IBM Tuesday introduced new services the company says will let customers more quickly and securely set up thin-client computing environments and reduce money spent maintaining desktops.

With IBM’s Virtual Infrastructure Access service, the company will offer customers assessment, planning, design and implementation of thin-client-based applications, and hardware.

“This will help customers move legacy PC load off the desktop to a server, and enable customers to access full-client machines via virtual machines from VMware or Xen,” says Pat Boulton, CTO for IBM End User Services and director of End User Services Portfolio. She says adopting this type of server-based computing model can reduce an enterprise’s exposure to viruses, better protect intellectual property and data, and lower the costs of backing up and storing data on each client machine.

With competition from HP and its Consolidated Client Infrastructure and Citrix’s flagship Presentation Server, Boulton says IBM can provide customers with best practices and its own experiences via the services offerings.

IBM, which currently manages over 50,000 thin clients and 3 million desktops globally (as well as some 350,000 to 400,000 internally), would also offer two new services for customers looking to further ease end-user computing, Boulton says.

IBM Software Platform Management Services would provide customers with software distribution services to roll out operating systems, patches, core applications and more to client machines. IBM Platform Integration and Deployment Services will provide enterprise IT managers with procurement, testing, installation of surveying of new end-user devices, including PCs, kiosks, ATMs, mobile and wireless devices.

Full implementation of the Virtual Infrastructure Access service is available immediately from IBM Global Services for US$500 to $1,000 per user, including server hardware, software and services, depending on customer choice. Customers can sign on for both the assessment service and the design and implementation services, or just the latter services.