tmcd35 (29th March 2010)
Thank you for your contribution. Without investment and some extremely passionate clients like yourselves, FiddleHead like SoftXpand will become narrower and narrower until in the end they're so niche that they get forgotten, and all of the cool things about their products will be lost; a friend of mine said recently that the pioneers are always the ones that disappear, and I fear there'll be some truth to this - I mean where's the mention of BeTwin!?
LG, Microsoft and now HP's entrance to the Multiseat computing market prove there's a significant end user need / demand (or was it a share of NComputings 10mn seats in 4 years they're after?). LG have more or less put their name to the NComputing solution given that the monitors have the NComputing chips embedded within them. We're meeting with them again this week and NComputing the week after. (Does anyone have any questions they'd like me to put to them out of interest? One EduGeeker offline asked me if LG are going to be creating a Microsoft Multipoint Server 2010 version of the Network Monitor series ie: without NComputing inside but with Display Link inside and I'll definitely be asking this, and another fellow EduGeeker asked me to ask NComputing whether they'll be focusing on hardware now, as in essence, with their licensing model using MPS 2010 the vSpace software is now redundant in their view). HP are building dedicated hardware for the MPS 2010 O/S so they're well and truly alligned with Microsoft, but never bothered with SoftXpand despite being approached - this will be in distribution soon no doubt in various flavours.
I'm a manufacturer too now so let's all agree on one thing.... marketing is marketing! In all of our tests there is most definitely an optimum number of users per physical PC that we've found works well, so all of this talk of 11 users, and 30 users on 1 PC with no loss in performance is tough to prove in real life. FiddleHead limit the number of users to 4; this should be applauded. I've seen a FH cluster that has Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Linux loaded and running at the same time, and I've seen it running decent applications, but none of the CAD, multimedia, rendering or Movie Maker type apps that SoftXpand and MPS 2010 are capable of. Being a builder of Multiseat ready appliances we're not limited to what we can offer and are constantly testing, so it's interesting to hear everybody's views and opinions. We've started shipping big time because you guys want warranties and some sort of expertise in multiseating, and a knowledge of the pitfalls and the benefits. Aside from veryPC and HP there are no CE / WEEE approved builders of multiseat PCs and the message we're hearing from VARs in education is that there is a reticence to self build, especially where no physical IT expertise exists, for example in primary education. Most of you guys could build machines with your eyes shut, but would prefer to pay as for one you're busy enough and for two a warranty is an insurance policy.
The MPS 2010 O/S because it's a dedicated multiseat O/S kind of solves the problems of applications that don't want to run in a multi-user environment too. I've been in Multiseating a while, and I'm really siding towards a dedicated Multiseat PC with MPS2010. These wars are won on sales, and the GreenHive appliance order book is ranked liked this at the moment: NComputing X series appliance, MPS 2010 appliance with NComputing U series, LG GreenHive, GreenHive for SoftXpand. I can see MPS 2010 + NComputing U series doing well, but ultimately my gut feeling is that GreenHive for MPS 2010 (ie GreenHive plus multiple graphics cards) will be the winner by year end, since the DisplayLink devices have another year to go in our view until screen flicker is resolved. Microsoft themselves will solve the performance load balancing that SoftXpand has been the winner in so far....
We run HD video's, MovieMaker, and now 3D on Fiddlehead. We also run 4 users on a Core I7 running MicroStation with 3D rendering. We can get 2 cores per user with 4 users, or 4 cores with 2 users. I tell you, it's just like a real PC. MPS 2010 doesn't even have MovieMaker available. Download it, and try to get more than one user to run.
Anyway, I tried to buy some nComputing enabled monitors for my nComputing set up I have and they told me I couldn't return them. They only work on the nComputing system and won't work as regular monitors if the nComputing system doesn't work for them.
One operating system, many users just isn't going to fly with Microsoft, so you are stuck with server based software like TS, Citrix, or (now) MPS 2010.
I've downloaded it (MoveMaker Live), installed it, and ran it as 5 different logged on users. On the test machines it worked fine until 3 videos where playing back at the same time. Better video cards and/or a better cpu would cure the problems, or a lower user ratio.MPS 2010 doesn't even have MovieMaker available. Download it, and try to get more than one user to run.
You underscored my point exactly regarding WLMM. WLMM is a new version that will allow multiple users to run at the same time. It is modified to run using the fast user switch hack, or so I'm told. MovieMaker will not run multiple times on the same operating system. Neither would CCC, or Compass, or SuccessMaker, or ClassWorks, or Read180, etc. Whether they are good pieces of software or not, they are what we (and many other schools) have to use. They run fine on a normal Windows XP or Windows 7 PC, or a Fiddlehead PC, BUT NOT ON A THIN CLIENT, or MPS, or nComputing, or anything else that uses one operating system shared by multiple users.
I'm not trying to say what is better, or worse, it's just that everyone is comparing their product to everyone else's product. That is fine, but none of them run just like a real PC... except a real PC, and Fiddlehead. That is my point. They are not like a real PC. They all have only one IP address, one MAC address, they can't get some applications to run, security issues because of the sharing of .ini and .dll files across users, problems with USB device security and attachment. ...on and on.
I wish we didn't need good multimedia, nor did we need applications that ran on Microsoft. But we do! If we didn't, I would just run LTSP and be done with it.
I am the CTO and inventor of Fiddlehead. There are a lot of passionate users of our product. Same thing goes for nComputing, softXPand, Applica, ZeroLink, TwinPC, Pano, etc. It just goes to show how important this type of technology "could" be if it were embraced by a major manufacturer or all of us really started getting some traction. I guess MS MPS and HP are following. The comment about wanting the 10M seats that NC has sold over the past 10 years is probably spot on.
There is a better way to deliver PC computing and we all believe that some sort of server based computing is it. I think it is important that we remember to sell our product for what it really is. The 2nd best thing over the past 4 years that has happened (in some ways) is that nComputing has sold lots of their product. The best thing is that MS and HP have taken notice and added credibility to this space. It has relegated nComputing to the thin client manufacturer that they are. The worst thing that has happened in the past 4 years has been that nComputing has sold their product as a PC replacement product. If they had sold it as what it truly is - an easy to implement, better thin client, we would have been farther ahead, and so would have they. The business model that the NC has followed is the same that they followed at eMachines... enough said.
BTW, we have the 3D capabilities that were mentioned earlier in our soon-to-be released version (V3.0) of software and that is what vermonttechie is talking about. His mention of using the Core-I7 is aimed at power users that want 4 heads with dual core SMP capabilities. I guess if you wanted 2 users that had quad core capabilities, you could do that also.
AMD Opteron 6100 review | Processors | Reviews | PC Pro
and 5-port graphics cards:
PowerColor jumps on the Eyefinity bandwagon, breaks off a wheel -- Engadget
It'd be interesting to see if you could actually run an entire classroom directly off one server - would a 4X 8-core processor motherboard with 6 PCI Express slots, 24 GB of RAM and a decent RAID array running Windows Multipoint Server be able to run 30 workstations?
We (all of us) are in a sweet spot regarding hardware. As more and more cores come on board, our products will just get better and better.
MPS 2010 is limited to 10 users, unless you have academic. Same thing with domain join. MPS will not allow the users to join the domain. MPS academic will. Not being AD aware for non-academic may seem like no big deal, until you really think about it... There are good reasons that server software is loaded on server's BEHIND locked doors. An ERD Commander disk and physical access to a machine is all I need to access administrative privileges. Who would allow that? Certainly no one in the business world. I guess Microsoft thinks the schools that would use their product don't care about security issues. I think they know that businesses would throw them out on their ear if they allowed such a blatant security flaw to be sold. I also know that schools wouldn't purchase MPS if they couldn't join the domain. ...so MS has chosen sales over security...at least in the area of schools. Sounds about right.
Regarding a 4x8core and enough video outputs, it is done on Fiddlehead and we have no problem with video. The problem of 3 users not looking good like someone mentioned earlier is twofold. You are kind of right regarding IO. IO bind is important and that can be solved with SSHD's or multiple SATA drives. The real problem with MPS and more than 3-4 users is that they are using USB video cards (DisplayLink). The reason we chose to not use DisplayLink is because they are not getting enough bandwidth (132 MPBS is needed for perfect video) availability. They only have 480 MBPS per root hub. When you add in the need to seperate high speed (video) from low speed (keyboards and mice...why do you think they use PS-2 connections?), you need to have multiple root hubs, and you need to be very careful about where you plug them in. In your example of one big server, you would need 8 root hubs (most PC's only have 3, and most servers only have 1 or 2). If you didn't have 8 root hubs, you would severely limit multimedia performance. Fiddlehead's native use of video solves that problem.
Are you complaining about MPS 2010 not supporting AD joining and that being a security risk for schools? As you acknoweldge in your opening sentance there - the ACADEMIC version includes domain joining.
Now correct me if I am wrong but we here being schools and schools being academic environments and us schools love a bargin, surely we'll all be purchasing the cheaper academic version? I certainly am! If we are, here - being schools (Edugeek, schoold forum and all that), purchasing the academic version and joining a domain then were is this security hole.
Certainly wouldn't personaly buy into any OS product that didn't include domain joining functionality at the moment.
The main problem I can forsee in trying to run a 30-workstation classroom from one machine is cabling - how do you run all those DisplayPort / VGA cables from one central machine to a whole bunch of monitors? Lots of DisplayPort-to-VGA-to-Cat5-to-VGA-again converters? Same goes for USB - you need to run a USB cable to each workstation to connect a powered USB hub for keyboard and mouse, so that's 30 USB hubs you have to attach to your machine somehow... Is anyone actually trying anything like this? All the people on this thread who run their own companies that make multi-seat machines: have you tried a 30-workstation install on one machine?
I'm still secretely hoping that Blade Server come down a bit more in price and RemoteFX lives up to expectations then this Multiseat business might just end up as a fad when proper VDI becomes doable.The main problem I can forsee in trying to run a 30-workstation classroom from one machine is cabling - how do you run all those DisplayPort / VGA cables from one central machine to a whole bunch of monitors? Lots of DisplayPort-to-VGA-to-Cat5-to-VGA-again converters? Same goes for USB - you need to run a USB cable to each workstation to connect a powered USB hub for keyboard and mouse, so that's 30 USB hubs you have to attach to your machine somehow... Is anyone actually trying anything like this? All the people on this thread who run their own companies that make multi-seat machines: have you tried a 30-workstation install on one machine?
Profuse apologies for attempted selling and apologies to tmcd35. No more of that from me. I am not an expert on security and was just parroting what I heard from several large school districts regarding server software being put in the hands of students. They seem to be very averse to putting a server in the hands of students with server software on it. ...especially server software that can be set up as a domain. Also, below is the web site showing licensing and max number of stations. I am WRONG regarding the limit of 10. I had it turned around. That limit is not for schools, it is for everyone else. Schools have no limit AND can join the domain.
Google the following: Licensing and Purchasing Options for Windows MultiPoint Server 2010
dhicks, ...30 stations does require a lot of cables, hence the typical 4 station limit on FH. ...Unless you want to go to KVM-CAT5 converters. Your mention of using KVM to CAT5 converters is correct. We put the server in the rack, and connect to an off-the-shelf 32 port KVM to Cat5 converter and use the "home" runs to extend the video. You can purchase ones that will push/pull USB on the same cable. They will extend the video and USB 1.1 (fine for our keyboards, and mice) over 1000' feet. If you want to go to USB V2.0 for use with flash drives also, one CAT5 cable will only net you around 300'. Talk about a clean installation. That gives you the capabilities of real PC performance (like a 1-1 blade that tmcd35 mentioned) but the density of server based computing. We put around 480 users per 84U rack mounted server. ...and there is nothing more than little breakout boxes on the desktop.
You also mentioned Displayport. V1.2 pushes 4 users AND USB over 15Meters to a DP monitor. KVM to CAT5 converters are also available for that.
Another spanner in the works for you to play with.... System requirements Looks like SoftXpand, with the same licensing conundrum; feedback from the guys who pointed it out to me suggest it's a great user interface, dead easy to assign workstations and has load balancing. However this is the first I've heard of them. Are you familiar with them?
tmcd35 (9th April 2010)
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