Virtualization powers UN delivery of 500,000 computers to poor nations

Ncomputing on Monday said it will provide virtual desktops for the United Nations as part of a wider UN program to distribute 500,000 workstations to developing nations.

The first part of the UN deployment involves Ncomputing supplying 1,000 virtual desktops to primary and secondary schools in three African countries, said Stephen Dukker, Ncomputing’s CEO. The company was involved in a similar program involving a post secondary school founded by a Canadian in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Desktop virtualization began catching the interest of businesses in 2006. Some of the technology’s providers include Citrix, Microsoft,HP and VMWare.

The terminal computers connect to a central PC and share its resources, including memory and hard drive space, allowing more users to access the PC. The terminals are about the size of a deck of cards and have ports for keyboards, mice and monitors.

The UN plans to provide 500,000 workstations, also including PCs and laptops, by 2012 in an effort to boost technology usage in poor countries, Dukker said. The program is being conducted by the UN Department of Department of Social and Economic Affairs (UNDESA) and the initial deployments will be in Rwanda, Senegal and Tanzania.

The UN’s goal is to provide wider access to computing resources using low-cost and low-power technologies, Dukker said. The UN is partnering with private organizations to provide the equipment, with the UN and participating countries contributing to the costs.

Ncomputing is donating its X550 virtual desktop kits, each of which has five terminals. The terminals will access programs from a host PC running Linux and using Ncomputing’s Vspace virtualization software.

Ncomputing is also donating the mice and keyboards, while other parties are providing the monitors and used PCs. Ncomputing’s terminals draw less than a watt of power and normally cost about US$70, Dukker said.

Last year, NComputing won a contract to provide virtual desktops to 1.8 million students in India at 5,000 government-run schools. It has competed with Intel and the nonprofit organization One Laptop Per Child to win such contracts.

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Featured Article

ADaPT connects employers with highly skilled young workers

Help wanted. That’s what many tech companies across Canada are saying, and research shows that as the demand for skilled workers...

Related Tech News

Tech Jobs

Our experienced team of journalists and bloggers bring you engaging in-depth interviews, videos and content targeted to IT professionals and line-of-business executives.

Tech Companies Hiring Right Now