View Full Version : Office Station for PC sharing

24-11-2006, 03:51 PM
Hi..Just want to check with those USJ Forum IT experts here about a product called Office Station. Anyone heard of it before? It is actually a box thing allowing PC sharing of up to 10 units without CPU.

In another word, the host (with CPU) can share up to 10 units (without CPU) depending on the hosting PC's processor speed and memory. There will be major cost saving if using this as a new unit of PC would easily cost u RM2.5K but using this unit will incur u around RM1K only.

My question is does anyone actually use before ... anyone has anything to share here.. So far, I only seen the demo ... still yet to discover the actual performance of the units in term of durability, legality, etc..etc..

Please share with me if u know anything about this thingy.

28-11-2006, 06:23 AM
I just wonder .... really nobody has ever tried this stuff before? Please share your experience with me if you came across this gadget before.... :rolleyes:

28-11-2006, 09:26 AM
It's called thin-client. Had a project using the same tech 8 yrs ago. It was the in-thing back then. The client has no OS and software on it's machine. The software and OS runs on the Host. So u gonna need a very powerful high-end host server to serve 10 thin clients.

Of course, compared to normal setup, there's gonna be some performance degradation. The stress will be on the server and the network. But not sure about the legality of the software licensing.

29-11-2006, 07:00 AM
Thanks HTH, the concern part was the software sharing legality. The seller is telling us that 'not a problem, Microsoft did not mention this sharing as priracy' I just wonder if this is true... if it is...then Bill Gates will loose out lots of revenue.

On the other hand, I reckoned the need of speed and powerful machine as the host, depending on what software you are running in the sharing network. A P4 with 1Gb RAM can be shared to 3 users if running office applications only. I personally tested the sharing performance, running SQL based accounting software... the speed and accessibility are still there.

I am more concern about the durability of that black box thing and of course the licensing part especially now BSA is on action. :D

29-11-2006, 12:10 PM
It would be illegal on the software front if you only have a single user license, e.g. MS Office or even MS Windows, if that's what you are using. You should be able to use Linux/OOo if you like. Read through the GPL for T&C on usage in such an environment.

Anyway, if you want to save money, just buy one PC and make your staff share.

Just went through the site briefly, it appears that it is something like an extender, allowing you to have a display, keyboard and mouse at a remote location.

Looking at the brochure (2nd page, under the sub-heading Simultaneous Windows operation), they did mention the caveat that 'additional software licenses required', so, that means that technically you 'can' have multiple users accessing the software concurrently, but it would be in violation of the EULA. Ah, assuming you are using Windows/Office of course.

29-11-2006, 10:57 PM
Thanks for your initiative to go thro' their brochure at the website.... but even we were to 'illegally' use the single license operating system, the unit can be turn off instantly just like any electrical appliances without crashing the system... So, can the BSA fine us for using the software without license? :rolleyes: We can always claim that only one PC is using the software at anytime being the host or the client.

30-11-2006, 02:55 PM
But birdy, from what I understand from the brochure, the system allows you to have multiple concurrent users using a single license app, so that would be effectively violating your EULA if you only have a license for a single user rather than a site license.

Mind you, we are not talking about just the OS, but rather the office apps such as MS Office.

30-11-2006, 05:31 PM
Thanks for the clarification...I was looking thro the printed brochure the sales consultant gave me, but cannot find that clause...

Wonder where did u read this...maybe can u enlighten me on this..thanks.

But is there multiple user license OS for 1 PC?

30-11-2006, 05:43 PM

2nd page, first half, under "Benefits of the OfficeStation".

For MS licensing issues, go to:


30-11-2006, 08:25 PM
Thanks for the the link provide... I saw the phrase "Additional software license may be required"

Hmmm... then the salesman is not honest enough... he told us the licensing issue is in grey area.. Microsoft did not mention about this sharing....

But .. was wondering... since this product is widely in the market... why Microsoft did not tackle this problem knowning very well that even a single license os can be shared to few clients. :confused:

30-11-2006, 09:12 PM
It isn't a grey area. Most people just don't bother finding out.

Anyway, who told you that this product is widely adopted? The salesman? Kan you just said that he was dishonest with you, still want to believe the rest of his pitch?

30-11-2006, 09:26 PM
Well.... I am not very sure he is dishonest before your clarifications..... though I was very doubtful when he told me that no licensing issue. I was thinking if this is the loop holes, then every body would do this and Bill Gates would not be the richest man in this world :D

30-11-2006, 10:44 PM
Ask him if he will warrant that you will not face licensing issues then go for it if he doesn't balk at your request.

Trust me, salesmen will sell you everything. I know. Perhaps dishonest is too strong a word. Maybe he was just misguided or lack training and awareness.


Sometimes, things that are too good to be true, normally aren't.

01-12-2006, 06:31 AM
Thanks Mediumsliced....besides software licensing issues... wonder if u hv any idea how stability this box is... I was looking at if it is really stable, it would bring cost saving to a organization... since instead of having to invest in a new PC for each new staff recruited (costing about RM2500)... This office sharing box will cost u about (RM1000 plus OS of RM400)..There is a saving of about RM1000.. My concern will be the stability...

I have asked for a live demo the other day and noticed one thing... McAfee firewall will prevent the sharing of the software (ie. Supposing the host is browsing the internet using IE, then the client cannot do so). They hv to made changes to the script in McAfee before this sharing can be turn on.

01-12-2006, 10:05 AM
I can't advise on the OfficeStation, as I haven't used it before.

Does the box come with a display and input devices? Also, bear in mind that you'll need a multi-user license for MS Office as well, so you'll have to factor that in.

Overall, if it were my company, I'd get my employees PCs, as they won't hit your bottom line too much. How many boxes are we talking about here? PCs have an useful life of about 3 years (or so the hardware guys would like you to believe) before being outdated, so, even if we depreciate the hardware costs to zero over a span of 3 years, RM2.5k isn't all that bad.

01-12-2006, 03:07 PM
The only thing that you need to connect to the black box is a monitor and input devices (ie. ps2 mouse and ps2 keyboard).

Their preposition is if there need a hardware upgrade every three years... you only need to upgrade 1 unit (ie. the host pc) and the rest of the clients will enjoy the same upgrade.

Assuming an organization needs 3 new PCs... it would cost them RM2,500 (inclusive of OS license) x 3 = RM7,500.

In contrast, installing this black box will be (RM2,500 x 1)+(RM1,000 x 2) +(RM400 x 2-for the 2 OS licenses) = RM5,300. There is a saving of RM2,200.

Assuming you hv to change all 3 units in 3 years down the road. All you need to incur will be only RM2,500 (for the host PC).

Well... I would say it is a saving if the black box can last long enough. My concern is whether this box can last long enough... I worried it will kaput within a year or two, then it will not give any saving. :D

01-12-2006, 03:36 PM
Good point there too about the box dying.

Try to arrange a demo. Get them to show you a live run of the box in action. Try to think of as many real-world scenarios as you can and ask them to show you. Better to notify them beforehand so that they can prepare the demo.

What's the warranty like on the boxes?

01-12-2006, 10:31 PM
Have seen the demo... was actually surprised wif the performance (the sharing performance did not deteriorate). My concern is the durability of the unit. If it can really last for long ... then I think it is a good alternate investment, what more it will prevent people from copy out any confidential information as it does not has any drives or usb port.

08-12-2006, 02:20 PM
It's been a week, so, have you decided?

08-12-2006, 05:50 PM
Yes.. we tried two units (shhh... without acquiring additional licenses). So far, performance wise so far looks good.

08-12-2006, 09:33 PM
You must be relieved then. All the best.


18-12-2006, 01:09 AM
hi birdy,

by looking at your calculation RM1000 + RM400 (OS) =RM1400 , questions, does this RM1000 inclusive of the monitor, kb, etc?

the PCs are already very cheap less than RM2000 including OS...if u getting a clone, it will be much cheaper, so you don't save much.

oh by the way, by sharing the main PC, if the main PC is hang or corrupted, u must also be aware that the rest of the people can't do their work. imagine the whole company cannot use the PC just because of one main PC is down.

the difference is not much...

18-12-2006, 07:09 AM

Thank you for the enlightment. Well... of course we are not sharing from 1 main PC. Normally it will very much depend on the programmes running. Normal office use - 1 main PC can be shared to 4 or 5 PC (of course u need at least 1Gb RAM). However, if u are running software like photoshops, autocad.. then probably it can share to 1 or 2 only.

Yes.. the RM1K budgeted includes keyboard and monitors. OS is optional (still unsure... right now we are on trial so did not buy additional OS).

You may be right to assume that currently the PC is cheap but imagine the REPLACEMENT COST. Assuming your organization practicing periodical replacement of PC or upgrading of PC..... For my above case (which 1 main PC shared with another 2 units), I need only replace / upgrade 1 unit only - which will cost me RM2,500. In contrast to if 3 units which will cost me RM7,500. You see the different now?

Of course, nothing is perfect in this world.... the disadvantage side yet to discover... will enlighted all forumers if discover one. So far, I see that u need to change the script in the McAfee in order to share otherwise, it doesn't allow the sharing. :)

18-12-2006, 09:36 AM
hi birdy,

no matter u share with 2 or 3 person, if the main PC hang, the rest of the 3-4 person's work is in risk. and the down time also invloved 3-4 person, not just one PC.

anyway if u company is in tight budget...sharing is the only way...

18-12-2006, 10:09 AM
hi birdy,

no matter u share with 2 or 3 person, if the main PC hang, the rest of the 3-4 person's work is in risk. and the down time also invloved 3-4 person, not just one PC.

anyway if u company is in tight budget...sharing is the only way...

blurrman has a good point. Only countermeasure I can think of is to not allow anybody to use the primary machine and keep it like a application server. Then again, with a few users, the probability of crashing the primary machine is always there.