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Showing posts from August, 2008

A cloud + a fringe = a silver lining?

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is over for another year. Hundreds of performers have given thousands of shows to a huge number of culture seekers. Meanwhile, the IT industry has notched up another very public failure. The new box office system failed to cope with the demand for tickets on the first day and had to be patched hurriedly. It struggled along after that but was unable to implement the special offer that had been planned for last few days of the festival.

It must be a challenge to cope with the huge interest on the first day of ticket sales and then to manage the varying load fot the next three months. For the other nine months of the year, of course, the system isn't needed at all.

Does this sound like a candidate for cloud computing? I don't know how the existing system is implemented, but if it doesn't already use cloud to react to large swings in demand, perhaps the service providers should consider this option.

A holistic use of thin clients

Yesterday saw a workshop on Sustainable IT at the new Queen Margaret University campus in Musselburgh. The workshop was ostensibly about "new ways of working" but another major focus was on how the adoption of thin clients allowed the architects to design an more environmentally friendly campus. Thin clients use less power on the desktop than PCs, which means less heat is generated in the classrooms, labs and open working areas. For QMU, this meant that the building can use natural cooling and ventilation, saving considerably more energy in addition to the saving from the terminals themselves.

The switch to thin clients was also used to introduce the use of virtual desktops. These let staff and students access their work from anywhere on the campus and from home. Staff are encouraged to work from home when it suits them. On campus, staff now work in open plan areas rather than offices; overall, the extra freedom seems to outweigh any disadvantage from the change.

The ene…