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Sustainable Computing: Reusing Existing Devices with Nutanix Frame

Sustainable Computing: Reusing Existing Devices with Nutanix Frame

In this blog post, we'll delve into a customer use case that showcases the advantages of reusing legacy hardware alongside modern lightweight operating systems, such as IGEL OS, Stratodesk, Unicon, and Google Chrome OS Flex. To deliver a cutting-edge virtual desktop experience to any device with just a browser, we leverage Nutanix Frame Desktop as a Service.

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A Growing Problem and Opportunity!

E-waste is the fastest-growing waste stream in the world, according to the United Nations University Global E-waste monitor. According to the Global E-waste Statistics, in 2019, the world generated 53.6 million metric tonnes (Mt) of electronic waste (e-waste). To put this into perspective, approximately 5,307 Eiffel Towers can fit in 53.6 million metric tonnes of weight.

IT has a significant environmental impact. The production and disposal of electronic devices and their associated infrastructure consume a significant amount of energy and resources. Therefore, sustainability in IT requires a focus on reducing energy consumption, extending the life of electronic devices (which is the focus of this article), and developing more sustainable production and disposal methods. Extending the physical device lifespan represents millions of euros of cost savings.

One of the most significant benefits of using Desktop as a Service for sustainability is the reduced amount of electronic waste (e-waste) generated. E-waste is an important environmental issue, with millions of tons of electronic devices discarded yearly. By re-using existing client devices instead of buying new hardware, organizations can significantly reduce their contribution to this problem.

Another benefit of using DaaS for sustainability is the reduced carbon footprint. The manufacturing and transportation of electronics contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, and using existing devices instead of buying new ones reduces the need for new hardware production. Additionally, because the processing power and storage requirements are handled remotely, the energy consumption of the client devices is significantly reduced.

Also, IT is an enabler of sustainability. IT can help reduce carbon emissions by enabling remote work, digital communications, and online transactions that reduce the need for physical travel. IT can also help monitor and manage resource consumption, leading to more efficient use of resources.

Sustainability in IT is important for business continuity and overall business responsibility. As the world becomes more aware of the importance of sustainability, companies that fail to incorporate sustainable practices into their IT operations may face reputational and financial risks. Therefore, incorporating sustainable practices into IT operations is crucial for the long-term success of businesses.

As the world becomes more conscious of the impact of technology on the environment, sustainability is becoming an increasingly important consideration in IT. One way to address this issue is through using Desktop as a Service (DaaS), which allows organizations to run any Windows and Linux software on any device while re-using existing client devices instead of buying new hardware. Let's dive deeper into a real customer use-case scenario.

Customer Use Case

The Higher Education university had been using two distinct VDI solutions due to a merger and differing use cases. They were relying on a legacy VMware Horizon VDI solution and Microsoft Remote Desktop Service (RDS), a Multi-User solution that was both operating on outdated on-premises hardware.

2,000 thin clients manufactured in 2013 and 2014 were running on Linux and Windows 7 Embedded operating systems that were used to access the VMware VDI and Microsoft RDS solution. The customer decided to upgrade to a modern Desktop as a Service (DaaS) solution powered by Nutanix Frame and Nutanix Hyper-Converged Infrastructure, running on Acropolis Hypervisor.

The question at hand is whether the customer can still make use of their decade-old thin client devices. However, there are concerns about their compatibility with modern software. The devices currently run on outdated operating systems - Windows 7 embedded and legacy ThinOS - which cannot support modern browsers or Frame App. Additionally, the older generation CPUs with fewer cores and lower clock speeds may not be capable of supporting Modern Desktop as a Service. As a solution, a modern Linux-based operating system was installed on the existing legacy thin client hardware which enables the use of Frame and provides access to the latest versions of Windows, Office 365, and various education-specific applications.

Windows, Linux and ChromeOS Flex

When it comes to operating system options for devices like thin clients, mini PCs, laptops, and all-in-one PCs, there are various choices available for both existing and new devices. In today's hybrid world, it's important to have an operating system that is secure, lightweight, modular, and which can be centrally managed.

While the Windows Operating System is commonly used in the field, there are other alternatives worth considering, particularly for those looking to optimize costs, resource usage and extend the lifespan of existing hardware. Both Linux and Google Chrome OS flex offer their own advantages and drawbacks. For those who primarily use SaaS, web applications, and access virtualized applications and Desktops powered by Frame, a modern Chrome-based browser may be all that's necessary to get work done.

To run a lightweight operating system, there are several options available, including IGEL OS, Stratodesk, Unicon, ZeeTim, 10Zig, with Frame as a Google Recommended solution using Chrome OS Flex. The optimal lightweight OS solution for new and existing devices will depend on several factors, including CPU/memory/storage capabilities, peripheral support, management capabilities, Identity provider support, ecosystem support, and user workflow. Consider aspects such as kiosk mode, appliance mode, and the ability to customize the solution for specific use-case requirements. By carefully evaluating these requirements, you can choose a solution that best meets your needs and delivers the functionality, flexibility, and scalability you require.

Actions Speak Louder than Words!

What is the impact on the user experience when using existing devices manufactured in 2013, running a modern, lightweight operating system, and accessing Nutanix Frame to run various applications? Also, how does this compare to a modern thin client? Moreover, how does the administrator's experience compare when installing IGEL OS and Google Chrome OS Flex on these devices? By examining these questions, we can gain a deeper understanding of the advantages, disadvantages, and potential use cases of these technologies. The analysis and testing was completed and the results are visible in the recorded videos and table with observations below.

Installation of Google ChromeOS and user experience on Wyse D10DP '2013' running Frame

Installation of Google ChromeOS and user experience on Wyse Z90Q8 '2013' running Frame

Installation of IGEL OS and user experience on Wyse D10DP '2013' running Frame

Installation of IGEL OS and user experience on Wyse Z90Q8 '2013' running Frame

IGEL OS and user experience on IGEL UD3 '2020' running Frame, AzureAD, Frame App is Kiosk mode and IGEL UMS configuration.

Observations, Hardware, and Software Overview

Summary

Nutanix Frame is a powerful solution for organizations looking to actively promote sustainability in their IT operations. By re-using existing client devices, organizations can significantly reduce e-waste and their carbon footprint, all while saving money on hardware costs. As the world becomes more conscious of the impact of technology on the environment, Frame is a solution that can help businesses reduce their environmental impact while still providing the technology needed to stay competitive in today's digital landscape.

About Nutanix Frame

App and Desktops. Simplified. That's what Desktop-as-a-Service should be and that's what Frame is.

Whether you are a large enterprise, SMB, K-12/higher education institution, or a service provider, we look forward to helping you and your organization be better prepared for tomorrow's challenges.

Are you ready to boost your DaaS energy and get a better understanding of what Frame is all about? Check out this 4-minute demo!

Want to take Frame on a free 12-hour test drive? Click here! Want to take Frame a Free Admin training class? Click here and register today!

Thanks for reading if you have any questions feel free to contact me!

Contact Us

Need help with your Frame deployment, have an idea for a new use case, or just want to learn more about Frame?

Email us at frame-sales@dizzion.com and one of our experts will reach out!

About the Author

Ruben Spruijt

Field CTO, Dizzion

Ruben Spruijt is an accomplished Field Chief Technology Officer (CTO) specializing in End User Computing (EUC). In this influential role, Ruben contributes to company and product strategy, alliances, analyzes EUC technology trends, provides product and industry insights to fellow (executive) colleagues, and establishes and leads vibrant communities of customers, partners, and ecosystem partners. Ruben is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP), NVIDIA GRID Community Advisor, and was in the Citrix Technical Professional (CTP) program and VMware vExpert for many years. He is based in the Netherlands where he lives with his wife and three kids. This tough mudder travels the world spreading tokens of knowledge hidden in stroopwafel from the land of nether. Everywhere he travels, he shares information and sprouts understanding. He frames his experience in End User Computing so that others can learn the root of the technology, and what is most important in life.

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