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Hardware Thread, Softxpand Miniframe in Technical; Originally Posted by RogerAnscombe Colin was previously banned for trying to sell so I do not want to fall into ...
  1. #106

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    Quote Originally Posted by RogerAnscombe View Post
    Colin was previously banned for trying to sell so I do not want to fall into the same trap.
    Oh, I'm sure it'll be fine if you're answering direct questions.

    How much does your SoftXpand system cost to buy for a system (ie.e one PC) running 6 workstations?

    Do you have any benchmark data for your system - maybe some data from a benchmarking application that something like PC Pro would use to judge the performance of a computer system?

    Does your system only work on Windows XP?

    --
    David Hicks

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    SoftXpand MiniFrame

    Hi Dave,

    Thank you for the invitation. If I get banned I will blame you!

    There is a lovely expression that says, "If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is". SoftXpand is a product that does sound too good to be true which is why I prefer to demonstrate it than just talk about it. We now have over 30 resellers around the country who all have demo equipment so I am sure we could arrange for you to see for yourself.

    I don't like running down the competition as any multi-seat computer is helping the environment and if all you want is to type in Word, then please just buy the cheapest. In practise, most users today want full multimedia and I am told that this is now firmly included in the National Curriculum. Each monitor on SoftXpand is connected directly to a dedicated nVidia GeForce graphics card so the graphics output and processing is actually usually better than a typical stand alone PC that uses on-board graphics. SoftXpand also allows for dedicated headsets for each monitor. Can other multiseat computers or thin clients run 6 full screen high res videos with sound at the same time?

    SoftXpand spreads the cost of the PC components to multiple users so we purchase components on quality rather than price. This helps with the single point of failure problem. Oriel College kept 3 spare units in a cupboard for emergencies but 12 months later they were still sitting there so they brought them into service and now have 18 extra student PCs. Different resellers will have different levels of service so it is difficult for me to quote prices but one school in Leeds who ordered 6 x 6 user SofXpand systems did tell me that for the same budget they would only have been able to purchase 20 conventional PCs. They have also since stated that the SoftXpand systems give a faster user experience than they have been used to. Again you really need to see this for yourself. Some multiseat vendors only quote for the access devices and ignore the cost of the controlling PC. SoftXpand pricing will always include the complete solution which I believe is a fairer way to sell it.

    You can buy a "Green PC" from most tier one manufacturers that will save you something like 5% of the electricity to run it. This is commendable and I agree with saving electricity but roughly 70% of the carbon footprint of any PC is embedded in the manufacture, so all they are saving is 5% of the remaining 30% which I calculate to be 1.5%. SoftXpand saves a genuine 83% of the carbon footprint of manufacture, packaging, transportation, energy use, heat output, space and land fill. This is why SoftXpand now qualifies for a 0% loan from The Carbon Trust. Sorry but they do not lend to public bodies so this is only good news for private schools. Other multiseat computer vendors choose to quote the carbon footprint of just their access devises which is low and completely ignore the controlling PC. Once again we always look at the complete solution as I consider this to be a fairer comparison. Gartner claims that thin clients only save around 50% of the carbon footprint as a lot of the PC's footprint is just moved from the desktop to the server room.

    SoftXpand saves 83% on the number of Ethernet ports, cables and switches needed. This does not just save on budget but also on heat and noise in the server room. Using a network splitter cable we have connected 2 x 6 user SoftXpand systems to a single network port. As this was in a primary school where it was customary for 2 students to share one monitor, we also connected two headsets to each monitor. This meant that 24 students were all successfully working off one network port. This was a school in a listed building where cabling would have been expensive. Yes we could have used a small cheap hub, but a splitter cable was cheaper still.

    SoftXpand will work well with Smart, Prometheon or Hitachi Interactive Whiteboards as one of the 6 users or will connect to Visualisers, Cameras and Microscopes. Basically, whatever you can do with a stand alone desktop PC, you can do 6 times with SoftXpand.

    To sum up, SoftXpand is cheaper, faster and more reliable than typical desktop computers and saves a massive 83% of your PC carbon footprint. Sounds like a win, win and win again situation to me.

    Now we come to the really unbelievable bit. With SoftXpand running you can remotely upgrade software while 6 students are still working on the unit. Book a demo if you do not believe me.

    If all that is not enough SoftXpand includes, at no additional cost, admin tools will allow either a teacher or a remote IT manager to view or interact with any student monitor.

    There is more but you do really need to see SoftXpand to believe it. If you are still in any doubt, please put a SoftXpand system next to any standard desktop, thin client or other multiseat computer and you will then understand the difference.

    Sorry Ric if I have gone too far, but I was asked!

  3. Thanks to RogerAnscombe from:

    dhicks (10th March 2010)

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Oh, I'm sure it'll be fine if you're answering direct questions.

    How much does your SoftXpand system cost to buy for a system (ie.e one PC) running 6 workstations?

    Do you have any benchmark data for your system - maybe some data from a benchmarking application that something like PC Pro would use to judge the performance of a computer system?

    Does your system only work on Windows XP?

    --
    David Hicks
    hmmm: a lot of nice sales blurb, but did he actually answer any of your questions..?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Oh, I'm sure it'll be fine if you're answering direct questions.
    I'll give it a try, Roger can correct any mistake I make

    How much does your SoftXpand system cost to buy for a system (ie.e one PC) running 6 workstations?
    About £75 ish per station on top of Windows licensing

    Do you have any benchmark data for your system - maybe some data from a benchmarking application that something like PC Pro would use to judge the performance of a computer system?
    As with all these systems benchmarking wouldn't tell you much. It would tell you the raw performance of the base computer you choose to build the system around. This raw performance is then dynamically shared as needed between the ratio of users you decide to run on the system.

    At the moment I tend to overspec the PC's and go for low 4:1 or 5:1 ratios to try and guarranty good multimedia performance.


    Does your system only work on Windows XP?
    They were working on version 3 being Windows 7 complient the last time I was in contact with them, was a big factor in me looking at them at the time over nComputing. Unfortuantly I think MS have got rid of any ambiguity there may have been in the wording of the XP EULA. I'm pretty sure Win7's EULA says something along the lines of - 'one user only'.

  6. Thanks to tmcd35 from:

    dhicks (10th March 2010)

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    SoftXpand MiniFrame

    Hi nut-ed,

    You are right, there is much more I could have said but I thought I had said enough.

    SoftXpand currently is writen to run on the tried and tested XP Pro. Like many developers we are not going to look at Vista but we will produce a Win 7 version.

    The best bench testing so far was done by PC Plus magazine when they compared what they considered to be the three major contenders in desktop virtualisation. Softpand was awarded a PC Plus Performance award with 4.5 stars out of 5, VMWare Player received 3.5 stars and Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 received 3.5 stars. The best benchmarking is how does it work in a school environment and we rely on our customers to report on that. We had been very encouraged by the reports we receive.

    There are two important items I did not mention yesterday:
    SoftXpand does not use any proprietrary hardware so in years to come any spares will be more easily available.
    SoftXpand is an aplication that runs on the XP OS and does not alter or hack the OS and therefore automatic or manual updates of the OS do not cause any problems.

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    Hi Everyone,

    I'm Peter Hopton, I'm the CEO of VeryPC, I've been reading these forums quite regularly and thought I'd get a bit more involved.

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    My firm make appliances for use with ncomputing solutions, (I don't sell them direct BTW, so please don't take this as advertising) This is just background so you see me as an 'Expert'

    One of the ncomputing products, the X-Series is very similar to SoftXpand in the way it works. You see it effectively has 10 graphics cards in one box, outputting each users session on a KVMoverCat5 signal with a 10m range.

    The LG Network Monitor solution is very similar, but the KVMoverCat5 converters are built into the monitor.

    Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is look at their licensing guidelines.

    Windows Multi-User Licensing

    the reason behind this is term 2b of the Microsoft EULA.
    b. Number of Users. Except as provided in the Device Connections (all editions), Remote Access
    Technologies (Home Basic and Home Premium editions) and Other Access Technologies
    (Ultimate edition) sections below, only one user may use the software at a time.

    SoftXpand need to get their solution working on windows server, as there are no downgrade rights to XP.

    In relation to embedded carbon footprint, you'll find a correctly designed PC will have closer to 20% embedded and 75% in use, with 5% in recycling and end of life costs.

  10. 3 Thanks to PeteHopton:

    Butuz (10th March 2010), Ric_ (10th March 2010), tmcd35 (10th March 2010)

  11. #113

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    http://download.microsoft.com/downlo...ulti_user.docx

    Thanks Peter, well there it is - finally - MS position in black and white.

  12. Thanks to tmcd35 from:

    Butuz (10th March 2010)

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    Always happy to help!

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    @RogerAnscombe: Thank you for your comments regarding the 'green' nature of SoftXpand. I don't think that any of us ever disputed that it is an excellent idea to share resources in this way. The only sticking point was the dubious nature of the licensing and the difficulty that IT managers would have ensuring compliance.

    @PeteHopton: Thank you for the Microsoft link... I think that pretty conclusively summarises that client operating systems are not to be used for 'multi-seat computing' purposes.

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    There are ways in certain cases to obtain downgrade rights to XP from a server OS, but this needs written permission from MS on a per end user basis.

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    SoftXpand MiniFrame

    Hi Peter,

    I am surprised by your comments. You have seen how SoftXpand works and therefore know that it is very different to the nComputing solution. The link you sent was for licensing nComputing on MultiPoint Server 2010. As SoftXpand is a totally different product that behaves in a totally different way and runs on a totally different operating system, this is a complete red herring.

    SoftXpand is an application that runs on a single PC with a single operating system. It does not alter or "Hack" the OS as some people believe and this is why there is no problem with OS upgrades. SoftXpand Ecoware is a PC, not a server so please, please let us get away from this hang up on server licensing. There is no more need for a server license on a SoftXpand Ecoware system than on any other PC. The only people who think this are those who do not understand how SoftXpand works or people who have a commercial interest in alternative technologies.

    I have been asked in previous comments to state emphatically what are the licensing issues when using SoftXpand. Let me repeat. ONE copy of XP Pro per device. Not Windows Server or MultiPoint Server; They are for servers.

    The only way to fully understand how SoftXpand works is to see it in operation.

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    Worth noting that multiseat computing like this is much greener than thin clients:

    • No Compression, decompression at client end, this uses energy
    • No resource in the server room (with AC and UPS), this uses lots of energy
    • Full performance video as a result of no compression
    • Kit can easily be turned off at night


    The ncomputing cards are quite impressive, packing 5 graphics cards, sound cards, keyboard controllers and mouse controllers into a single 5W adaptor.

    Using lots of geforce cards might give better 3D performance, but it is a bit clunky? and surely the 20-30W+ per card damages the savings? You could get a full green desktop PC for that.

  18. #119

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    Quote Originally Posted by RogerAnscombe View Post
    I have been asked in previous comments to state emphatically what are the licensing issues when using SoftXpand. Let me repeat. ONE copy of XP Pro per device. Not Windows Server or MultiPoint Server; They are for servers.
    Okay, let's have this down in black and white.

    I actualy love the SoftXpand system and would much prefer to use it at this stage over Microsoft's Multipoint Server. (EDIT: and SoftXpand is light-years ahead of the nComputing compition)

    I am going ahead with a Multipoint Server suite install over Easter - now signed off. Why? Because I do not agree with your sumation of MS Licensing requirements and you have yet to provide any proof to back up your 1 license claim.

    And yes I 100% do know how the SoftXpand system works. It is an application that sits on top of Windows and divides multiple screens in an extended desktop display into individual workstations mapped to individual keyboards and mice. Correct it does not hack Windows in any way that I am aware off.

    However in terms of MS Licensing - and the link to the document above, on Microsoft own website, confirms this - eash keyboard/mouse/monitor is consider to be 1 device. To license SoftXpand, according to the linked document, I would need 1xOEM XP or 1xFPP XP PER USER which more than prices you way out of the market. Sorry but they are the facts as I see them.

    If you disagree then all you need to do, as you have been asked repeatedly, is provide a link to a MS document or contact details of a MS employee who are happy to back up your claim.


    As it happens I do know what MS's 'unofficial' opinion of using your product is. I'm not going to repeat it because it's a completely unofficial, off the record opinion by an MS employee. Survice to say that baised on that opinion I might consider using your product but seeing as MS where not willing to go on record with any such opinion I'm not willing to convince my board of governors to upset the auditors when they next arrive.

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    @Roger
    Ncomputing X series is no different architecturaly from a softXpand solution. It merely has an ncomputing box which is just a passive KVM/CAT5 converter, made to tidy up the cables. In fact if you get an x-series and uninstall the ncomputing stuff it turns into a multi-monitor graphics card solution - with 11 monitors.
    You can't legitimately run multiple users on a desktop EULA - there are terms prohibiting multiple users on one device.
    The only way to legitimately license this is to buy a server OS and run on a server OS with appropriate CALs and TSLs. Or agree something else in writing with MS.

    This is why MS have brought in Multipoint server, which supports a system with multiple graphics cards, exactly like yours, one 'device' multi-points of 'users'.



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