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Running Creo Parametric / ProE on a centralized virtual server
2

Running Creo Parametric / ProE on a centralized virtual server

Running Creo Parametric / ProE on a centralized virtual server

(OP)
Our IT dept has had good success migrating resource-intensive applications to virtual servers.

They are proposing to test systems using Microsoft Hyper-V with Remote FX and VMware with Horizon View.

So far we want the Hyper-V system, but it did not work because of the lack of OpenGL support. We are trying VMware next.

Has anyone tried this and have experiences to share, positive or otherwise?

David

RE: Running Creo Parametric / ProE on a centralized virtual server

You want all users to be runing on a central computer with local screen/keyboard/mouse OR each user have a remote computer with local screen/keyboard/mouse?
We use Dell FX1000 and R5000 systems, rack mounted computer in central computer room, local screen/keyboard/mouse.

"Wildfires are dangerous, hard to control, and economically catastrophic."

Ben Loosli

RE: Running Creo Parametric / ProE on a centralized virtual server

(OP)
Multiple users running on one server. A virtual server for IT management purposes.

Users will still have local computers with screen/keyboard/mouse, but the local computers will not need the horsepower locally.

David

RE: Running Creo Parametric / ProE on a centralized virtual server

You might ask over on PTCuser or PTC/Community.

I have seen installations where only one computer hosted the software, rather than installing it everywhere, which was excellent for keeping everyone on the same version, but it's been almost 20 years since I've heard of anyone using a remote, shared computer.

The last time I worked with a system like this it was with X-terminals attached to a workstation. It basically dragged everything to a crawl with 3 users on one machine doing the processing.

RE: Running Creo Parametric / ProE on a centralized virtual server

don't forget the licenses.

RE: Running Creo Parametric / ProE on a centralized virtual server

What do you hope to gain by running a compute intensive application on a virtual server?
IT has been surprised many times by the demands of a CAD application that they don't have when consolidating things like MS Office or even an ERP program.

"Wildfires are dangerous, hard to control, and economically catastrophic."

Ben Loosli

RE: Running Creo Parametric / ProE on a centralized virtual server

(OP)
Potential gains:
1) Management stability and portability.
2) Data/network security when the user is not inside the building. Outbound data is the image of your screen, incoming data is keystrokes and mouse inputs.
3) Shared hardware. They are testing multi-core NVidia GPU's that would be configured so that each user has at least one GPU dedicated to their usage. We can use more than our individual allocations for RAM, when the collective RAM usage is less than the maximum.
4) "Network" drives are as fast as "Local" drives. Because in fact, everything would be stored on the same storage backplane and no application data would need to be retrieved over the lines to the user. (As you know, Pro/E is dog-tastically slow when the disk access is not fast)
5) We're due for new workstations, and we can get more hardware in the server for the $$ than if we bought all new workstations. And our budget for workstations has historically been quite modest at $2k/box.
6) Engineers can work from home productively if they have any computer and a reasonably fast internet connection.

If you're used to other virtual servers such as remote desktop, you've used one of the slowest and most inefficient setups around. VMware uses it's own IP network protocol that is optimized for this exact service. So you can get much better experience compared to other products.

Apparently our testing has proven that MS product does not support OpenGL, and VMware does. So we're now fully focused on VMware and so my original post question is moot.

If it works, great. If it doesn't work, we'll do workstations again.

David

RE: Running Creo Parametric / ProE on a centralized virtual server

What level of OpenGl does VMware support? Creo3 requires a higher level OpenGL than Creo2 which requires a higher level than WildFire.

I highly doubt that VMware will fall under a PTC certified system, if you run into problems you will probably be on your own.

The cost/speed benefit swings back and forth every few years between central processing / light clients and local processing. You can actually buy a lot of workstation today for $2k, particularly if you don't need new monitors. I can't see VMware if you are still putting a PC on every desk, to make it cost effective I think you need to put all your office productivity on the server and just have dumb terminals.

----------------------------------------

The Help for this program was created in Windows Help format, which depends on a feature that isn't included in this version of Windows.

RE: Running Creo Parametric / ProE on a centralized virtual server

(OP)
In the last 10 years I cannot recall working with a hardware-level bug. Not saying they don't exist, but I believe that working with supported graphics cards and CPU's on supported OS mean more than the whole workstation. I'm not sure if our workstations are even on the list, TBH. I think they were but only for about one year.

Our existing computers are going to continue to run and serve as dumb terminals. The hope is to migrate non-CAD users to dumb terminals and CAD users something a bit more substantial. All applications will be served through the virtual environment.

I will advise to check with Creo 3 for OpenGL support. We're on Creo 2 now but updating soon.

David

RE: Running Creo Parametric / ProE on a centralized virtual server

there are actually a lot of them, in all versions of CPU, graphics cards..., but are mostly disposed of via software bios updates.
well, mostly: http://www.anandtech.com/show/8376/intel-disables-...

there have also been several notable bugs in motherboard chipsets in the last couple of years.

also, CAD systems are not cpu intensive. there are bursts (rebuilds), but the bulk of time the program is waiting for an input (or panning, zooming). nothing exceptional for today.
another benefit is also data security, as an engineer can't make backups at an offsite location (and i'm sure that we all have bigsmile ).
virtualization is the way of the future anyway. just look at the server market in 2004 and today.
DS is already planning to make catia (and solidworks mechanical conceptual) as a cloud app (it also can be a local cloud).

RE: Running Creo Parametric / ProE on a centralized virtual server

We're currently evaluating the centralized server approach. We're about to migrate to CREO 2.0 and likely move to the "cloud" approach at the same time. The key benefit for us is we have multiple locations across the country and sending files back and forth to the Windchill server is a perpetual problem. Our server was in NY making us TX folks suffer. We moved it to TX due to more users working here (along with the support staff) and now the other folks are suffering. If we just send the key clicks and graphics, it should go much quicker and the files can stay at a central location. At least that's the plan.

I'm not on the admin side so I don't know much more than that, but I can let you know how it goes once we get up and running (targeting end of year).

-tg

http://xternal.me

RE: Running Creo Parametric / ProE on a centralized virtual server

telecomguy,

One of the things that seems to make Windchill slow is they continue to use Pull for information rather than Push. This means that only when the Workspace is modified or refreshed are the entries in it checked for current status against Commonspace. Which means if there are 50,000 items in a Workspace, each and every one will get a request, and probably a chain of requests for related information, to find the one or two items that have changed. So information flow is X-times the actual need, and it's not encapsulated, so it's a lot of little requests, each with its own request padding.

Pull systems are fine on a pure consumer side. They only need to know what things look like -now- and can afford to delete the Workspace when they've seen what they need to. In development, Pull systems stink.

I hope the virtual system works out.

RE: Running Creo Parametric / ProE on a centralized virtual server

Creo 2.0 M060 was *certified* with a technology stack consisting of nVidia K2 graphics board, Citrix XenDesktop and an IBM IBM dx360 M4 server. In this case the nVidia graphics has to run in PassThru mode (one GPU per user). In subsequent newer releases (current is Creo 3.0 M010) the certification has expanded to include vGPU (virtual GPU) operation, as well as with other servers like HP DL380z. Actually the HP and other server certifications were added in maintenance builds after M060 - the HP certification was in M110 if I recall correctly. Dell servers like PowerEdge R720 and Precision R7610 are "supported" as of Creo 3.0 F000...

I've heard of other virtualization environments working (other than Citrix/nVidia) but they are not certified/supported yet so be aware...

Anyway, the platform support is all documented online - too many combos to list here :)

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