Brazil is installing 356,800 virtualized desktops in schools in all of Brazil's 5,560 municipalities. This initiative should provide computer access to millions of children and adolescents throughout the country.
The measure is being called a historical achievement. It's the world's largest ever virtual desktop deployment; the world's largest ever desktop Linux deployment, and a new record low-cost for PCs with the PC sharing hardware and software costing less than $50 per seat.
Using Userful and ThinNetworks' low-cost and environmentally friendly desktop virtualization solution the Brazilian Ministry of Education wishes to become a global leader in computer education.
Backers of the solution believe that the Brazilian exampleÂ provides other governments and institutions worldwide with a model for improving student to computer ratios while rolling out large numbers of desktops with minimal cost and environmental impact.
Userful offers the features of a full PC including high performance video for less than $50 per additional seat in large deployments (not including monitors and keyboards) and uses standard PC hardware including additional low-cost video cards and USB/2-way-audio hubs from ThinNetworks.
They are are providing the desktop virtualizaton and PC sharing software and hardware while Positivo, Daruma, and Itautec are providing the PCs and services. The project's first phase, 18,750 workstations in rural schools, has already been installed and the machines are functioning well.
The ability to turn 1 computer into up to 10 independent workstations enabled the Brazilian government to supply its schools with an unprecedented number of computer workstations.
"Userful is very happy to have been selected to participate in this historic opportunity to help millions of children get the computer education they need in a sustainable way," said Tim Griffin, president of Userful.
Desktop computers sit idle while we check our e-mail, surf the Web, or type a document. Userful's PC sharing and virtualization technology leverages this unused computing power to create an environmentally efficient alternative to traditional desktop computing. Up to 10 users can work on a single computer by simply attaching extra monitors, mice and keyboards.
"This deployment alone saves more than 170,000 tons of CO² emissions annually, the same as taking 28,000 cars off the road, or planting 41,000 acres of trees," said Sean Rousseau, Marketing Manager at Userful. Turning 1 computer into 10 reduces computer hardware waste "e-waste" by up to 80%, further decreasing its environmental footprint.
The hardware developed for the project is designed to work reliably in harsh conditions with little supporting infrastructure. The solution has even been deployed in schools in indigenous villages, where infrastructure is minimal, electricity is unreliable, and there is little physical space.
By the end of 2009, is expected that the project will have benefited millions of young Brazilians. "This project will bring access to information technology to almost every young student in Brazil. But this project will mean much more: it is the beginning of a cycle of children and adults socially integrated," says Luiz Ferreira, president of ThinNetworks.
Privately held and founded in 1999, Userful launched their flagship product in 2003 and was recently named Alberta's 10th fastest growing company under $20 million in revenue. Userful software is used in over 100 countries.
Founded in 1986, ThinNetworks initial mandate was to satisfy the need for high quality IT (Information Technology) consultancy. In 1999 ThinNetworks began providing Multi-terminal (virtual desktop solutions) supporting both Linux and Windows for low-cost computer environments. The company has more than 400,000 multi-terminal stations installed and is expecting to double this number by 2010.
A free 2-user version of Userful Multiplier software for home use is available from http://userful.com/free-2-user .