by October 1, 2011 0 comments

Doing more with less is a mantra for just about every organization today, which is why there’s a constant search for innovative IT solutions. Well, here’s one of them –nComputing’s X-Series desktop virtualization kit, a product that lets you share a single PC amongst multiple users simultaneously. Considering that even ordinary desktop PCs today have become very powerful, one doesn’t realize that most of the time, only a fraction of this compute power is actually used. It’s only when you use the PC for some graphics or multimedia intensive work that its resource utilization increases. That’s where the nComputing device comes in pretty handy.

[image_library_tag 867/71867, border=”0″ align=”right” hspace=”4″ vspace=”4″ ,default]

Then Computing X-Series desktop virtualization kit comes with the vSpace desktop virtualization software, and a PCI card that fits inside the space-saving computers, and NComputing XD2 access devices. X-Series is available in two kits, X350 and X550. The X350 kits contain three XD2 devices, thus allowing one PC to be shared with 4 users. While, X550 has five XD2 devices, that allows six users to share one PC simultaneously. Thus, with two X550 kits, one can have 11 users sharing the host machine. Unlike thin-client architecture, the X-series solution doesn’t require any computational power at the client’s end. That means, all you need to have for each user is a monitor, PS/2 keyboard and mouse.

Price: Rs 4,000 per seat (3-year warranty)
Meant for: Desktop Virtualization
Key Specs:Kit includes: vSpace desktop virtualization s/w, PCI card for expansion, XD2 access devices
Pros: Easy to set up, each user gets virtual workspace, energy efficient
Cons: None
Contact: NComputing, Chennai, Tel: 431988800
Write with name of the product in subject for more info.

The PCI card once installed in the host machine, can be connected to each of the XD2 access devices through CAT 5e or CAT 6 cables of up to 10 meters. Cables of these specifications are required since the XD2 device uses power over Ethernet (PoE) to power up the connected devices, i.e. keyboard and mouse. The access device itself has no CPU or moving part that consume power, so it just consumes 1 watt of electricity as compared to a full-fledged CPU that could consume about 100 watts.

Cost savings and performance

Taking a scenario where you have to provide a desktop to four users, then either you can allocate each of them a dedicated machine or use NComputing’s solution. A desktop with Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB RAM and 500 GB HDD would cost about Rs 35K, and for four users the bill would be Rs 1.4 Lac. While NComputing’s X350 desktop virtualization kit costs Rs 12,000 for three users and add to that the cost of the main host desktop, it comes to around Rs 47k. Plus, the cost of three monitors, keyboards and mouse. This is far lower than what you would pay for four desktops, and their power consumption throughout their life.

To check the performance, we connected X350 PCI card on a Windows 7 based machine having an Intel Core i7 3.4 GHz processor, 2 GB DDR3 RAM and 1TB HDD. Connecting the three XD2 access devices we setup the desktop environments for four users with vSpace. We used the Geekbench benchmark to check the processor memory performance on each user’s desktop. On the main machine, when no other user was connected, the score came out as 8395. Then logging on from each user, we simultaneously ran GeekBench on all four instances of virtual desktop and the minimum score of the four that came out was 7257. This clearly shows that each user’s experience is quite seamless without much of a performance drop even when they’re all running simultaneously.

Bottomline: This is a very cost effective desktop virtualization solution for organizations that need to provide desktop to a lot of employees.

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