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System Integrator Uses Thin Client Technology to Centralize Control of Disparate Machines and Systems

Growth, for any business, is always a good thing. But even good things have challenges. When a growing food and beverage customer found that too many new machines combined with their existing controls system were making work harder, they called on Everworks, Inc. to streamline  their facility.

The customer had acquired multiple machines and new automation equipment as part of their growth strategy. Each new machine came with an OEM solution that is typically a stand-alone FactoryTalk View ME PanelView or SE Local Station. The SE instances ran on industrial computers that required continuous updates and expensive maintenance. What the customer needed was a strategy to integrate 4 OEM systems with their existing native controls to create one modern, fully automated, large food processing line. [...]

Monthly Integrator Spotlight

The Desire for Virtualization Drives ThinManager Centralized Management in Ireland


For decades, industrial automation in North America has seen consistent growth in both volume as well as technological development.  In many parts of the world, however, there has been a slower adoption rate of these new innovations in the manufacturing sector.  One such innovation, Virtualization, has forced companies to reexamine their stance on waiting to adopt new technologies.

Enter NeoDyne, located in Cork, Ireland.  Specializing in creating production performance monitoring and process improvement solutions, this fifteen year old system integration firm has plunged into these new technologies head first as they continue to modernize facilities across Ireland.  One of their current deployments is a Manufacturing Information System (MIS) at the main processing facility owned and operated by a global leader in the cheese and whey protein market.

Martin Farrell, the Automation Director at NeoDyne, explained to us how their customer’s desire to virtualize brought them to adopting the ThinManager Platform.  “The IT managers at their main facility had been trying to support all their standalone SCADA systems for the last 20 years.  Very early on in the planning process they decided they wanted a virtualized environment without physical servers sitting on the plant floor.  They were looking to bring all of their applications into a VMware virtualized environment that would deliver their applications to the plant floor.  At that point we advised them to adopt thin clients to replace their standalone PCs.”

It became obvious to the team at NeoDyne that updating the network infrastructure while implementing a Wonderware System Platform based architecture in a virtualized environment was going to require a centralized management solution.  “We had limited experience with Terminal Services and thin clients before this deployment but knew that this was the direction we had to go.  We did research, read a lot of articles and found ThinManager. It has turned out to be a fantastic product that allowed us to tie everything together.  It is an intuitive software platform that makes configuration and management easy,” said Martin.

Once deciding to implement all of these platforms, the first step was to tackle the challenge of integrating them with their planned thin client deployment.  Because the facility had three separate areas for cheese production, ingredients, and utilities, they decided to construct a network architecture using dual redundant I/O servers in each area from Solutions PT.  “The facility is still very much a Unit based production outfit.  Even though it is an automated plant, they still have a model of individual units and each unit requires its own dedicated control room. At the control level, it was a mix and match of everything, but we did put together a very organized structure on what had previously been a disparaged group of PLC platforms from Siemens to Allen-Bradley to Mitsubishi to ABB. ”

Once the architecture was firmly in place, Martin and the team at NeoDyne started applying a multitude of ThinManager Platform features to simplify everything and make the system more efficient.  “We have 2 ThinManager Servers set up in a mirrored configuration so if a thin client for any reason fails to connect to one, it automatically connects to the other. If we go home at the end of the day and one of the servers fails, we know they won’t be in the dark and we have time to get it back online with minimum disruption to the operations.”

Martin then explained some of the other ThinManager Platform features they decided to take advantage of.  “We deployed AppLink to deliver client sessions so the operators only have access to the InTouch Application without having to click around a Terminal Services session via the desktop to get to their SCADA application.  We also use it to launch a particular application so if the session crashes it will automatically reboot the application.”

NeoDyne, like many others, also uses the ThinManager Shadowing feature to provide off-site assistance by being able to remotely log into an operator’s user session and guide them through problems in real time without having to be in the facility.  However, they are also using it to reduce licensing overhead costs for their customer as well.  “Something else we have done in the facility is to allow an operator to go between two control rooms without using additional licenses via the Terminal to Terminal Shadowing feature.  We can have one session that is shadowed between two control rooms and depending on which Control Room he is in, he can take ownership of either application.  These “part time” thin clients that are used infrequently can identify as a shadowed thin client to avoid purchasing additional licenses to maximize cost efficiency.”

Their next goal was to find a way to allow the facility managers and supervisors to view the application without needing to travel through the facility.  ThinManager WinTMC made that a simple task without having to complicate the proposed facility network architecture.  “The main benefit of deploying the WinTMC feature is that it allows the plant managers and supervisors to access the application session on their desktop PCs to monitor plant performance and switch back and forth without needing additional hardware.  Also, as the PCs on the floor die they can replace them with thin clients instead of PCs as part of a continuing maintenance budget.  It gives them flexibility on how and when they buy more hardware.”

Now, more than a year since they began this project, we asked Ciaran Murphy, Automation Systems Lead for NeoDyne, how further deployment of ThinManager has been unfolding at the facility.  “What we have found is that using ThinManager to manage the thin client setup and the actual thin clients themselves down on the plant floor is allowing us to gradually retire more and more of their SCADA clients.  Their existing control systems and standalone SCADA systems are actually still there.  We put in a Manufacturing Information System (MIS) over the top to analyze plant performance.  Now, having seen the benefits of this technology, they will gradually replace their existing Thick clients on the Plant Floor with Thin Clients.  Over the next few years they will continue to replace the rest of the standalone PCs on the floor and just be left with thin clients.”

Now that ThinManager is efficiently driving the facility systems, we wondered what is next for the team at NeoDyne.  Ciaran was more than happy to tell us.  “With the success of this project, we showed other clients what ThinManager could do and are already deploying it into another ongoing project we are involved in with another major dairy here in Ireland who was impressed by the product.  Going forward, all of our future platform solutions for the next 5, 10, 20 years will have ACP ThinManager Platform as a fundamental part of our standard system designs and we will actively propose it.  To us there isn’t even a choice; if the site allows it, we will use ThinManager.”


ABOUT NEODYNE:  NeoDyne Plant Information Management solutions enable end user Lean Manufacturing, Process Performance Improvement, Overall Equipment Effectiveness, and Cost Improvement business transformation initiatives. The NeoDyne solution is specifically tailored for milk / food processing and combines features to manage and provide traceability for food batch manufacturing in continuous/batch processes. Plant automation and Quality/LIMS and ERP systems are joined into one unified solution.



To review cost savings of using the ThinManager Platform, visit our ROI Calculator here.

To read about successful ThinManager Platform deployments, visit here.

To see when the next ThinManager 2-Day Training Session is being offered, visit here.

Does Virtualization Really Provide ROI?

Heading into 2013 the hot topic around the IT water cooler seems firmly focused on the “Virtualization War” being waged between Microsoft and VMware.  There are arguments to be made on both sides of the debate and who will come out on top is anyone’s guess at this point.  Microsoft has a history of coming to market late with a product, only to devour the entire market with a low price point.  While Microsoft looks to finish buying out the current Virtualization Market, VMware has seemingly decided to ignore Virtualization as an “end game” and continues to push past it towards full cloud adoption to compete as a service to rival Microsoft Azure.

As is often the case in these full scale technology wars, it is often the needs and wants of the end user that are ignored while an entire industry stays solely focused on a battle between goliaths.  Regardless of who manages to lure away each other’s executives, or which smaller firms are bought out to provide a deeper arsenal and better market positioning, it is our contention that regardless of who wins, ThinManager is still a superior technology for managing virtualized environments.

As noted in our previous article comparing ThinManager to Citrix, as well as the discussion about where real return on a thin client system can be found, we must begin with the often ignored factor of a platform being able to manage the end device.  While widely regarded as an industry leader in the advancement of managing Virtualized environments, VMware View falls short of the mark as it relates to client management due to its managed images needing clients that require an operating system.  Any platform that requires an end user OS also requires time and resources being expended to keep those devices updated and operating properly.

So while VMware and ThinManager both operate on a “one to many” ratio, ThinManager requires far less resource and hardware management, which is a seemingly forgotten piece of the puzzle when determining ROI.  After all, true ROI must be measured by the total cost of labor hours as well as hardware and licensing costs.

Taking this comparison one step further, the Centralized ThinManager solution continues to pay bigger dividends every time an end device is replaced or added to the architecture of a facility. In a ThinManager environment, that device only needs to be plugged in, and it is instantly configured as the configuration is maintained at the server.  In a VMware environment, that device has to be manually configured before it can share data and deliver applications, requiring even more resource expenditure before being operational.  And the more clients you have, the more time will have to be spent performing maintenance and configuration in a VMware environment.

Yes, there are things that VMware brings to the table that are proprietary and unique to their platform such as PCoiP Protocol.  However, it is an equivalent trade off, at best, for its lack of RDP and ICA Protocol.  Add to that VMware lacks tiling support, client-to-client shadowing, session shadowing, MultiSession, and inability to connect to other non-VMware virtual machines across a network and one must begin to question the assertion that VMware is the answer to all things related to managing a virtualized environment.

Lastly, the lack of VMware support for both applications and management of Terminal Services / Remote Desktop Services (both of which are supported by ThinManager) creates a very large problem as most network facilities in the modern industrial landscape use Windows Server in some capacity.  It is one thing to compete against Microsoft in the battle for virtualization dominance, but it is another thing entirely to ignore the most widely adopted and used operating system on the planet.

While VMware and Microsoft are locked on each other with tunnel vision to the exclusion of the rest of the global landscape, there are more and more viable options for creating an efficient and well managed virtual environment…and ThinManager is on the top of that list.   After all, true Return on Investment comes from the money and resources you don’t have to expend while ensuring the least possible downtime for your facility operations.



To use the ThinManager ROI Calculator, visit here.

To read about successful ThinManager Platform deployments, visit here.

To see when the next ThinManager 2-Day Training Session is being offered, visit here.


Chevron’s HMI Upgrade Embraces Thin Client Technology

For over a decade, Automation Control Products (ACP) has been changing how the industrial automation sector does business in the competitive, fast paced, global marketplace with the ThinManager Platform.  Today, ACP is a worldwide leader in the automation industry that provides full-feature centralized thin client and terminal server management software.  Our unique platform offers trendsetting centralized management solutions for the modern factory by simplifying management of applications and visual resources.  When combined with ACP’s ThinManager, each client has performance and features unmatched by products from any other company.

In March of 2012, we published an article after speaking with B.K. Wallace, an Infrastructure Server Analyst for Chevron North America Exploration and Production, regarding their upcoming pilot project using a custom ThinManager Platform system to eventually manage all of their North American CO2 facilities (PDF available here).  After months of testing and implementation, AutomationWorld contacted ACP, as well as Chevron, to do a follow-up story about this successful deployment:


Thin client management software and multi-monitor technology enables bottom-line savings and speedy implementation for a control room retrofit pilot project at Chevron North America.

By Grant Gerke, Digital Managing Editor

West Texas is home to tumbleweeds, horses, desolate highways and Chevron North America oil and gas fields. This venerable oil producer’s drive for efficiency led to a successful pilot project that employs thin client software from Automation Controls Products (ACP, www.thinmanager.com). With the ThinManager Platform, Chevron is reducing hardware and maintenance costs by utilizing “thin” PC clients instead of traditional, more expensive PC hardware. [...]

Monthly Integrator Spotlight

ThinManager Grows With Expanding Operations


When a large globally recognized beverage company needed to expand their North American facilities from coast to coast, they called on the Barry Wehmiller Design Group.  With more than 25 years of experience as a global supplier of manufacturing technology, and over 600 dedicated technical professionals, they were the obvious choice for such a large project.  When it was time to improve and upgrade those facilities, the Barry Wehmiller Design Group called on ThinManager.

“We looked at a number of different options and settled on the ThinManager Platform because of its great reputation as it was created specifically for industrial applications.  It seemed to be an ideal solution for the plant floor.  It doesn’t carry a lot of overhead and it is very easy to install.  That was one of the primary considerations when we chose ThinManager,” said Mike Sommars of Barry Wehmiller Design Group.  He then explained the totality of this large multi-phase, multi-location project that was deployed and expanded upon over a period of time.

“We initially had three sites. In each of those plants we had redundant physical servers running the HMI and one of the sites had two packaging lines with a total of ten clients, of which six were thin clients and the others were thick clients.  And then the other two sites had single packaging lines with five clients total, of which three were thin clients.   Starting with the next facility, we decided to move away from thick clients and installed thirteen thin clients.  After that our next ten sites, which required a total of 55 thin clients, were all rolled out with a ThinManager Platform install using a number of redundant ThinServers.”

To complete so many successful installs required using the ThinManager Shadowing feature.  “Using the basic connectivity between the clients and the ThinServer with Shadowing allowed us to check the health of the network and troubleshoot the install remotely.  The Shadowing feature is an amazing time saver from a troubleshooting standpoint,” said Mike.  “ThinManager’s ease of configuration and deployment made it very simple to copy the terminals and replicate the install going forward.”

In the middle of this process, Barry Wehmiller integrators were asked to install a new HMI at one of the plants. “Using the new HMI with ThinManager was very easy.  Once we had the application developed the way we wanted, it didn’t make sense to port back over to a different platform.  After the initial setup, we were able to replicate it, and it became a very streamlined and simple solution without a lot of headaches.”

With so many locations and machines, the customer was concerned with the initial cost, as well as the total cost throughout the life cycle of the system.  Mike explained that the costs commonly associated with applying patches and future upgrades would be far less with the ThinManager Platform.  “By using ThinManager and making it so simple to work on the machines remotely with the Shadowing feature, we were able to reduce their maintenance cost.”

We asked Mike what the future was for their company and ThinManager.  “With such a simple learning curve and helpful tech support our plan is to continue using ThinManager on our upcoming projects.  Without hesitation, I would recommend ThinManager as a solution to anyone.”



To review the cost savings of using the ThinManager Platform, visit our ROI Calculator here.

To read about successful ThinManager Platform deployments, visit here.

To see when the next ThinManager 2-Day Training Session is being offered, visit here.

The Greatest ROI Comes From the Money You Don’t Have to Spend

Last month, we discussed how the often used “Return on Investment” statistic is one that is skewed by the data that is or is not used to determine initial cash layout of a proposed deployment.  However, one important part of that equation that has always been unavoidable when pricing out a proposed deployment is hardware.  When thin clients were first introduced, their initial cost savings over PCs was obvious.  But over the last decade, PC prices have continued to drop while thin client prices have, for the most part, stayed the same.  A quick review of new product press releases this month from manufacturers such as AIS, HP, Acer, and Ncomputing shows that while some thin clients can still be purchased at a very manageable price point, most of the current models on the market can cost up to $700 per unit.

It is our assertion, however, that even a $99 thin client may be an unnecessary expense when upgrading your network and operational systems.  After all, if you have a facility, a machine running Windows Server, and PCs on the floor, then you have everything you need to properly implement ThinManager as a complete solution for your system management needs.  Thanks to the development of the WinTMC function, which is now standard with the ThinManager 6.0 XLi licensing option, any PC can operate as, and be managed the same way as, a thin client.

WinTMC allows management of PCs and delivery of other ThinManager functions to PCs on any Terminal Server network.  Central configuration of the WinTMC function on a Terminal Server even allows administrators the ability to Shadow the PCs desktop from a remote location even when there is no active session.  WinTMC also gives you the ability to host applications on your Terminal Server that can be delivered to the PCs.  This makes sure you capitalize on the benefits of a Terminal Server environment.

The number one comment we receive from companies looking at the ThinManager solution is that at some point in the last few years they had purchased a number of PCs and don’t want to spend more money on thin clients while their PCs are still online and functioning properly.  That comment was the impetus to design and release such a flexible function.  Now, our customers don’t have to wait until their PCs start migrating to the PC graveyard.

With WinTMC you can set everything up on your Terminal Server and continue using your PCs.  Using them as clients immediately removes the cost associated with maintaining patches and updates while still being able to use your HMI and applications.  But the best part is that as those PCs age and eventually die, they can be replaced one at a time with ThinManager ready thin clients by simply plugging them in.  So rather than spending a lot of money on an initial purchase of multiple thin clients to replace your PCs which still function properly, you can now transition to a thin client environment over a period of months, or even years, as dictated by longevity of your last batch of PCs.

The absolute best “Return on Investment” you can realize comes from not having to invest in more hardware when the hardware you already have can be repurposed by a cutting edge management platform.


Monthly Integrator Spotlight

Stacking up the Benefits:  ThinManager and Rockwell Automation




For nearly thirty years, ESE, Inc, the Engineering Solutions Experts, has seen continuous growth in plant automation engineering.  Headquartered in Marshfield, Wisconsin, ESE specializes in Rockwell solutions for global food and beverage manufacturers. Yet, after years of providing support and upgrades, it became apparent that there was a missing piece to the puzzle.  That piece turned out to be ThinManager.

Contacted by a major cheese processing plant in California, ESE was brought in to upgrade their existing processes with a combination of modern hardware and a Rockwell Automation FactoryTalk View SE distributed SCADA system.  They replaced the older PanelView terminals that were on the factory floor with Allen-Bradley 200R VersaView Industrial PCs, as well as a legacy RSView32 SCADA system to give them more computing power and greater flexibility.

“FactoryTalk View SE was designed for this type of large scale integration,” stated John Tertin, Director of Manufacturing Information Systems at ESE.  “Rockwell Automation offers the FactoryTalk View SE Client which can be installed locally on a terminal, but in larger configurations, the recommended architecture is to use a Terminal Server that has the SE Client on it while terminals on the plant floor connect to the Terminal Server using Remote Desktop Services.  There really is a minimal amount of configuration because that’s what the product is designed to do.”

After fully upgrading the hardware and software, a new set of needs and challenges became apparent to both the client, as well as ESE.  Using the Allen-Bradley 200R VersaView Industrial PCs on the floor left the customer vulnerable to viruses and malware via the USB ports on the PCs.  In addition, maintenance was a headache as the control system is isolated from the internet and corporate networks which meant there was no way to upgrade or apply security patches to the Windows XP-based PCs.  This made them more vulnerable and less efficient over time…which is how ThinManager was introduced as a solution.

By using ThinManager, they converted the VersaView 200Rs from PCs to thin clients via the PXE Boot function (ThinManager XLi).  PXE Boot allowed the PCs to load the ThinManager firmware directly from LAN, instead of using the Windows OS located on the PC hard drive.  This let them immediately switch from PC based computing with high maintenance to thin client based computing with savings due to centralized management.

With most new software installs, there is usually a learning curve on the part of the integrator as they become accustomed to the best way to install and deploy new software.  But, as John Tertin soon discovered, that was not an issue with ThinManager.  “It was fairly straight forward.  I’d say we got the original configuration set up within a couple of days.  And that included getting the clients set up with mirrored ThinServers, getting the AppLink configured, and optimizing the settings relating to periodic monitoring for load balancing.  The biggest hurdle was cross referencing verbiage and terminology, which required referring to the documentation and drawing a correlation between familiar functions.”

When asked for an example, John stated, “We use the ThinManager AppLink, which by name is unfamiliar, but once you understand that using AppLink is the same as opening up RDS and clicking on the programs tab, it is pretty straight forward as long as you have familiarity with the software.”

After breezing through the ThinManager install, John and the other integrators at ESE immediately began to see the benefits of ThinManager.  “What’s nice about ThinManager is that I can create my display client to look at one or a number of Terminal Servers where the configuration file already exists.  At that point, it only takes 30 seconds to create another client because I only have to do the configuration on the Terminal Server once.  Then, using AppLink as soon as I use the display server, it immediately launches because everything is going through that common Terminal Server which is only configured once.”  Highlighting another significant benefit to using the ThinManager platform, Tertin continued, “We used to have a 2-page written procedure for adding a SCADA terminal to the network including instructions on naming the computer, joining it to the control system domain, configuring automatic login, etc.  Using ThinManager, this is no longer necessary.”

“Installing ThinManager allowed the customer to save significantly on their administrative costs because we no longer had to go to the facility and manually disinfect SCADA terminals.  After that happens a couple of times, the ROI for a ThinManager solution is pretty apparent.   Now they are no longer susceptible to those viruses, nor are they required to continue installing Windows updates on the individual machines with no connectivity.  They still have to keep the Terminal Server updated, but that is only one machine as opposed to dozens scattered across the plant floor,” said John Tertin.

So what does the future hold for ESE’s large food manufacturing customer and ThinManager?  “This is going to be the new standard,” said John.  “They have already standardized on the FactoryTalk View SE distributed platform, and ThinManager is part of that standard.  Going forward, ThinManager will be employed wherever the SE system goes.”



View or download the PDF Version of this Success Story here.

The ThinManager ROI Calculator can be found here.

Find out more about ESE here.

Where is the Real Return on Thin Client Investment?

Everything you read about thin clients, zero clients, or anything other than a PC will tell you there is a device that is better and saves you more money compared to their competition.  More often than not, these claims are validated by a report paid for by a hardware manufacturer that only talks about their specific client matched up against another client chosen as comparative fodder because they know they can beat it.  These reports are not false, nor are they inaccurate.  They are, however, slanted to omit where the savings really are to paint a far prettier picture.  After all, their first, last, and only reason for commissioning such a report is to sell you their newest hardware release.

As this practice has evolved and become more pervasive over the last decade, it has become nearly impossible to tell what your actual “Return On Investment” (ROI) will be to upgrade hardware when converting to a non-PC system.  History has taught us over time that unmanaged PCs cost more money than managed PCs.  On average, most companies realize a savings between 20% and 30%.  However, even that number depends on what factors and variables are included in a specific ROI equation.  For many hardware manufacturers, those factors only include data relating directly to their client such as power usage and client purchase price.

Here is an example:

An OS security patch is released which requires a client reboot after it is applied.   In a managed system, when and how to apply the patch is determined by productivity, production, work stoppage, and application acceptance.  This will allow the system administrator to find the best time and method to apply the patch with the least possible loss of production.  With an unmanaged system there is no logical methodology applied to the decision of how and when to apply the patch.

How do you calculate ROI?

Now the question becomes “How does a managed system actually save me money?”  Expanding on the example above, the managed system does cost more to operate over time, but prevents more loss than the unmanaged system.  In the unmanaged system, the only variables considered are the individual user, the client, and the OS, which needs to be patched.  Without a system in place, there is no control over system efficiency or implementation of necessary patches and upgrades.  If you have ever attended a meeting, seminar, or webinar and witnessed the presenter’s machine update and reboot while in the middle of their script, then you have an idea of how random an unmanaged client or system truly is.

Now that we have discussed managed versus unmanaged, lets get back to the larger issue of actual ROI when upgrading to a managed system.  Yes, thin clients can save you money based on the comparative hardware cost between them and PCs in many instances, although the price of both continue to drop and are not all that far apart depending on what you are looking to buy.  But the larger point to make here is that when you read a report stating that moving to thin clients will save you 52%, it is assuming that you have travelled back in time ten years when industrial manufacturing still used PCs in an unmanaged system.  Once again, this is a statistic blown out of proportion to encourage you to buy new hardware from the manufacturer that paid a company to create a report stating that moving to thin clients will save you 52%.
The true savings when switching to thin clients is in the management of the system. Most thin client systems have little to no management, and if they do they stop at the client.  With that type of system architecture, they can’t offer advanced features like Load Balancing or application publishing.  They might talk about it, but when push comes to shove, they actually rely on a third party program or domain feature to deliver it to you.ThinManager manages clients AND their connections to servers, creating a well managed environment which creates the most efficient systems possible.  This, in turn, provides a high ROI regardless of the hardware purchased because the best possible Return on Investment comes from reducing downtime, not from purchasing a client that uses a minimal amount of electricity.

While there are many companies touting many reports to flaunt their reported savings, it is imperative to remember that those numbers are based on very specific examples and comparatives.  Management, not hardware, is the key to getting a system in place that will save you money now, and for years to come.

Visit our site at http://www.thinmanager.com/roi/index.php to determine your potential Return on Investment by using a ThinManager ready thin client management system.

Virtualization in an Industrial Environment (Part 1)

This is the first in a three part article focusing on the entire process of Virtualizing in an industrial environment.  While there is a lot of talk about Virtualizing and VDI, we wanted to focus on the viability and deployment of Virtualization in an industrial and manufacturing environment which would speak to the concerns and difficulties specific to this industry.

Part 1: Centralization Before Virtualization


It is everywhere and there is no escaping it.  It is written about, discussed, recommended, and deployed in offices and facilities around the world every day.  It is the iPhone of IT…you might not know why you are buying it, you just know that everyone else is using it so it must be the next great thing.  But as implementation of virtualized environments continues to become the norm rather than the exception, industry publications are reporting that up to 40% of Virtualization deployments are never completed and eventually scrapped.

Why then, is the “greatest thing since sliced bread” still being rolled out everywhere even with such a high rate of abandonment?

Simply put, companies are not asking the right questions before making the decision to go forward with radically changing the way they approach their computing environment.  In an industrial environment, where time literally IS money, there is a completely different question that must be asked and answered before considering virtualization.


Should you Centralize?

Implementation of a centralized system is the first important building block on the road to a Virtualization.  So for those operating industrial environments it is imperative to figure out if you are a good candidate for Centralization.  That determination can be made by reviewing the following criteria:


How much support do your clients require?

Regardless of the number of clients you currently have deployed, this is the single most important factor when determining if you are a good candidate for Centralization.  In a harsh or spread out environment where replacing client hardware is a common occurrence, there is a greater opportunity to realize long term savings by centralizing even when faced with an initial cash layout.  Chances are that if you have not centralized, you are allocating resources to maintain an antiquated or manual system to monitor and maintain your current processes.


Does your facility require an application driven process or a process where an application is being used to monitor your processes?

An industrial process based on application usage would almost always benefit by making the switch to a centralized system.  In a manufacturing environment, having a single end user machine hosting an important process is a recipe for disaster.  When hardware failure occurs, being able to swap out the client and access the application from the server can reduce down time on the floor from hours to minutes.  In addition, linking your clients to a centralized system can greatly reduce the costs associated with client deployment and continuing support.


Do you have a high client count?

If your operation uses a limited number of clients there might not be a realized cost benefit.  While most operations would see increased efficiency by making the change to a centralized system, the implementation could be cost prohibitive based on current hardware or environmental factors.  But the general rule of thumb is that the more clients you have, the more potential there is for savings.

Before you make the decision to Virtualize, take the time to assess if there is a ROI when centralizing.  If your specific needs can be addressed by a move to a centralized system, while reducing your reoccurring costs related to your network and digital infrastructure, then Centralization would be right for you.


Next week we will continue this series by discussing how much Virtualization is right for your company.


*For more information regarding implementation of a centralized system in your industrial facility, contact one of our experts (http://www.thinmanager.com/acp/contactus.php)