PXE Environments

Setting up PXE options on your network can be an ideal choice if you depend on iso files and spend a lot of time testing operating systems.  I recently decided to do this on my home network to eliminate the clutter of burning a ton of CDs.  This was my logic:

Environmental Benefits

Is this a green solution? It can be if you take into consideration of adding smaller, low-power devices to your network instead of full-blown computers.   Two companies I can recommend for the clients are Diskless Workstations and devonIT.  The noise reduction factors switching to diskless clients can be amazing.  Another option that may have some green factor to it is using that older machine that is sitting in your basement or garage (we all have them) instead of throwing it away.  Keep an eye on power consumption if you choose to use older equipment, though.

Centralization Benefits

If you have several independent computers, problems quickly develop.  Files become scattered over every machine you touch.  Where was that brilliant resume you sent out last month that got such positive response?  These random files require an intensely complex backup routine and will be difficult to track.  The problem of having different versions of files also comes into play.  By keeping it all on one server, you are making things much simpler.

Time Benefits

You spend what seems like countless hours updating your systems with the same fixes over and over if you don’t “go thin”.  While it is commendable to treat each system with individual attention and know each system, do you really want to spend all your free time updating? This goes along the lines of centralization, but there is a time benefit when you have only one server to upgrade.

Cost Benefits

Thin Clients are much cheaper.  You can expect approximately 350-500 dollars per machine for decent hardware.  Configured correctly, the performance of these machines can rival high-end $1000+computers.  Touching back on the centralization, some cloud computing backup providers and backup application vendors charge you per computer.  It makes so much more sense to have one backup target.

These are the benefits that have made me come to the conclusion to create a PXE environment.  I will, of course, move slowly and make sure all the steps are done properly, but the advantages have out weighed other factors at this point.