Who's upgrading PCs? Government, that's who

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Who's upgrading PCs? Government, that's who

This article appeared in the September issue of CRN magazine as part of the main feature "Signs of life".

Although enterprises are still warming to upgrading their PC fleets, government has jumped in with significant tenders let this year. And while many are holistic, calling for networking, storage, cloud and services, notably PC end-points also factor prominently.

In August, national number crunchers at the Australian Bureau of Statistics were given $56.9 million to play with this year, in part to retire 3,000 Windows 7 PCs to be replaced by virtual desktops over Citrix Xen Desktop and hosted on Microsoft servers running HyperV. The business driver is so that ABS staff can work remotely and on the road on devices from any maker.

It’s a similar story on the other side of town at Treasury where, as part of its ‘mobile first’ policy, the economic wonks alighted on virtualised desktops provided as a service to workers. The spur was the impending retirement of four-year-old PCs, which prompted the agency to reconsider its work patterns. The desktop-as-a-service is based on Treasury’s Windows 7 standard operating environment and blessed virtualised applications. It’s considering options such as zero-clients (for which Intel’s NUC could be an option) and docking tablets (which would be the two-in-one form factor).

At state level, Service NSW (the one-stop NSW Government portal) has also deployed 100 Surface Pros running Windows 8 and Office 365 with its head office staff. “That technology allowed us to expand fairly quickly without a significant investment in testing,” Service NSW operations chief Serdar Avsar told iTnews in July.

And in Victoria, $26 million provided to Police IT in May commits the force to replace PCs, monitors, networking and data centre equipment in the current budget. But an upgrade of the 20-year-old law enforcement assistance program green screen system that is older than some cadets has been put off until next year.

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