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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Multiuser solution sought in Technical; I am experimenting this summer with multiuser systems with the goal being a classroom of 24 stations running autocad. My ...
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    Multiuser solution sought

    I am experimenting this summer with multiuser systems with the goal being a classroom of 24 stations running autocad. My prototype is a 4 station pod built on a Core 2 quad, 4GB machine and I am acquiring various bits and pieces to try things out. So far, I have downloaded Windows Multipoint Server and Softxpand and have been sent a setup for Fiddlehead. I have also acquired 2 dual head graphics cards, 4 USB hubs, and some USB audio adapters for headphone use.

    Here is my thinking so far:

    1. I need one gpu per station so that leaves n-computing out. Everything else can go by USB.
    2. Multipoint server is probably my best (but not cheapest) solution if it runs autocad on all 4 stations.
    3. Fiddlehead may be the easiest to configure but may not run autocad.
    4. Softxpand is the one I know the least about.

    I have noticed that a few of you are quite conversant with these choices so I am appealing to you for two purposes:

    I. General reality check on my thinking and plans.
    II. Someone who might be able to partner me through the process (I could actually pay for this to a limited extent if you have actual experience).

    If all this works, I have a budget to buy the whole setup with new hardware, so I will eventually be interested in recommendations on computers and and monitors as well.

    As an additional note, I am not a network administrator, but can learn well.

    Thanks in advance,
    Milt

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    For what its worth I think that Multipoint server is currently the only one that is 100% unambiguious with liscencing requirements and will allow you to use a modern OS. I beleive some of the other options are limited to old OS technology like XP which is would be questionable to buy into this late in its lifecycle.

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    p858snake's Avatar
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    You will need more than 4gb if you want multiple autocads running at once as well as other stuff (especially if you venture into revit/inventor.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by milt View Post
    My prototype is a 4 station pod built on a Core 2 quad, 4GB machine and I am acquiring various bits and pieces to try things out. So far, I have downloaded Windows Multipoint Server and Softxpand and have been sent a setup for Fiddlehead. I have also acquired 2 dual head graphics cards, 4 USB hubs, and some USB audio adapters for headphone use.
    Makes sense - I've got something very similar set up to run Multipoint Server. I got to the stage of having two dual-head graphics cards in a machine, Multipoint Server installed, four screens plugged in and switched on and a message reading "Press B on the keyboard you wish to assign to a workstation..." before I realised I'd run out of USB keyboards, so there'll be a little bit of a delay until I actually get to try the system out. I'm planning on simply sticking a PCI Express USB card in the machine so I have enough USB ports for two per workstation, although I'm not sure if they'll want sound or not.

    The above system was originally going to be a test system for multiple such systems in our sixth form centre, one for each of the 10 rooms. I have enough random spare monitors and so on floating around the place to put together a 4-workstation machine for almost nothing, but 10 machines would need us to buy new screens and so on. At that point, the savings between multi-head systems and simply buying a bunch of Acer nettop machines were pretty minimal - maybe a couple of thousand pounds over 30 or so workstations. Make sure you work out how much money you're saving and whether you think it's going to be worthwhile.

    --
    David Hicks

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    As a point of reference, I am the CTO and inventor of Fiddlehead.
    1) Fiddlehead was designed to be a virtual machine so licensing is just as legal as any VMWare or XenDesktop installation.
    2) The same virtual licensing applies, unlike the old version of nComputing.
    3) Since it is a VM, Windows 7 runs just fine, as does any X86 OS.
    4) Because it is a non-emulated VM it is very efficient and therefore runs very quickly. CAD software will run just fine...just like any other PC, it may require a 3D compatible video card.
    5) 4GB with a quad core runs 4 users very well. CAD may not run well with that much RAM shared by 4 users, but the 64 bit host OS allows a lot more RAM to be installed.

    If any of you are interested, please feel free to join my LinkedIn group at MultiSeat for Education group | LinkedIn . It is a great place to meet educational multiseat users.

    Dave

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    I have to admit Fiddlehead sounds interesting but I haven't had the opportunity to play with it yet. Since it is virtualisation based, as with VMWare, Xen, et al, you'll need to purchase VECD licenses to run Windows Desktop in a VM environment. I think, it's been a while since I looked it up, that you need a MS licensing agreement with Software Assurance in order to purchase these?

    In terms of licensing I'm sure Multipoint is the most straight forward and clear cut - it's made by Microsoft.

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    Agreed, my friend. Multipoint is the easiest to license. VECD has just been replaced. I haven't seen the licensing yet, but for schools it is really cheap and much easier than VECD. It is almost exactly the same as MS School/Campus licensing. I think it is called VDA... Not sure, and I might be confused, but I think that is what it is...

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