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Re: [K12OSN] Anyone quantified savings using LTSP?

On Sun, 2008-01-27 at 11:25 -0800, Bill Moseley wrote:
> I've seen a few use-cases where some claims are made on cost savings
> using LTSP.  I'm curious if anyone here has looked at this recently at
> their own schools.

The APS project was large enough to generate some good numbers. Good
enough that they are looking at moving ahead and doing more.
> I was looking at thin clients the other day, and although I'm not sure
> the very inexpensive $85 Norhtec clients have enough power, it's
> looking like $150-$200 clients are possible. 

These are nice and seriously low cost. Yes they are "slight" in terms of
horsepower but the server is doing all the work anyway. I have had
decent playback ability using them to play stuff like <gag> United
Streaming <spit>. However, for things like TuxMath they are quite slow
as they can't refresh the screen fast enough. They are PERFECT (!!!) for
a library setting where the use will be a web site for catalog searches
and maybe using OpenOffice or other writing tools.
> Our school is considering one option of using the Mac Mini for the
> student workstations.  So potentially, that's $400+ savings up front
> per seat if using something like a $200 thin client.  Actually, that
> might be an underestimate considering that the thin client hardware
> would probably have a longer duty cycle than stand-alone workstation.

Things with fans tend to have fans that need to be replaced.
> Of course, it's not that hard to come up with donated PCs, so that's a
> bigger savings.

Old PC's are the way to get the thin client process _started_. The are
large, hot, heavy and often come with the old CRT monitor. All power
> Software purchase, upgrades, and licensing seem like another
> significant per-seat expense.  I assume most schools migrated from
> Windows, but the licensing requirements might be similar to Apple.
> Anyone have any numbers in this area?

Apple and M$ are similar in terms of licensing for schools. 
> Energy savings might be a consideration, too.  Some of the thin
> clients have very low power consumption.  Swapping out 100 PCs with
> 300 watt power supplies to 100 thin clients that consume 10 watts
> might not be a huge difference in cost but not insignificant.

Swap out 100 PCs @ 300W plus 100 CRT's at 200W (not sure on this number
- may be much lower) to thin clients at @12W and LCD monitors @ 25W =
46.3kW savings in the classrooms. There will be an increase in the
server closet. A single server can run those 100 clients at around 650W
plus another 20-40W of switching. Add some power use for things like
battery backup (typical is 1/10 of the expected output load - so 65W
here is a good estimate - it's higher during battery exercise cycles)
and the power use for cooling (a single 650W server can be adequately
cooled using a 10,000 BTU window AC unit running at under 50% duty cycle
- around 3kW). So the savings are now around 42.5kW. But let's finish
the math:
Assume all the systems run 7 hours a day during school days (typically
180 days per school year). So 7.5kW X 7 hours/day X 180 days/SY X
$0.10/kW-H = $945/school year for student computer use.

If you use the old systems it will cost $6300.

What can you do with a $5355 savings in a _school_ budget? :)

> Finally, it's hard not to imagine the management of 100 thin clients
> is significantly less than 100 workstation.  Still, I doubt that often
> results in any savings.  Rather just a change in admin tasks.  Have
> you realized any quantifiable differences in management costs?

The management of 100 clients consists of 
1. Is the power, network, monitor, keyboard, mouse and sound all plugged
in? If yes, it all works. If no, plug it in.

The servers actually require very little maintenance to keep them
running. Once the server is up and tuned, it just mostly works
unattended. However if you want to start adding things then you need a
good sysadmin. All the _real_ work happens between semesters and even
that is not horrid.
> Anything else?
> -- 
> Bill Moseley
> moseley hank org
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James P. Kinney III          
CEO & Director of Engineering 
Local Net Solutions,LLC        

GPG ID: 829C6CA7 James P. Kinney III (M.S. Physics)
<jkinney localnetsolutions com>
Fingerprint = 3C9E 6366 54FC A3FE BA4D 0659 6190 ADC3 829C 6CA7

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