Organisations could make big savings on upgrades and administrator time by running Vista on central servers instead of desktop PCs, server-based computing outfit 2X has claimed.

The company said that the latest release of its software, 2X ThinClientServer version 4, allowed users to run Vista apps without having Vista installed locally. The desktop device - a PC or thin-client terminal - could run Linux, and pull a virtual Windows desktop over the LAN from a virtual server.

"Our previous version worked mainly with Windows Terminal Server, but you don't need that now," said Nico Makris, 2X's CEO. "Instead, you need VMware or Parallels Server, or something like that."

You do still need a Vista licence for each user, he said, whereas the WTS route only needed client access licences (CALs), but he claimed that removing the need to upgrade all the desktop hardware and then manage tasks such as Vista activation would represent significant savings. 2X ThinClientServer costs from $25 (around £13) per managed thin-client.

Makris added that all of Vista's capabilities are available on the thin-client - even the new Aero user interface - as the only change is how the system is deployed and managed.

"You do have to increase the capacity of the server," he noted. "It's mainly RAM - it needs between 512MB and 1GB per user, but it's easier to handle that centrally than upgrade 50 or 100 PCs."

He also acknowledged that other thin-client companies could run Vista remotely too, such as Wyse and Neoware. But he said that 2X's advantage is that it is a software company, so it wasn't tied to specific hardware and could do the job on any platform, including older PCs that couldn't run Vista locally.