Several workplaces creation using а single system unit

The article is written on the bases of Aster integration experience at the «82 Ship Repair Plant» joint stock company. There were involved IT department workers, the head of IT department Kosterina Svetlana Alekseenva and the system admin Belanov Evgeny Nicolaevich all through the project.

At first let me say some words about the prehistory of this work.

Directions of IT development in the enterprisePrimary lines of our company information technologies development are:

  • creation of new high-performance workstations for company workers;
  • integration of new equipment and software for performance improving;
  • transition to electronic document managing;
  • and finally, creation the ERP system, which will cover all the company activities.

But IT department ran into some problems during implementation of these objectives:

Problems

Major difficulty is a budget shortfall. Allocated financial support doesn’t allow to provide every company worker software, new high-performance and sturdy equipment to modify existing workstations.


The deadlines. Oftentimes is necessary to organize new workplaces for workers, but it is impossible in lack of spare equipment.

Moral and physical depreciation. The equipment, which was bought 2-3 years ago, and computers which worked for 10 years at the company, are unable to maintain the level of performance to solve daily problems. Such equipment must be upgraded or replaced with modern hardware.
Unused equipment. Without workers being on there places, the equipment is staying without using. It’s happening almost a fifth of the year and cases indirect financial damages.

To fix these problems IT department is looking for different solutions:

Options for resolving problems

Using a terminal server can save on the purchasing of the equipment for users but such way requires a significant investment and purchasing licenses.

We can save on buying hardware if we will use inexpensive and slow computers but this will result in poor performance and unstable work of operation system and software. Also such economy will be insignificant because of need to purchase software products licenses for every workplace.

Other solutions also didn’t suit us because of different reasons. So we had to find the optimal solution for this problem.

Possible Solution

The reason why we made this choice was a necessity to organize 6 workplaces for field auditor check in a short time. We had 3 new system units with displays and required software. Also there were 3 extra displays.

We were unable to purchase the deficient equipment and software in time.

A new way to organize workplaces

Using specialized program product for organizing several workplaces with the one system unit was the only way out of this situation. So we could make 6 workplaces in time with the help of only 3 system units. This experiment was successful so were decided to learn more about this type of workplaces organization and started a pilot project. Programs to solve the task

After the market studying it turned out there are several program products which can realize necessary for us functions: Windows Multipoint, Softxpand, ASTER, Betwin, Userful, etc. We refused to use virtual machines because of necessity to devote resources for hypervisor and two operation systems supporting, and buying software licenses for every single workplace.

What is ASTER

The specialized software product Aster was chosen. Aster is a Russian software product made by LLC “IBIK” which can create up to 12 workplaces using only one system unit.

Aster has simple and clear interface, a month trial period for product testing, low license cost and functionality to perform expected tasks. Also, it was listed in Russian national registry of software products.

Acquired experience proved us that such workplaces organization makes a significant budget saving and other advantages.

So we decided to purchase the equipment and started a workplace organization pilot project using Aster.

PurchaseWe purchased personal computers with standard configuration:

  • CPU: Intel Core i3 4th generation;
  • RAM: 8 Gb;
  • Processor graphics with HDMI, DVI, VGA interfaces;
  • SSD: 120 Gb;
  • Power supply unit: 450W;
  • 21,5’ FullHD graphic display;
  • Keyboard;
  • Mouse.

The necessary software:

  • OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional;
  • Microsoft Office 2016 Standard Edition;
  • Antivirus.

10 kits cost 596100 rubles

For the project realization also were purchased 10 kits including:

  • 21,5’ FullHD graphic display;
  • Keyboard;
  • Mouse;
  • Aster software.

The price of additional kits is 105000 rubles.

So, we spent 105000 rubles we could organize 2 times more workplaces with finally price 701100 rubles.

Let us see more:

Cost comparison with and without ASTER

There is the comparison of 2 workplaces organization prices with the help of Aster software and without it.

As we can see at the diagram the usage of Aster software gives us 40% savings of hardware cost and 45% savings of software cost.

Also, we can include yearly license updating costs, electric power costs and other expenses in our savings.

As Aster software is able to organize up to 12 workstations, we tried to calculate the cost of 1 workplace’s different variants of organization.

The schedule of costs for the organization of workplaces

There is necessary more powerful system unit for more workstations, so in its price were included additional costs of upgrades and equipment, which can make the all workstations operation optimal and stable.

The price of 12 workplaces kit is 220000 rubles.

Based on that, the diagram shows more savings when we use more workplaces. The price of one workplace in 12 workplaces organization is about a third what it would cost in standard organization.

Organization of 12 workplaces

But, the usage of 12 workplaces have limiting, because the peripheral must be connected to the system unit. Such workplace organization is most effective for education classes, internet café, offices equipment (places with close location of users).

In this case using of wireless peripheral equipment will be most efficiently.

The next graph is clearly demonstrating the amount of savings with the use of large number of workplaces organization.
Cost savings

There are three lines of the graph that show workplaces organization costs: the standard variant, with Aster for 2 workplaces and with Aster for 12 workplaces.

As we can see, the savings from using Aster for 2 workplaces for 48 workplaces organization is 1200000 rubles. And the savings from using Aster for 12 workplaces for 48 workplaces organization is almost 2 million rubles!

In our calculations we were counting the price of PC’s, which our company have bought. These workstations have configuration for normal operation of any software for years. Also, we are talking about only basic office programs purchasing. In case of using more expensive software (such as AutoCAD, 3DSMAX) the savings increase in times. According to our calculations, the savings are up to 90%.

Purchasing cheaper and less powerful PC’s for organization of 1 workplace is possible, but in our opinion such configuration is most optimal in terms of reliability, performance and quality because of transition to electronic document managing, creation the ERP system and growing number of tasks to complete.

Pros of using ASTER

The main advantage of Aster is saving on hardware and software licenses, which are purchased for workstation not for every user. It can solve the limited budget problem.

Also, Aster solves the problem of unused equipment. Several employers are using one workstation and it continues to work even without one of them.

The moral and physical depreciation are inevitable, but with Aster we need to modify and upgrade a smaller number of workstations.

If necessary, we can quickly organize several workplaces without needing to customize new computer units.

While our pilot project development we found out some other important advantages:

1. We can purchase only one program product license and use it at several workplaces.
2. It is possible to perform periodic preventive maintenance of several workplaces in the same time so it makes it faster.
3. The ability to increase the number of workplaces up to 12 using one workstation after modifying it.
4. The efficient allocation of resources (every employer can use up to 100% of PC resources).
5. Less background noise, environmental friendliness and energy efficiency.
​​​​​​​

Disadvantages of the ASTER program

But there are also some disadvantages:​​​​​​​

  • Impossibility of more than one user authorization in the workplace.
  • Most part of remote administration tools can connect to only one workplace.
  • A malfunctioning computer and absence of spare PC make employees lose their workplaces. However, saving money makes possible to store some spare workstations and creates a power reserve.
  • Also, the main disadvantage is a low flexibility in workplaces placement issue, because all workplaces are connected to the single system unit. This problem partially can be fixed by using specialized hardware.

To sum up the pilot project, after analyzing all Aster software pro and cons and gaining experience from industrial operations we decided that it is expedient to use it in our company for new workplaces organization.​​​​​​​

Presentation on this topic​​​​​​​:presentation_82srz. pptx