You may know that I used to directly manage the desktop support folks in WBOB. After we migrated our desktop support to OIT FAST, I remained in place as an "adviser" to help FAST coordinate the purchase of systems. So I'm directly involved whenever we replace systems in OIA and AAS.
We all remember the WBOB blackout the morning of July 1 2008, when the building transformer caught fire. WBOB didn't have power for the rest of the day while Xcel Energy scrambled to restore service to our building. That day, a lot of the OIT staff in WBOB were unable to do any work, because their desktop systems were without power. Those that had laptops were able to relocate, and continue working.
And for that reason, after July 1 we have only ordered laptops. (Except for Ops, who have a specific need to use desktops.)
Since then, people occasionally ask about the laptop-only program. This afternoon, I met with the managers in OIA and AAS to share a document that answers those questions. Here are the high points:
All systems should be supported by the FAST group.
FAST maintains a standard image for us, which they deploy to all users. The standard image is based on Windows XP Professional, the officially supported operating system for all Dell laptops and PCs in OIA/AAS. Users who have installed a PC operating system on their own, even if it is the same version of Windows XP Professional, are not running the standard image.
I know that some people run Linux on their work systems. But our total cost of ownership drops dramatically when we run a standard platform. And I'm willing to back that up with my own experience: I'm a huge Linux geek, and I've run Linux full-time on my work laptop since 2002, but converted to the standard Windows build in January 2009. That's how strongly I believe in lowering our total cost.
Some users in OIA/AAS currently have Apple Mac laptops or desktops. These will be replaced with Dell laptops as the systems come up for normal hardware lifecycle replacement.
Protect your system.
- All laptops must be secured using an OIT-provided laptop lock, to deter theft. Refer to FAST if you do not have a lock. Note that using a laptop lock does not completely eliminate the risk of theft; be careful not to leave your system unattended for long periods of time.
Take your laptop home with you.
By being issued a laptop, staff should not expect to use Remote Desktop (or any other protocol) to access their work system from a remote location. If you expect to do work from home, you should take your laptop with you.
Staff who are on call must take their laptops home with them at night.
FAST will deploy one system per user only. In the past, some staff received a second laptop or desktop PC to take home with them, so they could do work from home. Staff who have a second system for take-home should refer to their manager so the system can be returned when a laptop issued.
I'm sure these guidelines will generate questions, and I'd like to answer them. Feel free to stop by my office if you want to talk, or drop me an email.