Thin clients trigger IT overhaul

Warehousing and distribution specialist Davids Limited is embarking on a complex IT overhaul to support the rollout of a thin client model across its 30 remote sites Australia-wide.

The move to thin client technology -- based on Microsoft Terminal Server with Citrix Metaframe V1.8 -- has required Davids to upgrade its network, implement a new storage architecture and create a server farm at a total cost of $650,000, according to Duncan Marshall, the company's network services manager.

Marshall told Computerworld the Citrix rollout will increase the IT department's level of control and management, ease applications deployment issues and reduce the total cost of ownership.

Previously, IT staff at Davids had to travel to remote branch sites to deploy applications and sort out IT problems which Marshall said was a drain on financial and human resources.

Davids is relocating servers from remote sites to its head office to create a centralised Citrix farm of between six and 10 boxes.

Applications that will be delivered to 500 users across Davids branch offices will include Microsoft Office, Microsoft Outlook, Internet Explorer and terminal emulation software that will provide access to the company's multiple Unix servers and Hitachi Data Systems mainframe.

"Everybody who is external to the main Sydney office will be on Citrix," Marshall said.

Australian Business Technologies has been appointed as the systems integrator on the Citrix rollout.

Davids has also replaced its server-attached storage infrastructure with network attached storage (NAS) designed and installed by systems integrator EnStor.

Marshall said the company needs to have large chunks of user data available across the network. "The easiest and simplest way of doing that was via an NAS," Marshall told Computerworld.

"What we now have is some 300-odd gigabytes that are available to any network user."

Davids is also increasing bandwidth on its frame relay trunk lines to provide increased bandwidth for its wide area network (WAN) and incrementally switching from ISDN to frame relay, to connect branch offices to the WAN, Marshall said.

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