800xA Client virtualization
Whats the latest trend around 800xA operator client virtualization. It was introduced couple of years ago. How is performance?
6.0 system guide mentions about NOT using client virtualization for main operator workstations. Looks like ABB does not want to promote virtual clients anymore.
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Correct - the statement is valid for all versions of 800xA, not only 6.0.
As the performance in rich clients is not as good as many expect it to be, moving the workplace to thin clients is a step in the wrong direction.
Thin clients often run on inferior hardware incapable of eg graphics hardware acceleration (even if the thin hardware should offer acceleration the Remote Desktop Protocol puts a halt for it).
In the end, more workplace processes are "stacked" on a slower processor in a terminal server without graphics acceleration and that additionally have to perform video compression to fit in the RDP tunnel.
Processors in high end workstations are closing in on 4 Ghz while many servers are closer to 2 than 3 GHz. Overhead in virtualization introduces further tolls. Somewhat oversimplified the workplace benefits from more GHz not CPU cores (one core is enough for a workplace).
Plus, stability and reliability is not improved by more CPUs and protocols, rather the opposite. Eg audible alarm had a major leak due to old Microsoft code in RDP server.
Some thin clients run Linux where things like audio decompression might not work due to codecs, etc.
My best hint is: use high end rich clients and a few meters of DVI cable between computer and its monitors.
After receiving feedback I feel the need to update my previous answer that might be interpreted as "thin clients are no good" which was not my intention.
System 800xA do work with thin clients and it is supported.
However, to obtain maximum performance and reliability rich clients are preferred over thin clients. Often, a thin client will deliver less performance than a rich client. This must be taken into account when choosing hardware and solution.
Also, process graphics to be used in thin clients should be made light weight and less dense than if rich clients is used. The number of OPC items per display should also be reduced for thin clients.
The use of remote graphics (HP RGS, Matrox Extio, Black Box, etc) must also be made with care. Not all solutions are certified for use with System 800xA. Each IIT certification targets one or a few operating system(s), hardware models and firmware versions.
Hence, older hardware might need to be replaced if the system is upgraded with newer operating system, patches, firmware, etc.
The preferred solution is probably a rich client equipped with a fast harddisk & processor and an accelerated graphics card with at least 512 MB on board memory (per monitor) and a few meters of DVI cable between CPU and the monitors.
There exists several small form factor computers that meets these specs today. The new Extended Operator Workplace uses such computers which fits inside the EOW console.