Thin Clients and Virtualization Help to Protect the Climate and Save Electricity
Study shows IGEL thin clients and VMware View™ or Citrix XenApp™ / XenDesktop™ lowers global warming potential by up to 63% compared to traditional PCs
Reading, UK. April 13, 2011 – A new study shows that IGEL thin clients in a virtual desktop environment can be up to 63% less harmful to the environment than a traditional PC deployment. The independent study, conducted by the renowned Fraunhofer Institute in Germany, analyzed two scenarios with virtual desktop infrastructures (VDIs) across their entire lifecycle.
In the first scenario at a Dutch healthcare organization, the combination of IGEL thin clients and virtual desktops based on VMware View™ proved to be 47% less harmful to the climate than a PC workstation with locally installed applications put to equivalent use. This research covered the entire lifecycle of the device: from its production, over a five-year period of operation, all the way to its ultimate disposal.
In the second installation at Fraunhofer, using Citrix XenApp™ and Citrix XenDesktop™ virtualization software, the global warming potential (GWP) calculated over the entire lifecycle, with a service life of three years, was 30% to 63% that of the PC workstation control scenario, depending on the type of user involved.
For medium-level users, the combination of an IGEL thin client and a shared desktop provisioned via Citrix XenApp™ (terminal server) is currently the best solution from an ecological and energy-efficiency perspective. Compared to the control scenario with a conventional PC workstation, this configuration decreases the global warming potential (GWP) over its entire lifecycle by 63%. For a medium-level user, the GWP, measured in kilograms of CO2-equivalent (kg CO2eq), is 417 kg CO2eq for a conventional PC workstation and just 156 kg CO2eq for an IGEL thin client, including its terminal server share.
The study also showed that most of the climate-relevant advantages of thin client/VDI solutions are accounted for by savings during their operational phase. Depending on the application scenario and user type, 61% to 77% of the greenhouse gases emitted throughout the lifecycle are from operation, followed by 17% to 28% during production.
IGEL Thin Clients: Universally Deployable End-User Devices
In both of the installations examined, thin clients from IGEL Technology were used. The lean, non-proprietary thin clients (model used: IGEL Universal Desktop UD3 LX) support traditional terminal server environments running Citrix or Microsoft, as well as desktop virtualization solutions from VMware®, Citrix®, Microsoft®, Red Hat® and other providers. In direct comparison to a typical PC workstation, the compact thin client with a service life of three years causes just 122 kg CO2eq, while a desktop PC used for the same amount of time causes between 417 and 692 kg CO2eq (ranging from medium-level user to power user).
Conclusion: Thin Clients a Definite Alternative to PCs
“Our conclusion from the study is that thin clients are definitely more environmentally-friendly and cost effective than the desktop PC,” declared Christian Knermann, Project Manager of the environmental impact study and Deputy Head of the IT Management department at Fraunhofer UMSICHT. “From an IT point of view, desktop virtualization is a prudent extension of the terminal server model, which provides for particularly demanding user scenarios in an efficient and environmentally conscious way. The integration of both technologies ultimately allows us optimal capacity utilization of our server hardware.”
“We are delighted with this informative study because it offers our customers further guidance and motivation to centralize their IT infrastructures in the interests of sustained cost savings,” added Simon Richards, UK General Manager at IGEL Technology. “We’re also pleased that both scenarios show how IGEL thin clients contribute to climate protection and to reduction of electricity costs.”
A full copy of the report can be found at: http://it.umsicht.fraunhofer.de/TC2011/index_en.html
 The global warming potential (GWP): The global warming potential (GWP) or CO2-equivalent specifies the extent to which a defined quantity of a greenhouse gas contributes to the greenhouse effect. The reference value is given in terms of carbon dioxide; the abbreviation is CO2eq (for equivalent). The value represents the average warming effect over a defined length of time; often, this time period is 100 years.