NEC prides themselves as a 'total solutions' company by being one of the few technology companies that can provide every aspect of an enterprise solution, from software to hardware, down to networking and even semiconductor manufacturing.
The new NEC Virtual PC Center (VPCC) leverages on this very ability to offer a full solution. The VPCC infrastructure is made up of a series of NEC Express5800 servers, running on Intel Xeon (Woodcrest) processors. One (scalable to nth) server is designated as the Virtual PC Server, and is responsible for environment virtualization, processing and data storage for the thin clients. Each Virtual PC Server is powered by VMware and is configured to handle up to 20 Windows XP Virtual PC environments. An additional Express5800 server is used as a Management Server, running on Windows Server 2003 and Sigma System Center technology. This server handles VPCC management, scheduling, updating and security.
Why Windows XP exclusively? Mr. Kobayashi explains: "The Vista program itself needs a 2GB memory size to operate, while Windows XP only takes about 500MB to run. This is four times the resource required for the same performance, a very expensive upgrade as well as a power consumption drag. Our Virtual PC Server today is configured with 10GB of memory. 10GB divided by 20 is 500MB, which is perfect base for Windows XP virtualization. If we run Vista with the same setup, each Virtual PC Server would only be able to run five copies of Vista."
"In the business environment, Vista only has an appearance (GUI) that is fantastic, but that doesn't equate to efficiency or productivity. Vista is still lacking in capabilities and compatibility compared to XP. Many applications and some Japanese language applications (!!) have problems still with Vista, so our marketing team gave the hold order. We might see a migration towards Vista next year, but on the business side, we value economics and productivity. Vista's eye candy is not required."
Mr. Kobayashi is very optimistic about the the new VPCC with a worldwide projected sales of $1.25 billion in the next three years and these figures do not include India, a country where NEC sees the highest growth rate for PC infrastructure adoption and use.
"Today's businesses are changing to the thin client solution, that is our hope", says Mr. Kobayashi. "Security and TCO is very important to any company. There is a need for more secure environments, economical usage models and lower power consumption. If a green Eco PC platform comes along without degrading productivity of their operations, there is no reason to maintain the current PC infrastructure with its high power consumption and costs. Why not switch over to thin clients?"
"The only restrictions we see is within scientific or professional sectors where high computer performance or high GPU performance is mandatory for individual PCs. Otherwise, we estimate a big jump to thin clients regardless of industry, public sector, government sector, call centers...everywhere!"
To realize the ideal environment for their VPCC solution, the entire system is designed around a full IP based network (riding on NEC's Next Generation Network infrastructure), which includes both data and voice. An additional SIP server (NEC UNIVERGE SV7000) is introduced into the ecosystem as a VoIP BPX and call control for NEC's VoIP Soft Phone application.
From what we've learned, NEC's ultimate aim for what they term as their Next Generation Network or NGN for short, is a high-speed, all fiber, full IP network infrastructure that covers everything from home, enterprise to telecommunication services (fixed, mobile and broadcast networks), fully replacing traditional data and voice lines. Japan is one of the few countries that actually have the network infrastructure and bandwidth in place to support NEC's NGN vision and Japan's Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Co.(NTT) has begun field trials using NEC NGN products and technologies since December 2006. Other major global telecoms companies such as BT (British Telecom) have also expressed interest in NEC's NGN technologies.