Volume 17, Number 13 -- March 31, 2008

IGEL Touts the Green Effect of Thin Clients

Published: March 31, 2008

by Timothy Prickett Morgan

It may seem intuitively obvious that a shift from personal computers to thin client computers on the desktop should yield a significant savings in energy, but to be sure, you have to really dig into the costs and account for the differences between the two types of clients, but also apportion some energy consumption of the servers that feed the thin clients.

German thin client maker IGEL Technology, like other small end user device makers, wants to use every angle it can to peddle its products, and to that end the company recently put together a comparative study that looked at the power and cooling costs of PCs and TCs in enterprise computing environments, and then turned that into how many carbon dioxide emissions could be saved.

To do the comparison, IGEL pulled out one of its thin clients, which burns 16 watts as it is operating. The company then grabbed a standard X64 server and created a worst-cased scenario of 20 thin clients being fed by a single server. So that comes to an allocation of an extra 41 watts of juice for each thin client, which when added together totals 57 watts, which is still a lot better than the 85 watts the company estimated the typical PC burns as it is running. When you do the math for an eight hour a day operation for 220 working days a year--look at how much vacation Germans get compared to Americans, who are doing 245 to 250 days a year on average in my estimation--that works out to 28 kilowatt-hours per year for the thin client plus 72 kilowatt-hours for the slice of the server (for a total of 100 kilowatt-hours per year), compared to 149 kilowatt-hours for the PC. If you pay 0.15 euros per kilowatt and you have 100 thin clients or 100 PCs, that works out to 422 euros for the thin clients plus 1,082 euros for the server slice driving the client (for a total of 1,504 euros), compared to 2,235 euros for 100 PCs. The thin client-server setup burns 51 percent juice.

To put this into a carbon dioxide perspective, IGEL then applied these savings to the total combined thin client sales in Western Europe between 2004 and 2007 (inclusive). A combined 3.4 million thin clients were shipped into that market, which works out to 166,521 metric tons of carbon dioxide that would have been pumped into the atmosphere. Because we don't think in terms of carbon dioxide gas yet, that works out to more than 544 transatlantic flights between London and New York.

Two things become obvious in these comparisons. First, servers burn too much juice, and it skews the energy consumption in the thin client approach. So if you want to have a dramatic impact, carbon-wise, it seems that using the absolutely most efficient server is key. The second thing I want everyone to consider is another point that I do not hear discussed very often out there in the IT press: What is the energy and environmental impact of shifting away from PCs to laptops? I dumped my desktop PC for a laptop last year, and based on shipment numbers coming out of the PC makers, so have a lot of other people. Just applying energy conservation settings in the laptop, moving to lower-powered memory and disk drives, and modestly powered CPUs can have a huge impact on energy savings, too. Presumably.


BOSaNOVA Adds Encryption to Thin Clients

BOSaNOVA Cranks the Clock on Thin Clients

BOSaNOVA Encryption Device Supports Multiple Tape Drives

BOSaNOVA Joins PCI Security Group

Raz-Lee Signs BOSaNOVA to Resell Security Software

New BOSaNOVA Appliance Encrypts Tape Backups

New Thin Clients Debut from Devon IT and CLI

HP Puts Faster Opterons into ProLiants, Debuts Geode Thin Client

                     Post this story to
               Post this story to Digg
    Post this story to Slashdot

Sponsored By

Better Security for 2008

Start the new year off with better security!
An object approach can save you time and
money while making your security stronger
and easier to manage.

Download the free white paper
to learn more!

Free trial available.

Editor: Timothy Prickett Morgan
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik, Brian Kelly, Shannon O'Donnell,
Mary Lou Roberts, Victor Rozek, Kevin Vandever, Hesh Wiener, Alex Woodie
Publisher and Advertising Director: Jenny Thomas
Advertising Sales Representative: Kim Reed
Contact the Editors: To contact anyone on the IT Jungle Team
Go to our contacts page and send us a message.

Sponsored Links

LANSA:  It's Time for 4 days of education at the LANSA User Conference, May 4 7, in Orlando
Northeast User Groups:  18th Annual Conference, April 14-16, 2008, Sheraton Hotel, Framingham, MA
Vision Solutions:  A Rewind Button for i5 Data? Read the Whitepaper



IT Jungle Store Top Book Picks

Easy Steps to Internet Programming for AS/400, iSeries, and System i: List Price, $49.95
Getting Started with PHP for i5/OS: List Price, $59.95
The System i RPG & RPG IV Tutorial and Lab Exercises: List Price, $59.95
The System i Pocket RPG & RPG IV Guide: List Price, $69.95
The iSeries Pocket Database Guide: List Price, $59.00
The iSeries Pocket Developers' Guide: List Price, $59.00
The iSeries Pocket SQL Guide: List Price, $59.00
The iSeries Pocket Query Guide: List Price, $49.00
The iSeries Pocket WebFacing Primer: List Price, $39.00
Migrating to WebSphere Express for iSeries: List Price, $49.00
iSeries Express Web Implementer's Guide: List Price, $59.00
Getting Started with WebSphere Development Studio for iSeries: List Price, $79.95
Getting Started With WebSphere Development Studio Client for iSeries: List Price, $89.00
Getting Started with WebSphere Express for iSeries: List Price, $49.00
WebFacing Application Design and Development Guide: List Price, $55.00
Can the AS/400 Survive IBM?: List Price, $49.00
The All-Everything Machine: List Price, $29.95
Chip Wars: List Price, $29.95

The Linux Beacon
Novell Previews Features in SUSE Linux Enterprise 11

Making the Case for System z10 Server Consolidation

Sun Backs Into the SMB Customer Space

CMDB: A Journey, Not a Destination

Disk Array Capacity and Sales Still Growing at Historical Rates

Four Hundred Stuff
Lawson Debuts New Offerings at User Conference

Open Source Systems Management Works with i5/OS

IBM Places Mobile Computing, Composite Apps on UC Pedestal

ProData Updates Database Utility

Pat Townsend Turns to Managed Services

Big Iron
System z10 Sales: Banking on IBM

Top Mainframe Stories From Around the Web

Chats, Webinars, Seminars, Shows, and Other Happenings

Four Hundred Guru
One Save File from More than One Library

Performance Advice from a Mysterious Friend, Part 2

Admin Alert: How System i Boxes Impersonate Each Other, Part 1

System i PTF Guide
March 22, 2008: Volume 10, Number 12

March 15, 2008: Volume 10, Number 11

March 8, 2008: Volume 10, Number 10

March 1, 2008: Volume 10, Number 9

February 23, 2008: Volume 10, Number 8

February 16, 2008: Volume 10, Number 7

The Windows Observer
Microsoft Gets 'Feature Complete' Hyper-V Out the Door

Xangati Launches End-User Network Troubleshooter

Marathon Launches Fault Tolerance for Xen on Windows

Dell Inks OEM Deal with Egenera for Server Management Software

IBM Places Mobile Computing, Composite Apps on UC Pedestal

The Unix Guardian
Yen Steps Down as Microelectronics Head, Exits Sun

Sun Bags $44.3 Million DARPA Contract for Funky Chip Interconnect

Disk Array Capacity and Sales Still Growing at Historical Rates

CMDB: A Journey, Not a Destination

Dell Inks OEM Deal with Egenera for Server Management Software

Four Hundred Monitor
Four Hundred Monitor's
Full iSeries Events Calendar


Linoma Software
Guild Companies

Printer Friendly Version

Progress Is Our Most Important Product

i5/OS V6R1: Raining on the Armadillo Day Parade

Oracle's Business Grows in Fiscal Q3, But Not As Much as Expected

As I See It: Misera Plebs Contribuens

Novell Previews Features in SUSE Linux Enterprise 11

But Wait, There's More:

IBM Puts Out First Cumulative PTF Patches for i5/OS V6R1 . . . Ask TPM: Where Is the System i Technical Conference? . . . IBM and VCs Invest in EnterpriseDB . . . IGEL Touts the Green Effect of Thin Clients . . . AMR Says Governance and Compliance Are Big Software Businesses . . .

The Four Hundred


Subscription Information:
You can unsubscribe, change your email address, or sign up for any of IT Jungle's free e-newsletters through our Web site at

Copyright © 1996-2008 Guild Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Guild Companies, Inc., 50 Park Terrace East, Suite 8F, New York, NY 10034

Privacy Statement