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 ...
11th July 2010, 01:14 AM #1
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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,
IDG Tech News
11th July 2010, 06:47 AM #2
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.
11th July 2010, 09:26 AM #3
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.)
11th July 2010, 05:14 PM #4
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.
Originally Posted by milt
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.
21st July 2010, 09:13 PM #5
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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.
21st July 2010, 09:38 PM #6
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.
21st July 2010, 09:47 PM #7
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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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