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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, N-Computing: Anyone using? in Technical; Spot on! Two caviates (there would be ). 1. I've not researched fully into how Multipoint handles sound - or ...
  1. #16

    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Spot on!

    Two caviates (there would be ).

    1. I've not researched fully into how Multipoint handles sound - or if that's what makes usb extenders/terminals from the likes of HP/nComp/etc so special.

    2. I'd assume that a touch screen presents it's self to a PC as a usb HID - or basically, a mouse. If this is the case then the touch screen would work like any other usb mouse. So why not?

    What I do know is that the graphics 100% work the way I've described and keyboards and mice are mapped based on which USB hub they are plugged into. When you first boot the system you are told on screen to press a letter on the keyboard. That keypress maps that keyboard to the screen with that letter on it. Any mice plugged into the same USB hub as that keyboard automatically get mapped to the same screen. Job done.

    So yes - 3 dual port graphics cards would get you 6 workstations. You can use (as far as I can tell) Touch screen monitors with built in USB hubs and just plug a usb keyboard into each monitor.

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    dhicks (24th February 2010), waldronm2000 (25th February 2010)

  3. #17

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    =dhicks;........

    I'm guessing that they'll just cheerfully flog more of their multi-seat add-on cards in the future to run Windows MultiPoint Server.

    --
    David Hicks
    ...But don't underestimate the "HP effect" - They don't even have to make the "best" product to dominate a market, many organisations are just "comfortable" with the HP brand. This will be a factor N-Computing don't currently have to contend with... (HP have been successful in the traditional thin client market with pretty uninspiring products, compared to the dedicated thin client manufacturers' products)

    If what TMCD says above is true, and he seems pretty clued up on this, Ncomputing introduced and popularised the technology - but don't have a unique selling point....
    Last edited by nut-ed; 24th February 2010 at 09:43 AM.

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    waldronm2000 (25th February 2010)

  5. #18

    plexer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Right: so is all I need for a Multipoint server a PC with, say, three double-port graphics cards? I just get a motherboard, harddrive, RAM, shove it all together in a case, then connect up the screens, lead a USB cable out to each screen and plug a powered USB hub in to it where I then plug in mouse, keyboard and USB sound adapter? I could even just use a screen with a built-in USB hub? How much set-up is involved in plugging all these bits in - is it simple to clump keyboards / mice/ monitors / USB sound together into "workstations"? For "USB sound", are those cheap Hong Kong £2-a-time USB sound adapters off eBay suitible?

    Does anyone know if touch-enabled monitors work with Multipoint Server?

    --
    David Hicks
    The Ncomputing solution using probably the new u series usb connected ones for ease of install connect to the host via a usb cable, the monitor, keyboard etc... all plug into the ncomputing box.

    Ben

  6. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by nut-ed View Post
    Ncomputing introduced and popularised the technology - but don't have a unique selling point....
    I don't think HP are making their own multi-seat hardware, I think they (or, more likely, end retailers) are simply sticking NComputing cards in their HP PCs. So the multi-seat solution you buy consists of products from at least four companies: an HP PC, a couple of NComputing cards, LG NComputing-integrated monitors and Microsoft Multipoint Server. NComputing cards seem to provide more screens than would typically be available with just multiple multi-head graphics cards (I think you'd struggle to physically fit 5 graphics cards in most PCs, plus they'd draw a fair bit of power and cost a fair bit) and the cabling (standard cat5) is easier to run (and probably works over a longer distance) than VGA cables.

    --
    David Hicks

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    I don't think HP are making their own multi-seat hardware, I think they (or, more likely, end retailers) are simply sticking NComputing cards in their HP PCs. So the multi-seat solution you buy consists of products from at least four companies: an HP PC, a couple of NComputing cards, LG NComputing-integrated monitors and Microsoft Multipoint Server. NComputing cards seem to provide more screens than would typically be available with just multiple multi-head graphics cards (I think you'd struggle to physically fit 5 graphics cards in most PCs, plus they'd draw a fair bit of power and cost a fair bit) and the cabling (standard cat5) is easier to run (and probably works over a longer distance) than VGA cables.

    --
    David Hicks
    This is the HP device:

    http://bizsupport1.austin.hp.com/bc/.../c01923375.pdf

    I can't see it having any relationship with Ncomputing except as competitor - and in the blurb HP go out of their way saying it is fully supported and fully licenced - possibly a sideways dig at Ncomputing ?

    This device connects by USB to host, not cat5.

    That seems to to be the "interesting" point and introduces the benefits and disadvantages, ie avoids the
    performance hit for multimedia over TCP/IP (RDP), but also introduces the cabling issues and other considerations when moving away from tried and trusted Ethernet into something proprietary...

    I guess the CAT5 Ncomputing device is just a generic RDP thin client, pricewise it is in the same ballpark.

    Does anyone know if the USB devices from Ncomputing and HP will be compatible ? would seem doubtful as Ncomputing have their own software - and HP will be using Microsoft's Multipoint which wasn't (isn't!) around when Ncomputing started....

  8. #21

    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nut-ed View Post
    This is the HP device
    Oh, right, hadn't seen those before - yes, looks like HP are making their own multi-seat hardware, then.

    I guess the CAT5 Ncomputing device is just a generic RDP thin client
    Nope, NComputing's devices use standard Cat5 cable to connect but have nothing to do with ethernet or RDP.

    --
    David Hicks

  9. #22

    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Yes HP's box is it's own device - the T100 and it comes with the Multipoint Server Client Access License. Nothing proprietory about it. It's basically a graphics card and PS/2 keyboard/mouse convertor plugged into a standard USB port.

    Cabling wise it's the same 1 cable from PC to 1 device as the nComputing solution, just that HP uses USB instead of RJ45.

    The nComputing X300 series RJ45 is propreitory and DOES NOT run over standared ethernet networks. The X500 series on the other hand does run over standard ethernet and the U300's are basically the same as the HP boxes - USB based.

    As far as I can tell th nComputing U300 series are compatible with Multipoint Server although you'll need to buy the CAL's for those.

    And yes, so long as the device is compatible with Multipoint Server and you have the correct number of CALs the you can mix and match to your hearts content.

    No reason why you can't have 1 PC with a couple of screens run from standard VGA graphics and USB hubs, a couple of screens run from HP T100's, a couple of screens run from nComputing U300's and a couple of screens run from the Wyse equivilant.

    Can't see why you'd purposefully design such a frankenstine setup but certainly useful down the road when you look at spares and repairs.

  10. #23

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    Don't you mean the U-170's?

    U-series Desktop Virtualization and Virtual Computing Products - NComputing

    I am just waiting for pricing on these from my reseller for our reception area.

    Yes they are compatible with MultiPoint server, who has pricing on that and cals at the moment as I can't see it on the ramesys website.

    Ben

  11. Thanks to plexer from:

    tmcd35 (1st March 2010)

  12. #24

    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Yes I ment U-170's

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    Where can we get hold of the HP T100 boxes, really would like to test this out (We need 4 classrooms worth of new pcs which is 140 computers plus spares) So this should be cheaper to do!

  14. #26

    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by p-dave View Post
    Where can we get hold of the HP T100 boxes, really would like to test this out (We need 4 classrooms worth of new pcs which is 140 computers plus spares) So this should be cheaper to do!
    Novus Networks Ltd are handling everything for me at the moment.

    As for cheaper, in theory. I normally pay around £12k for an ICT Suite. Usinging complete HP kit on a 5 users to 1PC ratio, buying a teachers PC and some spare kit, I'm hovering around the £11k marker. If I built my own kit rather than use HP, which I intend to do next time, then the figure drops below £10k for 30 machines.

    Alot depends on a) the spec of the base units you use, b) the user to computer ratio - the systems support upto 10:1 but you have to question performance at that ration, and c) if you buy any spares or stand alone teacher PC's.
    Last edited by tmcd35; 2nd March 2010 at 08:39 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Novus Networks Ltd are handling everything for me at the moment.

    As for cheaper, in theory. I normally pay around £12k for an ICT Suite. Usinging complete HP kit on a 5 users to 1PC ratio, buying a teachers PC and some spare kit, I'm hovering around the £11k marker. If I built my own kit rather than use HP, which I intend to do next time, then the figure drops below £10k for 30 machines.

    Alot depends on a) the spec of the base units you use, b) the user to computer ratio - the systems support upto 10:1 but you have to question performance at that ration, and c) if you buy any spares or stand alone teacher PC's.
    based on the above do you expect this to work out cheaper than deploying "conventional" server based thin clients, doing the maths quickly it doesn't seem to - the capital cost would look to be about the same as 30 thin clients + server, the total cost when factoring power usage, extra support, etc could be much higher...

    In terms of support I'm seeing this as supporting 4 or 5 "little" terminal servers as opposed to one big one in terms of backing up, securing, anti-virus, software updates etc. and these 'little' terminal servers being deployed in potentially adverse and distant locations (classrooms!).

    Do you see this as a premium solution....?

  16. #28

    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nut-ed View Post
    based on the above do you expect this to work out cheaper than deploying "conventional" server based thin clients, doing the maths quickly it doesn't seem to - the capital cost would look to be about the same as 30 thin clients + server, the total cost when factoring power usage, extra support, etc could be much higher...

    In terms of support I'm seeing this as supporting 4 or 5 "little" terminal servers as opposed to one big one in terms of backing up, securing, anti-virus, software updates etc. and these 'little' terminal servers being deployed in potentially adverse and distant locations (classrooms!).

    Do you see this as a premium solution....?
    I see this as Desktop Virtualisation done properly. As in we are virtualising the desktop in the same manor and for the same reasons as virtualising the server - getting 1 PC to take up the work of 4 or 5 pc's and use some of that wasted computing power you're paying for with individual desktops.

    In terms of support - I treat them as individual desktops. They are deployed an managed as such. I keep 1 spare box for emergancy swap outs and that's about it. That is I see this as supporting 4 or 5 desktops instead of 30 desktops, rather than as supporting 4 or 5 mini terminal servers instes of 1 terminal server.

    As for comparing them to traditional thin clients. Yes it probably does cost around the same (never woeked it out). Yes a traditional thin client would be easier to support. However you have the multimedia costs of running thing clients. Even server hosted VDI solutions like VMWare View has some lag when working on multimedia tasks. Protocosl such as RDP, ICA, etc are not really up to the task.

    This is about reducing the amount of physical hardware you manage/support. Getting more value/use out of the hardware. But also keeping the raw computing power at the users desktop where it belongs rather than trying to move the power in to the server room.

    Building my own suite of computers and taking some cost saving into account from reduced electricity bills I make an average of £280 per seat using this solution compared to £450 (average) per seat using standard desktops.
    Last edited by tmcd35; 2nd March 2010 at 10:41 AM.

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    I've found the NComputing X550 great for our middle schools needs. I've been running a small test setup from the same machine I work on in the corner of our IT suite (2.2Ghz dual core E2200, 2GB Ram) running 4 workstations other than mine. We don't run any 3D applications and very little in the way of multimedia so there are very few drawbacks to the system. Only time it chugs is when at least 2 children are running some intensive flash games it maxes both cores out at 100%.

    I'm planning on rolling it out for the rest of the suite after Easter. 4 towers + 4 x windows server (2003) + 7 x X550 units + 31 TS CALs for the entire suite. Totals under £5500 for the whole suite, only £175/station using existing peripherals/monitors.

    I'm hoping 8 threads/4 cores should stop flash games killing the performance. It rarely happens even with 2 cores between 5 users, should be almost non-existent with 8 threads for 11 users. Memory usage is surprisingly conservative. I'm expecting 3-4GB to be enough but it will be the first thing to upgrade once they release 64bit support (I will upgrade to 2008 R2 around the same time hopefully). I'm also replacing the hard drives with a decent SSD to keep the systems responsive when there will be 10 users worth of disk access.

  19. #30
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    Slightly off-topic... is there anyway you can use the L-Series as normal RDP thin clients?

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