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London Council To Save £400,000 By Switching from Windows to Chromebooks

old-windows-xp-computerA London Borough Council (LBC) is switching thousands of its desktops from Windows to Chrome OS — a move it says will help save more than £400,000 in costs. 

The LBC for Barking and Dagenham began moving its employees over to Chrome OS devices in mid-2013, with the aim of total migration ahead of the Windows XP expiry date on April 8, 2014.

In addition to modernising their equipment, Rupert Hay-Campbell, of ICT at the borough, estimates that as much as £200,000 has been saved in licensing costs by forgoing Windows PCs in favour of Google’s free alternative. A further £200,000 saving is expected from reduced electricity costs owing to the energy efficiency of Chrome OS.

Google provide Chrome OS for free to PC makers, who pass on the saving to customers through lower retail pricing.

Some 3,500 desktop computers and 800 laptops running Windows are used by the council’s 3,500-strong workforce. 2,000 of these are being replaced with Chromebooks — specifically the Samsung Series 3 owning to its ‘impressive battery life and portability’ — while 500 desktop PCs in reception and shared working areas will be traded for low-cost Chromeboxes.

Not An Ideological Switch

While the council is dropping an overall dependence on Windows hardware, it’s not dropping its use of the OS.

Preexisting licensing agreements with Microsoft have allowed them to maintain around 600 desktop PCs running Windows  7 under perpetual license – something they argue will allow them to support obscure applications and workers with accessibility needs not met by Chrome OS.

The majority of the Chromebooks will act as thin clients connection via Citrix to a Windows environment. This will help ensure that legacy applications remain accessible to workers, such as Microsoft Office, but with reduced overhead in local administration.

The ultimate aim, Rupert says, is to move off of Citrix entirely, and into the browser on Chrome OS. For now workers will remain looking at the familiar Windows environment, just through a different window.

  • cheeto0

    “specifically the Samsung Series 3 owning to its ‘impressive battery life and portability’” isn’t that the Chromebook with the worst battery life ?

    • Stephen Mitchell

      That is a bit like saying “isn’t that the slowest Ferrari?”. The power consumption is very low compared to most x86 based laptops, and it doesn’t exactly weigh a tonne.

    • Sebastiaan Franken

      The “worst battery life” badge goes to the Acer C7xx series. The Samsung Series 3 is powered by a very energy efficient ARM chip.

      • cheeto0

        The c720 has some of the best battery life. more than double of the Samsung series 3. And if you are refering to the c710 that has been discontinued a long time ago. Im talking about current in production laptops, the Series 3 is the worst on almost all fronts including battery.

  • Stephen Mitchell

    I expect that this will become more commonplace in future, especially among SMEs, who tend to be more agile in moving infrastructure than big businesses.

  • Daniel Arthur

    “The majority of the Chromebooks will act as thin clients connection via Citrix to a Windows environment. This will help ensure that legacy applications remain accessible to workers, such as Microsoft Office, but with reduced overhead in local administration.”

    Is anyone able to further explain this and how it might be set up?

  • Jared Deklems

    Chrome OS? I mean, I love Chrome OS and all, but doesn’t GNU/Linux make a little more sense for the LBC, rather than Google/Linux?

  • Adam Greenblum

    Actually, there’s a lower cost and easier alternative to using Citrix for accessing Windows applications from Chromebooks. For example, Ericom’s AccessNow HTML5 RDP solution enables Chromebook users to securely connect to Terminal Server or VDI virtual destops (or almost any RDP host) and run their applications and desktops in a browser. It’s not necessary to have a Citrix infrastucture. AccessNow will work with Terminal Server (RDS) and most hypervisors.

    AccessNow does not require any installation on the Chromebook, so it’s easy to deploy and manage.

    For an online demo open your Chrome browser and visit:
    http://www.ericom.com/Demo-AccessNow-4-Chromebooks.asp?URL_ID=708

    Please note that I work for Ericom.