Switch to Chromebooks saves council £400,000 as XP deadline looms

The London borough of Barking and Dagenham has announced that it will be doing things a little differently by migrating to Chromebooks and Chromeboxes ahead of Windows XP's 8 April deadline.

Previously the council had some 3,500 computers and 800 laptops running the ageing operating system, but is ditching the machines in favour of 2,000 Samsung Chromebooks and 300 Chromeboxes.

Already 305 of the newer systems have been handed out to members of the council, while they expect the deployment of the rest to be completed by early June.

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The council expects to make savings of around £400,000 when compared to how much it would cost to upgrade their machines and systems to newer Windows versions.

"We needed to look at whether we continue with an estate that is largely Windows desktop based, rather sedentary with lots of PCs sitting on lots of desks," said Sheyne Lucock, head of the council's outsourcing contracts, according to The Inquirer. "Or whether we could look at this as an opportunity to do IT a little bit differently."

According to Lucock, a migration to Windows 8 was "never on the cards" as the council had a number of perpetual Windows 7 licenses left over from an enterprise agreement.

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In order to cater for the constant wireless connections needed by the Chromebooks, Barking and Dagenham has even invested into improving its wireless infrastructure.

As for the programs and software the council uses, Microsoft Office, Outlook and Exchange will all still be the norm, but even that will be changing in the future.

"We're planning to look at a move to a cloud-based productivity and email tool later in the year and that would clearly be an evaluation to Google Apps and Office 365," Rupert Hay-Campbell, the council's ICT officer, said.