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NComputing: Virtualize desktop resources

Posted on: February 25, 2009

By Anna Valmero
First Posted 07:29pm (Mla time) 11/25/2008

Filed Under: Technology (general), Computing & Information Technology, Hardware

MAKATI CITY, Philippines — By virtualizing desktop resources and harnessing the untapped desktop processing capacity, one desktop can be shared simultaneously by multiple users, an executive from NComputing said.

Over time, the desktop processing capacity has improved while typical user applications only use a small fraction of their computing capacity.

The unused computer processing capacity can be tapped to offer more computer access at lower costs, said Manish Sharma, vice president of NComputing Asia-Pacific, in a briefing.

“When this paradigm shift — virtualization of desktop resources — happens, the whole computing equation changes,” said Sharma.

For example, to set up a lab for 100 users, one only needs to buy 10 desktops instead of 100 and just add 90 sets of monitor, keyboard and mouse. The 90 user stations are networked to the central desktop, turning the desktop into what Sharma dubbed as “mini-server.”

This smart way of computing, a brainchild of chairman and CEO Stephen Dukker, allows organizations to slash costs of hardware acquisition costs by up to 70 percent and electric power by up to 90 percent, while promoting the green agenda, said Sharma.

Sharma said power dedicated to run the computers and cooling is reduced because for every 10 users, only one desktop is used. The rest of the users require only minimal power to run the computer interface peripherals and hardware access device.

In terms of computer refresh cycles, there are two benefits: savings from hardware acquisition and less number of computers to be disposed, which translates to reduced e-waste.

Keeping up with the green agenda, Sharma added that their hardware access devices do not get obsolete and is robust to operate in harsh environments like in manufacturing and outdoor equipment.

“The access device is also very green and will not be obsolete. It has no moving parts and only integrates a chip is inside,” said Sharma. The processor, designed by NComputing, is used to connect the computer peripherals to the shared computer.

The technology also paves ways for enabling cloud computing, when the desktop or any user from the network accesses the Internet, said Sharma.

He added the shared computer can be connected to a server and a storage area network to extend the storage and network access capacity of each user.

To enable this smart way of computing, NComputing has launched two access hardware devices: the X series allows a desktop to service another ten users simultaneously and the L series adds up to 30 users to one desktop. The company has one million installations of the devices worldwide.

Both devices have built-in open source software, called Vspace, which manages session and control allocation of desktop resources among multiple users.

This can help companies without dedicated IT staff to effectively manage computing assets, said Sharma.

The X series, which uses just 1 watt, provides users rich multimedia applications and uses direct-connect cables of up 10 long between shared PC and the users.

Consuming 5 watts per box, the L series uses Ethernet local area network connection so distance between the user and shared computer is extended. It delivers web-quality multimedia, said Sharma.

Both devices can work with operating systems from Microsoft as well as Linux SuSe and Ubuntu. For vendor software, companies can opt for multi-user licensed software, said Sharma.

In terms of downtime due to high network traffic, Sharma said, this is a possible scenario which is characteristic of any network-centric system handling too many requests at one time.

From the perspective of PC manufacturing, this strategy might mean less PC sold. Sharma commented: “Vendors exist to serve customers who use PC as tool for business and must provide ways on how to optimally tap these resources.”

“Virtualization of desktop resources can benefit all industries,” Sharma said.

Education is the largest segment that tremendously deployed the solution, followed by small and medium enterprises and the business processing and outsourcing sectors, said Sharma.

Currently, the company is in talks with the education departments of the Philippines, as well as other Asia-Pacific countries.

In the Philippines, customers include the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Adamson University, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Perkins Elmer, V. Luna Hospital and KFC.

Sharma said the company seeks to gain inroads in the manufacturing industry and segments concerned with high IT security or those who have remote areas of operations where they do not want to store company-sensitive information.


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