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Hardware Thread, Softxpand Miniframe in Technical; Hi all, I was using SoftXpand as a 3 workstations solution. 1 OnBoard video card, and an additional dual head ...
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    Hi all,
    I was using SoftXpand as a 3 workstations solution.
    1 OnBoard video card, and an additional dual head PCI-Express video card.
    Was using sound with Onboard and two USB sound cards.
    Must say I was very impressed with the simplicity and high performance of the software.
    It is a highly good solution compared to other terminal solutions or thin client.

  2. #17
    torledo's Avatar
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    Looks like an ugly solution to a problem regular thin clients solve very well at the moment.

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    Hi Torledo,

    Thanks for your comments. Also Igor, where did you buy from, which partner of ours?

    Check out a review of Channel Expo http://www.kpwalker.com/toplinecomms/ChannelEyes3.html and read Heather Bakers review. Her final line was "it looks pretty neat too" The major difference we get on feedback from clients is that thin clients still require 1 hardware device per user and cannot handle the multimedia and heavy graphics intensive applications whereas SoftXpand does. SoftXpand from a climate change perspective is the choice of the eco-generation we're finding as there's less embedded carbon in a SoftXpand deployment than any comparable system. I'd love to hear thoughts back on this as well, as frankly I can count on one hand the number of end clients that have been seduced by the green effects of SoftXpand. The key business driver is always performance and cost, and I'm not aware of anything that can match SoftXpand.

    We've just got the first 1000+ user where a competetive quote against a full on VDi was costed, tested etc and SoftXpand managed to achieve the users requirement and provide a quicker ROI.

    Best,
    Col

  4. #19
    Bluetooth's Avatar
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    I recently went to an ICT showcase in huddersfield and found a miniframe system being used by 4 kids with digitalbrain primary.

    I must say i was very impressed with the miniframe stuff and i have already begun following through some quotes for prices and specs etc.

    Once thing i dont understand is.. well how does it work? you have to have 1 seperate vga card per monitor you use? how do all the mice and keyboards attach etc and sound i dont understand? 1 card for 6 machines? i wish there was a crosseyed emote =-)

    I plan on contacting microsoft regarding the licensing issue.

    B

  5. #20

    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluetooth View Post
    Once thing i dont understand is.. well how does it work? you have to have 1 seperate vga card per monitor you use? how do all the mice and keyboards attach etc and sound i dont understand? 1 card for 6 machines? i wish there was a crosseyed emote =-)
    It simply extends the standard Windows desktop across n displays and then carves the extended display into screens for each user. Each USB mouse and keyboard are given a unique identifer by the computer anyway, you can attach as many usb keyboard and mice to a computer as you like. SoftXpand maps the keyboards and mice to the carved up extended display.

    I plan on contacting microsoft regarding the licensing issue.

    B
    Please report back what you learn. I for one would be very interested to hear what Microsoft tell you.

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    Hi Bluetooth,

    Thanks for your feedback on the system. One of our Gold partners, CCL Online is hosting an exhibition at the National Museum of Photography in Bradford on the 25th June, showcasing various technologies for education including SoftXpand ecoware. I think it's invite only, however I can ask CCL whether he can open it up to the members of EduGeek too? You'll be able to see lots of new technologies, and meet and greet with educational specific vendors including Microsoft. (I'm not sure if this is a contravention of board rules though by inviting or how to let all members know?)

    Effectively though, for each user you require a USB Hub to connect the Keyboards and mice, and a graphics card to connect the monitors. I've had feedback that customers try and maximise their existing PCs first which can usually be turned into a maximum 4 user, and then switch to prebuilt scalable PCs already populated with up to 4 dual head graphics cards.

    Interestingly I've just been chatting to a client who has been using KVM over CAT5 as his connection to the PC to build a distributed network, with his PCs being kept in kind of a data centre type environment. He said he'd been working with HP & Citrix directly to build a comparable solution but failed because of the multimedia, so I'm chuffed for him.

    We're finding more and more that SoftXpand is being built into proper solutions, not just being used as a PC replacement which really gives me hope. The UK is by far the hot bed for IT creativity & innovation and you're all proving it.

    Kind regards,
    Col

  7. #22

    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miniframeuk View Post
    Hi Bluetooth,
    Interestingly I've just been chatting to a client who has been using KVM over CAT5 as his connection to the PC to build a distributed network, with his PCs being kept in kind of a data centre type environment. He said he'd been working with HP & Citrix directly to build a comparable solution but failed because of the multimedia, so I'm chuffed for him.

    Kind regards,
    Col
    Now that is one of the most interesting ideas I've read in a while. I wonder, can I use that?

  8. #23
    Bluetooth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Please report back what you learn. I for one would be very interested to hear what Microsoft tell you.
    Right just got off the phone with MS and spoke to a very nice gent named Alfie in their business licensing department.

    basically he said that microsoft are aware of softxpand miniframe software and are looking into the licence implications, they have had to pass it up to "the powers that be" and are awaiting a response which should be somepoint middle of next week.

    I have passed on my contact details to MS and they have said they will be ringing anyone who has done this regarding this licencing issue etc to let them know of the outcome, so right now there is no details from MS regarding softxpand.

    Regarding the mouse and keyboard usb thing, i take it you use 6x usb hubs (for 6x machines) and have to have 6x usb free on the actual machine etc? Assuming this is true i take it that a high end motherboard would be required to have that kind of expandability or maybe even a server board for the PCI/USB amounts needed.

    B

  9. 2 Thanks to Bluetooth:

    Butuz (15th June 2009), tmcd35 (12th June 2009)

  10. #24

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    Hi B,

    You're right, we use 6 x USB hubs which require 6 free USB ports.

    When we're speccing a 6 user, the systems we provide have 6 rear USB ports and 2 front ports. However for around 4 you can add additional USB PCI card if further USB devices need to be added. The motherboard for a 6 user machine should have enough slots for say 3 x dual head graphics cards. There's no real way around this without losing the multimedia and adding in proprietory hardware and we don't want to go down this route.

    Be really interesting to hear another MS point of view. I think it's best that pressure come from the end user market, as we find that it takes up to 6 months when we go direct. We are in the middle of a large opportunity with MS which is why I'd place a wager that you don't get your answer as quickly as you'd like.

    How do you guys think Windows should be licensed on SoftXpand without going into the terminology of it?
    Cheers,
    Col

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    Bluetooth's Avatar
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    As far as i understand it especially if the network is done via device cals, it should only be 1 licence per machine but i hate licensing stuff and it always confuses me. I can see there might be an issue, 1 license being split into 5 virtual machines and such and the guy at ms did say that if that is their determination then it should have licenses for each VM.

    Blah, dunno, interesting peice of software and certainly keeps the cash in the school budget but even so, if we have to shell out another 500 on CoA's then it would still be worth it tbh.

  12. #26

    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluetooth View Post
    As far as i understand it especially if the network is done via device cals, it should only be 1 licence per machine but i hate licensing stuff and it always confuses me. I can see there might be an issue, 1 license being split into 5 virtual machines and such and the guy at ms did say that if that is their determination then it should have licenses for each VM.
    See this thread for more details:

    Softxpand system

    tmcd35 and I spoke to our MS resellers, who both seemed to have come back with the same reply - to license a four-workstation SoftXPand system you could buy an (upgrade) copy of Windows Vista Enterprise, which allows four VMs to be run from one instance. You would also need a full copy of Windows XP. So you need to buy your original PC with Windows Vista on it, an upgrade to Windows Vista Enterprise (around 40, I think) and a copy of Windows XP (100). That's really not bad at all - around 200 would cover you for a 6/8 workstation machine, then you've just got to buy the original PC (what, 500?) and some extra graphics cards (3 at 30 each?) and you're sorted.

    The other option is that the SoftXpand system is made to work on Windows Server, then you can use standard CAL licensing as you would for a TS server.

    Anyone any idea how licensing for Windows 7 works? I could have sworn the idea was that it would come with a licensed copy of Windows XP embedded as a virtual machine - would one "Enterprise" copy of Windows 7 cover a bunch of virtual machines, do you reckon?

    --
    David Hicks

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Anyone any idea how licensing for Windows 7 works? I could have sworn the idea was that it would come with a licensed copy of Windows XP embedded as a virtual machine - would one "Enterprise" copy of Windows 7 cover a bunch of virtual machines, do you reckon?

    --
    David Hicks
    My guess would be that the license with Windows 7 Professional is 1 virtual XP only. The License with Windows 7 Enterprise is 4 virtual machines of any Windows Version up to and including Windows 7.

  14. Thanks to tmcd35 from:

    dhicks (15th June 2009)

  15. #28

    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    My guess would be that the license with Windows 7 Professional is 1 virtual XP only. The License with Windows 7 Enterprise is 4 virtual machines of any Windows Version up to and including Windows 7.
    Yes, but I understood that Windows XP came "embedded" somehow inside Windows 7. If you buy one copy of Windows 7 Enterprise does that cover you for running four copies of the Windows XP VM without having to go out and buy a separate copy of Windows XP?

    --
    David Hicks

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Yes, I would have thought so. At least that's how I've licensed SoftXpand using Windows Vista Enterprise.

    My understanding is that the Select license gives you downgrade rights to use any previous 'business class' OS (3.11/98/NT4/2000 Pro/XP Pro/Vista Bus/7 Pro) up to and including the version you have a select license for.

    The enterprise edition gives you the Windows License for itself and 4 virtual machines - 5 Windows Licenses in total.

    So with a Windows 7 Enterprise Edition license you could run 5 copies (1 system + 4 virtual) of Windows XP instead of running Windows 7.

    For the machine I'm building I bought a Vista Business OEM license + a Vista Enterprise License. The Enterprise License is an 'upgrade' license to I needed the OEM to upgrade from. Although I bough Vista license I'm using the select agreement downgrade rights to run XP as the host OS for SoftXpand.

  17. Thanks to tmcd35 from:

    dhicks (15th June 2009)

  18. #30
    Bluetooth's Avatar
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    But what about those of us who dont use vista at all? purely xp across all my schools currently.

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