What about Thin Clients as terminals for CFD?
We intend to install a new CFD lab for didactic purposes. We think that a server(s)/(30)clients configuration may be a better solution (maintenance in mind).
The clients will be minimal terminals with some graphical capabilities while the server take the hard processing work (as server/client should be).
The question: THIN CLIENTS could be used as client terminals in this case (numerical simulation, visualization)?
Any suggestion will be appreciated.
It's theoretically possible, but:
Of course that if you're trying to save some cash with this set-up, than the server should use a free Linux distribution ;)
Another thing you should take into account is what type of thin-client you are planning to use, or more importantly, if you're going to use Atom based clients or ARM based clients (I'm talking about their CPU ;)). ARM based clients in CFD is something I'm not familiar with, but at least ParaView should work well with them, which is something I think can't be said for commercial CFD applications...
Thank you Bruno, for your answer.
I think we chose a good video card for the server (nVidia QUADRO FX4800). But, an ordinary video card (even on-board) installed in each terminal couldn't make this work? (cfd post-processing in college course level)
I mean, couldn't the graphical acceleration be processed in the client terminal?
The system we have in mind is:
- Software (open source) -
OS: Ubuntu GNU/Linux or another convenient linux distribution
CFD package: OpenFOAM (1st option)
- Hardware (server) -
CPU: 2 Processors Intel Xeon X5690 HT - 6x 3.46GHz, TDP 130w, Cache 12MB
Mobo: Intel Workstation Board Dual Xeon, Modelo S5520SC
Chipset: Intel S5520 (Tylersburg)
RAM: 48 GB
SSD: 120 GB X25-M Intel SSDSA2MH120G2K5
Hard Disk: 2 TB SATA3Gb/s, Seagate Barracuda LP, Cache 32MB
Video: PNY nVidia QUADRO FX4800, 1.5 GB
Hi Romulo, I've been teaching CFD and stress analyses for several years in an undergraduate course of around 45 students. Our system is:
Celeron 2.8 GHz (cutdown version of Pentium4), 1GB RAM, integrated Intel graphics
Windows XP Professional
OpenFOAM 1.4 for Cygwin, Gmsh 2.0.8, ParaView 3.4 (the software are more or less customized to suit the system and to meet our specific needs)
Hardware unknown, houses boot image of the thin clients, provides disk space of 120 MBytes(!) per student
The hardware are becoming outdated (> 5 years old) but even with the system we are barely able to run cases of around OpenFOAM tutorial sizes (~30 000 cells) and pre/post-processings on the thin clients.
The optimal hardware/software configuration quite depends on what you plan to do, but in any case, I would say that what really count are good teaching assistants...!
Thank you for sharing your experience with us.
The system we are looking for seems quite similar to your lab (hardware/software).
It's useful to known this config work well somewhere.
Maybe the real challenge will be take all the software working fine on the server/terminals, instead the particular hardware used...
Do you think some linux distribution could be easily used in your case, instead Windows XP with Cygwin?
Good tip. I'll take this into account.
Unfortunately we could not make conclusive tests with thin client / server (as proposed by Bruno). Thus, we chose a solution similar to that of Takuya (above).
However, if anyone knows a successful solution using (real) thin clients, please let us know.
Thank you both.
I haven't gotten my hands on a little thin client yet, but I did test yesterday a very sweet innate ability that ParaView has: I used a ParaView 3.8.0 32bit on Windows to connect to a 64 bit 3.8.0 ParaView server (pvserver) running on Linux!
Unfortunately, I didn't have time to do some serious testing, but at least it connected very well and I could even browse the remote folders from within my local ParaView!
If I get another chance to do some tests, I'll write about it here :)
By the way, if this works well, it's not very difficult to imagine users using terminal windows to access remotely their areas in the server to edit their OpenFOAM cases, running them and then plugging into their own session of pvserver from their ParaView client!
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