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Badly needed advice for an IT review

Last response: in Business Computing
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February 28, 2013 6:33:31 PM

Hello,

I am hoping to squash all of your brains together and come up with the perfect solution!
No mean feat by any means! but one i shall try never the less!!

What i need from your genius like brains is a few ideas to drag our current platform into the 21st century. I am a techie so don't think i'm some idiot project manager with no clue about IT, that is not the case I assure you. What i want to do is come up with a few ideas as to how we can improve our current desktop landscape. We have a huge need to dump 1000's of exhausted Dell lattitude D531s, Tosh A10s, M5s and various ailing equipment, chuck Citrix in the bin with a view to work anywhere computing! I've been looking at Surface RTs which have had some shocking reviews and I am struggling to find the "all in one" pc. I want decent processors, lots of RAM or ideally SSD, I want decent connectivity for usb, i want to 3G\Wifi and a slick operating system which i can connect in to our corporate systems. Just to give you an idea of this, we're running office2010, exchange2010, Vsphere5 on an AD structure and of course have lots of bespoke software which creaks and moans under anything other than XP (this part is just yet another challenge!)

Anyway, if you could help advise as to where to start with the hardware that would be amazing!

February 28, 2013 6:49:19 PM

headscratcher_13 said:
Hello,

I am hoping to squash all of your brains together and come up with the perfect solution!
No mean feat by any means! but one i shall try never the less!!

What i need from your genius like brains is a few ideas to drag our current platform into the 21st century. I am a techie so don't think i'm some idiot project manager with no clue about IT, that is not the case I assure you. What i want to do is come up with a few ideas as to how we can improve our current desktop landscape. We have a huge need to dump 1000's of exhausted Dell lattitude D531s, Tosh A10s, M5s and various ailing equipment, chuck Citrix in the bin with a view to work anywhere computing! I've been looking at Surface RTs which have had some shocking reviews and I am struggling to find the "all in one" pc. I want decent processors, lots of RAM or ideally SSD, I want decent connectivity for usb, i want to 3G\Wifi and a slick operating system which i can connect in to our corporate systems. Just to give you an idea of this, we're running office2010, exchange2010, Vsphere5 on an AD structure and of course have lots of bespoke software which creaks and moans under anything other than XP (this part is just yet another challenge!)

Anyway, if you could help advise as to where to start with the hardware that would be amazing!


Slow down for a bit. What is it exactly that you're asking for? Assuming it's advice for replacements for your old hardware, what's the form factor? You mentioned Surface RTs, all-in-one PCs, but also talk about decent processors, lots of ram, and Windows XP, which are somewhat mutually exclusive.

February 28, 2013 8:13:46 PM

Get everyone an iPad. Perfect solution...
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February 28, 2013 8:16:27 PM

Ok, so the most basic requirement is for a tablet like device, something that can be used on the go (3g and wifi enabled) run the standard MS suite, and is also fit in to the standard office environment and be used just like you would a laptop. A good example would be the Ms surface RT

February 28, 2013 8:37:16 PM

headscratcher_13 said:
Ok, so the most basic requirement is for a tablet like device, something that can be used on the go (3g and wifi enabled) run the standard MS suite, and is also fit in to the standard office environment and be used just like you would a laptop. A good example would be the Ms surface RT


I doubt the Surface RT or iPad has all the software you need (virtual machines come to mind). The Surface Pro (or other full Windows 8 laptop/tablet hybrid) would be a better choice if you're going to use them for primary devices.

Personally, I'm not too much of a fan of using tablets (or even laptop/tablet hybrids) as primary devices in an enterprise environment. Gets in the way of rapid multitasking, IMO, but that may just be me. Using a relatively new OS in an enterprise environment will most definitely lead to issues with compatibility, though.
March 1, 2013 2:58:55 AM

There are only two devices that come to mind really which match what you are describing. The first would be the Microsoft Surface Pro, running a full Core series processor and the Pro version of Windows 8 allowing you to operate your normal software suite and anything you need to install on a standard desktop OS, which cannot be done on Windows RT. The other would be the HP ElitePad 900, which would be similar to the Microsoft Surface but with a few differences including an Intel Atom processor.

However, I'd say that going out and replacing all your laptops with a tablet might not be the most efficient choice After all, as Xomm pointed out, productivity may be much different on a tablet compared to a laptop. You're also going to be spending much more per unit for the tablet device compared to a business laptop which offers greater performance and often greater warranty. Yes, there are accessories for both the Surface Pro and the ElitePad 900 which give you a keyboard for typing, additional battery, additional connectivity ports, etc. but you're putting a lot of extra equipment in with a tablet now and might have saved a few hundred just going with a laptop and getting the same functionality.
March 1, 2013 3:28:58 AM

Whoaaaaaaaa, wait a minute here...

You have 1000s of systems, and are coming to Toms Hardware for advice?

I don't mean to be rude, but I think you are in over your head. Your organization, if it doesn't have one already, needs a much more experienced IT staff. You should have relationships with corporate level vendors. You should have input from networking, security, HR, legal, and division heads before you go making decisions like this. In most nations there are substantial legal requirements you need to fulfill too.

Again, I'm not trying to be rude, but are you serious? If so, you should seek some some very experienced IT professionals in this area. Your large organization deserves it.
March 1, 2013 6:17:46 AM

Thanks Choucove! That's what im talking about, perfect! exactly the kind of input I'm interested i need! Tigerg. Not meaning to be rude, but sometimes you have to think outside the box. Coming on to a hardware forum, full of techies is the perfect place! It is hardware advice I'm seeking after all. Got any ideas for systems tigerg? The dull stuff is dealt with, promise!!
March 1, 2013 7:15:26 AM

set up a lab with 3-4 instances of 3-4 different machines, different form factors, invest a bit so that you can invest properly. the lab will also let you determine the answers to many of tigerg's questions, or let those experts answer their questions. only your experts can tell you what they will be happy with.
March 1, 2013 8:32:09 PM

headscratcher_13 said:
Thanks Choucove! That's what im talking about, perfect! exactly the kind of input I'm interested i need! Tigerg. Not meaning to be rude, but sometimes you have to think outside the box. Coming on to a hardware forum, full of techies is the perfect place! It is hardware advice I'm seeking after all. Got any ideas for systems tigerg? The dull stuff is dealt with, promise!!


So long as you're willing to keep the much cheaper and traditional enterprise laptop + docking station combination in mind, we'll be willing to discuss "out of box" solutions.

So let's say you do decide to go with a Surface Pro or comparable non-enterprise Windows 8 tablet/laptop. A few questions to consider:
You don't have to name your company if you want to keep that private, but what types of departments/divisions will these devices go to?
Does each cubicle already have a DisplayPort or HDMI monitor?
Does each employee already have a DisplayPort or HDMI monitor at home?
What peripherals and ports will employees need, if any, aside from a keyboard/mouse?
Do employees use their machines in the field? (i.e. away from a power source)
How big of a factor is performance? Enterprise graphics?

Finally, the biggest question: What exactly will you gain from using this solution over the traditional one? Will it be worth the extra cost? Will your company even allow it? (per tigerg's post)

Also, I second 13thmonkey's suggestion: Once you've settled on a few device candidates, investigate them in a lab situation and make sure that they fulfill your requirements in theory, then deploy them to select individuals from different departments, and compare their real world capabilities to a traditional laptop upgrade.

(My current candidate for this would be the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix, depending on pricing. Pretty impressive device, and even has a workstation "dock" to boot: http://www.lenovo.com/products/us/tablet/thinkpad/think...)
March 12, 2013 12:10:06 AM

Given you already use vSphere 5 then VMware Horizon is the way to go. It has clients for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, even Kindle! if you have a good network infrastructure the user xperience should be transparent and flawless.
You could deploy virtual or physical desktops, terminal services or citrix farms, apps alone (this one is very cool, virtualized apps windowed on physical desktops), to almost every device.
!