Defence gears up to deploy 90,000 thin clients following successful pilot

Department expected to cut hardware and support costs by moving to thin clients and consolidating backend servers

The Department of Defence has received government approval to roll out secure thin clients to 90,000 Defence personnel across Australia following a successful pilot.

The $6.2 million Next Generation Desktop (NGD) pilot – which commenced in early July – involved the deployment of thin client technology to 700 personnel to replace traditional desktops.

The project will enable Defence to make "considerable savings" on hardware and support costs by moving from thick to thin client desktops and consolidating backend servers, a Defence spokesperson told CIO.

Defence was granted "second pass approval" for this project, which paved the way for the thin clients to be rolled out across Defence in 2013. The department received first pass approval from the government in May last year

Prime contractor Thales Australia and partners Raytheon Trusted Computer Solutions, Microsoft and Citrix are supporting the NGD program.

Defence personnel involved in the pilot are now using one computer to simultaneously access the Defence Restricted Network and Defence Secret Network on the same screen rather than multiple terminals for different networks.

Thales Australia CEO Chris Jenkins said in a statement that the pilot was an effective way of gathering real-world data from a multitude of users.

“The pilot not only demonstrated the viability of this server-based computing solution, but also generated valuable implementation and de-risking experience across several Defence sites and networks that will prove highly beneficial as the program continues,” Jenkins said.

“We have been working closely with Defence’s Chief Information Officer Group, as well as end users and partners to ensure the pilot was a success and their feedback was gathered and integrated into our rollout strategy.”

The NGD project is part of the Defence’s Strategic Reform program, unveiled in 2009 and aimed at delivering $20 billion in savings between now and 2019. It will be overseen by incoming CIO Peter Lawrence, who replaced Greg Farr earlier this month.

Tags department of defenceCitrixMicrosoftThales Australia

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