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London Council Dumping Windows For Chromebooks To Save £400,000 193

Posted by Soulskill
from the year-of-something-on-the-somethingtop dept.
girlmad writes: "Google has scored a major win on the back of Microsoft's Windows XP support cut-off. The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham has begun moving all its employees over to Samsung Chromebooks and Chromeboxes ahead of the 8 April deadline. The council was previously running 3,500 Windows XP desktops and 800 XP laptops, and is currently in the process of retiring these in favour of around 2,000 Chromebooks and 300 Chromeboxes. It estimates the savings at around £400,000 compared to upgrading to newer Windows machines — no small change."
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London Council Dumping Windows For Chromebooks To Save £400,000

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  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @06:12PM (#46643847) Journal

    Translation: London Council trying to extort cheaper licenses out of Microsoft.

    • Re:Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by leathered (780018) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @06:21PM (#46643945)

      Translation: Microsoft trying to extort expensive license fees from London Council.

      FTFY

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Translation: London Council trying to extort cheaper licenses out of Microsoft.

      You keep telling yourself that. It'll make it easier for competitors to eat your lunch.

      Just conveniently ignore the bit where they already have the Chromebooks...

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      They're replacing a current stock of 4,300 of what used to be mid- to high-end hardware (when they were bought of course - after all they were designed to run Windows - replacement would mean current mid- to high-end stuff or Windows won't run well) with 2,300 low-end ones.

      That cuts down the number of computers in half, and it cuts the per-unit hardware cost. I can't imagine them saving some 150 pounds per unit on license cost alone. Windows isn't that expensive in OEM licenses. The price difference between

    • Re:Translation (Score:5, Informative)

      by gbjbaanb (229885) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @05:20AM (#46647133)

      actually no. RTFM: London council dumping their old remote terminal and web browsing desktop machines with shiny new remote terminal and web browsing machines. Shiny new machines that are significantly cheaper.

      They are also buying new Windows 7 PCs for specialist apps that don't run over RDP.

      One thing to note: Windows 8 was not even considered (Mac and Linux considered but not chosen, due to the particular use-case they needed)

    • Translation: London Council trying to extort cheaper licenses out of Microsoft.

      Cognitive dissonance alert. Cheaper licenses for XP?

    • Which is largely Google's business model anyway - choke off the profits of it's competitors.

  • by bob_super (3391281) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @06:15PM (#46643879)

    Are they trying to go around the (few) GCHQ monitoring limits by going straight into NSA-friendly territory?

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      Microsoft vs Google.

      If that's the choice I'd still go for the second. Gut feeling says Google cares more about preventing NSA snooping than MS. And now I don't exactly like Google's snooping to target their ads better (they do a pretty shitty job there anyway), at least it won't get you on secret no-fly lists.

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      At least due to its inability to run programs, ChromeOS is mostly free of viruses. It's definitely a security improvement, although at the cost of usability.

  • Mad (Score:2, Funny)

    by bugs2squash (1132591)
    They must be barking...
    • by jambox (1015589)
      The local expression for a crazy person (or "nutter") is "Upton Park", because "they're two stops short of Barking".
  • is for the diva to sing the operatic conclusion and for cats and dogs to get along. Microsoft is so doomed. Who really needs them? Not most people. Have you seen the latest Samsung tablets? Holy cow the better than Hi-def resolution, vivid colors, awesome performance, none of them running Windows, all of them running Android. I saw them recently and my first reaction was: Microsoft is so doomed.
    • Re:All that is left (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Dutch Gun (899105) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @06:40PM (#46644117)

      is for the diva to sing the operatic conclusion and for cats and dogs to get along.

      Microsoft is so doomed. Who really needs them? Not most people.

      Have you seen the latest Samsung tablets? Holy cow the better than Hi-def resolution, vivid colors, awesome performance, none of them running Windows, all of them running Android. I saw them recently and my first reaction was: Microsoft is so doomed.

      Yeah, all except for that pesky near 90% desktop market share, and the millions of applications people rely on that use a Windows operating system to do their work. The market is significantly broadening, no doubt, to include non-desktop/laptop computing platforms, but make no mistake, Windows is still very firmly entrenched on the desktop. And regular old computers where people still need to get work done on a day to day basis is still a lucrative market, if not as sexy as phones and tablets. The fact that it makes Slashdot headlines when a company or government branch moves away from Windows tells you that it's not exactly happening all over the place either.

      Not trying to sound like a shill here, but let's try to stay realistic. MS is going nowhere for the foreseeable future. Unless, of course, they keep pissing off their desktop customers with garbage like Windows 8.

      • Once upon a time, buggy whips had a large market share, too.

      • by BenjyD (316700)

        Isn't that what everyone said about Nokia back in 2007?

      • ...all except for that pesky near 90% desktop market share

        The desktop market that declined 10% last year, a trend that is expected to continue? [idc.com]

        • by Dutch Gun (899105)

          The market is significantly broadening, no doubt, to include non-desktop/laptop computing platforms

          Read the next sentence please. I'm not disagreeing with you, but all these starry-eyed predictions I've heard from the media / tech bloggers that the desktop will practically disappear completely is nonsense. The reason the desktop market is declining is that many light computing tasks (essentially, simple communication or the consumption of content) can be accomplished much better by phones and tablets, which are obviously a lot cheaper and more convenient than computers. These are the computers of the

    • is for the diva to sing the operatic conclusion and for cats and dogs to get along.

      Microsoft is so doomed. Who really needs them? Not most people.

      Have you seen the latest Samsung tablets? Holy cow the better than Hi-def resolution, vivid colors, awesome performance, none of them running Windows, all of them running Android. I saw them recently and my first reaction was: Microsoft is so doomed.

      Unless you actually do real work...

  • by uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @06:29PM (#46644011)
    Not exactly earth-shattering in scope. Look: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org].
  • From the article:

    The council was previously running 3,500 Windows XP desktops and 800 XP laptops

    and is much happier now.

    • Amazing how they've replaced all that with the 350 Chromebooks they've bought. Oh, that's right, they haven't. It's a pilot.

      Going on the rate Munich switched to a Windows alternative, you've got 10 years to wait for those Windows machines to be replaced.

  • by QuantumLeaper (607189) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @06:48PM (#46644175) Journal
    2300 Chrome machines vs. 4300 XP machines, I wonder what the true saving are. Since the totals doesn't add up, what did they do eliminate 2000 workers and 2000 machines, or are they going to make 2000 workers use pen and paper or am I missing some here?
    • by Rich0 (548339) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @07:12PM (#46644373) Homepage

      2300 Chrome machines vs. 4300 XP machines, I wonder what the true saving are. Since the totals doesn't add up, what did they do eliminate 2000 workers and 2000 machines, or are they going to make 2000 workers use pen and paper or am I missing some here?

      No idea why the numbers changed (though it is pretty common in mass-update situations like this to audit workstation assignments and get rid of all the extra laptops that got requisitioned so that somebody could have two/etc).

      However, I can easily see why a Chromebook is cheaper in a corporate environment, assuming it can run all your software. They're nearly zero-effort to deploy (just log in once using an admin account and it auto-provisions), self-update automatically, don't need antivirus, already have full-disk encryption and secure boot, and Google handles all the identity management. You only use them with remote applications (web or otherwise), so there is nothing to backup locally, and no retention issues with legal holds. Basically you can eliminate almost your entire workstation-management infrastructure, and the hardware isn't really any more expensive than what you'd otherwise purchase. If somebody breaks their laptop, they just go over to the supply closet and get a new one, log in, and in 30 seconds everything is auto-synced.

      The catch is that you have to be able to run EVERYTHING in Chrome.

      A chromebook gives any business a fairly complete enterprise-level workstation management service for free. To get to all the management functions you need a Google Apps account, but even Grandma gets a laptop that can't get viruses, backs up everything important offsite automatically, auto-updates, and which is fully encrypted. That is a whole bunch of software/configuration/caretaking if you want to do it on Windows.

      • If you RTFA you would have seen that a sizeable fraction of their staff had both a desktop and a laptop, and will only be receiving a chromebook as a replacement. Some workers will be updated to Windows 7 machines where they have applications that are not available in web based or Citrix based environments.
      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        The requirement of stuff like Google Apps account and having Google do your identity management, will be a huge turn-off for many corporations. Unless Google has an option to have these services all in-house.

        Especially when it comes to sensitive data (and not just medical, my personal financial records for example I don't want out in the open either) I'd like to keep it at home. Not unencrypted on someone else's cloud. And definitely not in some foreign country, where organisations like an NSA are active.

        • by Rich0 (548339)

          Well, you can keep it encrypted in someone else's cloud (assuming you trust them not to make that option not work in an update), but yes, it would be nice if Android/ChromeOS/etc could be pointed at your own authentication systems.

      • by mpe (36238)
        However, I can easily see why a Chromebook is cheaper in a corporate environment, assuming it can run all your software. They're nearly zero-effort to deploy (just log in once using an admin account and it auto-provisions), self-update automatically, don't need antivirus, already have full-disk encryption and secure boot, and Google handles all the identity management.

        Having a third party manage things has it's own set of associated risks. Which may be poorly understood/managed if this is a radical change
        • by Rich0 (548339)

          Having a third party manage things has it's own set of associated risks. Which may be poorly understood/managed if this is a radical change of paradigm. Also "full-disk encryption" is pointless on a device which isn't storing data.
          A critical factor is how easy is corporate management with Chromebooks. Including can it be done using servers you control...

          It would actually be nice to be able to point Android/Chromebooks/etc at your own servers. There is nothing about the design that necessitates that they talk to Google. That's just how Google set them up.

          Full-disk encryption still protects your cache/cookies, and any files you may have downloaded just to view, or to upload somewhere else. It also prevents somebody else from installing a software keylogger/etc (in conjunction with secure boot). I think it is relevant for any PC.

          Other issues include do you want Google (and their "friends") looking over what you are doing?

          Well, you can use Google f

      • by gander666 (723553) *
        And, if you are an Oracle house, you sadly need IE, and some lame down rev, unsafe version of Java (lesson learnt - Never update Java on my work machine until they push if via config manager...)
    • by Phillip2 (203612)

      2300 Chrome machines vs. 4300 XP machines, I wonder what the true saving are. Since the totals doesn't add up, what did they do eliminate 2000 workers and 2000 machines, or are they going to make 2000 workers use pen and paper or am I missing some here?

      Probably the numbers are real. Since we spent lots of our money on bailing out banks and wars, and big business doesn't pay tax any more, many areas of the public sector have been cut. Most local councils have shed workers wholesale.

  • Something's fishy... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MikeRT (947531)

    1. They're replacing 4,300 Windows machines with 2,300 Chrome machines. Why is the number of boxes cut nearly in half?
    2. Did they factor in the cost of Google Apps?
    3. Did they factor in the issue of retraining and other migration costs?

    Bet they didn't. Bet they just said they can stop buying Windows boxes and that's all there is to the cost.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You didn't read the article.

      What they are actually doing is using Windows 7, and Office on virtual desktops and connecting using Citrix from Chomebooks.

      The reduction in machines comes from employees only having a chrome books rather than a laptop and a desktop.

      I highly doubt this will save any money the headline figure is probably due to different pots of money being used for different infrastructure.

    • They probably didn't factor in the cost of Google Apps; however, one has to ask, how does that compare to Enterprise licensing for Microsoft Office and the server licenses to support Exchange, Active Directory and file server(s)?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If you've ever sacrificed enough goats to divine the proper licensing you need to purchase from microsoft, you'll know the money they save /on software liscence cost alone/ will cover the hardware cost of even premium chromebooks 2 or 3 times over.

      By the time you get done with Windows, Windows server, device/user CALS, Desktop services CALS, Systems management, etc hardware costs seem trivial.

    • by sjames (1099)

      Since the other option was moving from XP to Windows 8, retraining was going to happen either way.

      The count was reduced because some employees who had a laptop and a desktop will have just the laptop now. Probably because modern laptops are just as good as a desktop for many applications.

    • Retraining would be required for Windows 8, so no cost difference in that area.
      The cost of google apps can be compared against buying new office licenses for 2300 new PCs.

      Nothing fishy at all, this actually looks like a good idea.

  • by JustNiz (692889) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @07:06PM (#46644327)

    The really amazing thing is that one small Borough of London apparently employs over 2300 admin workers.
    No wonder our taxes are so high.

    • by turp182 (1020263)

      It does seem like a lot of people, one has to assume that there is only one system per person (there could be overlap with the Chromebooks for people that require portability). In 2011 the borough had a population of 187,000. 2,300 admin positions would be 1.23% of the population..

      The unreasonable thing is being able to go from 3,500 XP desktops to a number closer to 2,000. I'd like to know how the number of total system can be reduced by 35% or more??? Maybe they are counting a warehouse of retired sy

      • by JustNiz (692889)

        Just a guess but I'm wondering if they're also cutting back on some community/social program that includes provision of PCs and/or internet access as a public service.

    • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @09:15PM (#46645405) Homepage Journal

      The really amazing thing is that one small Borough of London apparently employs over 2300 admin workers.
      No wonder our taxes are so high.

      Your taxes are high because the Square Mile in London pays no (as in Zero) taxes.

      There's your problem.

      Go after the giant gaping hole in your budget, not the smaller one that is admin.

      • "Tax paid by the UK financial services industry rose from £63bn to £65bn last year, equivalent to 11.7 per cent of total tax receipts to the Exchequer" --- Financial Times, December 2013. Also the top 1% of earners paid 30% of all income tax. Banking is a regulated industry. The sort of dodges which sports stars and actors use to avoid paying millions in tax just aren't allowed. So the Square Mile isn't in fact the problem at all.
  • by Virtucon (127420) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @11:23PM (#46646129)

    Moving from MSFT is a great move but jumping into Google's camp is a bad move. It's trading one set of evils/problems with another. A few years ago I would have said great move but Google lately has started to become a more smiling version of Apple and Microsoft and frankly is pushing their commercial interests above that of open computing. London Council can be proud of saving money but in a few years I think we'll be hearing another headline that they're switching to something else.

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