(Don’t) Stop the Presses

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Thin Clients the solution when downtime is not an option

Known as “New York’s Hometown Newspaper”, The New York Daily News began printing in 1919 and soon became a favorite for is use of photographs, as well as its news, gossip and sports section. Its daily circulation of over 800,000 makes it the 7th most popular paper in the country and the second most widely read of New York’s 10 papers.

Some of its more famous headlines: “Who’s a Bum” (describing the Brooklyn Dodgers championship of 1955) and “Ford to City: Drop Dead”, run when President Gerald Ford refused the City of New York assistance during its financial crisis of the 1970’s.

Why the move to Thin Clients

The Daily News was in the process of implementing a Production Management Information System. During the project specifications, their Production Systems Engineering team worked closely with ven- dors to identify a state-of-the art solution with high system availability and central- ized system administration. What they found was the Thin Client solution offered by ACP’s ThinManager.

There is very little room for downtime when printing a daily newspaper. Thin Clients from ACP offered the most reliable system, with simple failure recovery meth- ods if needed. And as a bonus it was obvi- ous that the new system would also reduce their TCO.

Reliability an absolute requirement

There are currently twelve Thin Clients throughout the printing plant. These clients display critical production informa- tion which is used to manage daily news- paper operation. The data are stored in an MS SQL database and utilize ASP.NET and Crystal Reports applications to generate production management reports which are critical for analysis and maintenance of the equipment.

Because of the extreme necessity to minimize downtime, the Daily News’ cur- rent configuration consists of 12 clients “online” and 2 clients serving as “offline- spares”. Add to that two servers and ACP’s redundancy, and their Production Systems Engineering department has pro- duced a redundant architecture that allows them to recover from a state of fail- ure either with minimal or no production downtime.

If a Thin Client fails they have precon- figured spares available for immediate swap-out. Because ThinManager keeps the Thin Client configuration on the servers, a failed client simply needs to be replaced with an off the shelf unit and it will boot with the same configuration as the failed unit. If the primary server fails the second server will host all thin client transactions.

Thin Client benefits

The project was begun in September of 2001, and all of the clients were installed by February of 2002.

The biggest benefits that the Daily News has seen from their move to Thin Client technology? They would answer the question as follows:

  • Reduction of incurred downtime due to a system problem with distributed PCs.
  • Elimination of unnecessary PC setup More effective management and maintenance of the system from a central server location.
  • Less money spent on client hardware.
  • Reduced Total Cost of Ownership.

The redundancy features built into ThinManager coupled with the simple con- figuration and drop in replacement capa- bility of ThinManager ready Thin Clients ensure that each issue of the New York Daily News arrives on time.

Tom Jordan

V.P. of Marketing - Automation Control Products