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Microsoft Multipoint Server 2010

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#1
Guest_wsxedcrfv_*

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I've got a release candidate for Multipoint Server 2010 running on a quad-core Q8200 PC with 8gb of ram. I've installed some geo-informantics software as well as Office 2007 Enterprise and the multi-console functionality of these apps is really nice. I plan on installing a few more apps (like Autocad, Coreldraw and Adobe CS3) and see how far I can take this.

I would like to see the ability to assign the motherboard's native audio sub-system to one of the user consoles (I don't really understand why _all_ console audio must come from USB-attached hardware).

Anyone else trying Multipoint?


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#2
rwycuff

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Whats so much better with this over just normal windows terminal server?

#3
cluberti

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It allows multiple users to use the same physical PC with multiple keyboards, mice, video cards, and monitors. It's designed specifically for education environments where the admin (teacher) and students are in the same physical location, and it doesn't require a network, TS CALs, etc - it saves costs and works pretty well for what it's designed to do.
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#4
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Ok, I guess I'll be the main person to discuss Multipoint 2010 until it becomes more widely used. I hope that my posts here become remembered as the first pioneering discussions about this OS.

Anyways, after a lot of changes to various settings (mainly pertaining to giving the system the "classic" look when it comes to explorer and the start menu) and after installing lots of third-party software, I think I'm going to have to re-install multipoint.

It no longer starts properly in "normal" or multi-user mode. Instead of getting a proper login screen, I get a white screen with a mouse pointer but nothing else (and that's on all consoles). After about 2 seconds the screen goes black and if I hit a key or move the mouse I get this white screen again which after a second or two goes right to black. I tried doing a "re-install" (or in-place re-install) and after two hours of that process working and finishing it didn't change anything. It starts fine in maintanence mode (ie - single-user mode). I tried re-installing the video driver, but no change.

And get this - there is no restore-point thing with this OS. I think I'll clone the drive periodically so this doesn't happen again.

#5
nmX.Memnoch

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Being that I work at a Community College I'm excited to see something like this from Microsoft. I haven't used it yet but we are about to go into testing with it as we're about to upgrade several of our computer labs. If I can replace a 40 computer lab with 10 computers running 40 consoles that will be awesome!

May I ask what class of hardware you're running on it? I know CPUs of today have plenty of processing power available so I'm wondering more about the disk sub-system you're using.

#6
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My system is based on a 2-year-old Gigabyte socket 775 motherboard (offhand I don't remember the model number, but it takes DDR2 memory, which I have 8 gb installed. The CPU is a quad-core Q8200. I've got two video cards installed (nvidia 6600 PCIe and nvidia 7800 PCI) so I can drive a total of 4 monitors with this setup. I've installed XP-pro under VMware because there are a few apps that won't install under server 2008 R2, and I'll have to clone the XP image once I've got it setup the way I want it because two consoles can't run the same image at the same time. I'll probably run them in "unity" mode - see if I can do that directly from the multipoint start menu.

The motherboard has 1 IDE interface and at least 6 SATA connectors (maybe 8) and right now all software is running off a single 320 gb WD SATA hard drive (I'm probably going to clone it to a larger drive because I'm already using more than 60% of the drive). I'm really not sure about the reliability of any drive larger than 500 gb at this point, and I know that Seagate has had some real problems with their 750 and 1tb drives. Call me crazy, but I'm more comfortable running two 500gb drives vs a single 1tb drive.

I'll never run raid - I've seen too many people really struggle with them under XP, and I don't think that RAID is done properly on consumer motherboards to justify using it. My idea of a raid set is that when you want a byte from your file system, 4 bits should come from drive A and the other 4 bits should come from drive B. Instead what they do is break files up into 64kb chunks, and any file less than 64kb is stored completely on drive A. I think that's a joke, and not worth the paltry performance increase when weighed against the extra hassle when you need to fix a drive or file-system failure.

Edited by wsxedcrfv, 26 March 2010 - 07:09 PM.


#7
nmX.Memnoch

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We tested it a bit on Friday. The results were mixed. While I like the idea, mouse movement was really slow with no ability to change the speed. The Control Panel setting is there, but it didn't seem to have an effect. And since this is basically "RDP over USB", you don't get the full Aero interface either.

All in all it's a nice try for the first run but I'm not sure we'll be deploying it in the initial iteration.


If you are truly planning on deploying this I HIGHLY suggest you figure RAID into the setup. You need to do it with hardware RAID though (not what's built into the OS). There are several reasons for this:

  • It'll give you better performance. This is particularly noteworthy since more than one person will be using the PC at once. Also, if you're going to have more than 2-3 consoles per MultiPoint Server, consumer-level (normal desktop) SATA drives aren't optimized for multiple users. For this reason you may also look into spending a little extra cash on enterprise-level (workstation/server) SATA drives. RAID will lessen the impact of using standard SATA drives though.
  • Use either RAID1, RAID5 or RAID10 (four drives may be overkill though). Think about this scenario: you have a MultiPoint Server with 5 consoles. This MPS only has a single hard drive...and that hard drive dies. Now instead of having one station down you have five down. A simple RAID1 setup would allow the system to remain running until time to replace the drive...which should take about 15 minutes. With a hot-swappable setup you wouldn't even have to shut it down.
I know that RAID adds a little bit of cost to the system, but it's not that much in the grand scheme of things...especially if you're replacing 5 or so computers with one MultiPoint Server.

RAID is so cheap and easy to implement these days it really shouldn't even be a question of whether or not to do it. I don't have a single system on my home network that doesn't use RAID. It's a given that all of my servers at work use it, but even my semi-critical systems are using RAID. Adding it to a desktop configuration is usually only the cost of the second (or third) drive.

Edited by nmX.Memnoch, 29 March 2010 - 05:06 PM.


#8
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We tested it a bit on Friday. The results were mixed. While I like the idea, mouse movement was really slow with no ability to change the speed. The Control Panel setting is there, but it didn't seem to have an effect. And since this is basically "RDP over USB", you don't get the full Aero interface either.

Only the keyboard and mouse is USB. The video is not. And the mouse (mice) are very responsive on our system. Absolutely no problems. The people using it do a lot of graphic instensive work (Coreldraw, Page Maker, ARC-ESRI geo informantics) and the files are huge.

If you are truly planning on deploying this I HIGHLY suggest you figure RAID into the setup.

Totally disagree about that. Our system is running with a 320 GB Western Digital Sata drive that's 2 years old (it was used in another system - as part of a raid set, but that person had so much problems with his system failing that he swore off raid). This might even be a SATA-1 drive (not even SATA-2). I will probably clone this 320 gb drive to a brand-new 500 gb SATA-2 (with 32 mb cache) which will become the new working drive (I don't trust the reliability of drives > 500 gb at this point).

One problem that I haven't solved yet with multipoint is that I haven't been able to get a pair of Logitech USB speakers to work. It's the only sound hardware I've tried so far. If anyone knows what I have to do to get these working, or if there's other USB speakers that do work, please let me know.

#9
nmX.Memnoch

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And since this is basically "RDP over USB", you don't get the full Aero interface either.

Only the keyboard and mouse is USB. The video is not.



Yes, I understand that. However, if you look at the "Sessions" column of the "Users" tab in Task Manager you will see that all of your "consoles" are indeed RDP sessions. That's why I called it "RDP over USB", with the obvious exception that video is done over a VGA/DVI/HDMI/DP connection. My point being that Aero doesn't work over RDP, which is why you don't get the full Aero interface on each console.



If you are truly planning on deploying this I HIGHLY suggest you figure RAID into the setup.

Totally disagree about that.


Disagree if you will but the recommendation still stands, and for very good reason. I would hope that you didn't stop reading there and read the rest of the post on why I recommended it. Implementing RAID isn't as daunting/difficult as it used to be (not that it ever really was with the right controller). Using RAID isn't always about providing speed improvements either. In this case it would be more about providing better uptime. While RAID isn't total protection, it certainly minimizes the impact of a drive failure. If your company can afford to pay those employees to sit idle while the system is being repaired (read: reinstalled and reconfigured) then I guess you don't really need to implement it. Most companies would prefer not to have one employee sitting idle due to a hardware failure, let alone several just because one system failed.

#10
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My point being that Aero doesn't work over RDP, which is why you don't get the full Aero interface on each console.

We totally don't care about Aero.

Using RAID isn't always about providing speed improvements either. In this case it would be more about providing better uptime. While RAID isn't total protection, it certainly minimizes the impact of a drive failure. If your company can afford to pay those employees to sit idle while the system is being repaired (read: reinstalled and reconfigured) then I guess you don't really need to implement it. Most companies would prefer not to have one employee sitting idle due to a hardware failure, let alone several just because one system failed.

Until drives larger than 500 gb prove themselves (from a reliability POV) then I'm sticking to drives max-size = 500 gb. Our experience with drives 80 gb - 320 gb has been excellent, and in the 2 years that we've been using drives 400 - 500 gb we've had no problems.

The situation this machine is used in is not as sophisticated (from a corporate structure or employment pov) as you imagine such that hardware downtime has $$$ implications as you suggest.

Our main problem right now is dealing with MPS 2010 and printer issues.

There is 1 scanner and 2 printers connected to the machine (we haven't yet installed the scanner driver or tried to use the scanner).

One printer is a small laser (8.5 x 11) and the other is large format inkjet (11 x 17) HP K8600. I'm getting the sense that when it comes to printers, that each user sees or experiences his own print-driver setup properties and it's been a real struggle to get the laser printer to print "the same" for each user. As for the k8600, we have yet to get it to print an 11 x 17 page. We set all the various pages and pages of config settings for tabloid or 11 x 17, the print preview indicates an 11 x 17 output, and yet we get an 8.5 x 11 output on a full 11 x 17 page.

From reading other forums, many people have had problems running various printers on windows 7 that previously worked fine on XP (as these printers did).

I'm baffled as to what exact printer driver software I'm supposed to run on MPS 2010 for the K8600. Most of the HP files that I've downloaded will run (to a point) and then throw up an error that I'm running an incompatible OS (even though I'm trying their Win-7-64 bit or Vista 64 bit files).

I've also tried the manual driver-install method, where I unpack those HP files and then use the "have disk" method to install new drivers.

By now, I'm sure this system is a tangled mess when it comes to printer drivers.

I would have thought that many printers in corporate and soho environments would be under the direct control of servers running Server 2003 or Server 2008, and that printer drivers for those OS's would be of prime focus to get working correctly. Am I wrong about that?

#11
felix

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what kinds of config you are using? I am using a ne7400 cpu and 4G memory to test, got same feeling as nmX.Memnoch. mouse point moving is jumping, very slow.




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