides a connection to the network using broadband, wifi or 3G. Gee explained that the new product was designed to appeal to customers concerned about the threat of data breaches associated with lost laptops, as any lost thin client laptop would not contain any data.
The environmental benefits associated with the thin clients limited energy consumption are currently regarded as more of a "side benefit" by customers, Gee admitted. But he added that interest in the issue is growing, particularly amongst public sector customers who are under government directive to reduce their energy consumption.
"At the moment the green interest is focused around government customers, but I see it expanding across the board as businesses realise they have to use their power more efficiently and their employees start to demand that they take practical green action," he said.
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