Iconics over Thin Client


Thread Starter


Background: Currently we have seven touch screens per site (50 + sites) that we maintain (there is no interoperability between sites, they are all seperate entities). Each touch screen is a touch screen pc that runs Iconics Graphworx32 HMI and OFS (OPC server). The touch screens allow the employees to view what is going on with the system and a few allow for controlling parts of the system.

I am thinking about setting up a system with some sort of thin client (Wyse or comparable) running XPe, touch screens and a Windows Terminal server. The terminal server will serve the Iconics program and the OPC server (OFS) over a 10/100 ethernet network, to replace the touch screen personal computers.

Does anyone have any experience doing this? What sort of thin clients did you use and what were the thin clients specs? I am worried about having a beefy enough thin client, but would like to keep the costs down, also worried about a single point of failure with the terminal server, but I could always cluster some servers together.

Thanks for any input that you might have.

Raymond van der Tas

Just sharing some thoughts:
Since the thin client is expected to run XP you may eliminate the terminal server and use an ICONICS WebHMI Server in stead which make the displays available to IE Browsers. To avoid single point of failure, the WEBHMI Server can be duplicated, trippled, etc. Your GraphWorX32 OPC Displays (of the 50 sites) can be copied to the web server. To get an indication of the footprint of WEBHMI on your thin client you can point the thin client to www.webhmi.com which is a live project with a set of example displays. Simply select "V8" go for "default samples" and click on "GraphWorX32" in order to only get the minimum required components: OPC Framework, security, OPC over XML communications and GraphWorX32. Selecting TrendWorX would add OPC HDA standards to the client and AlarmWorX would add OPC A&E connectivity to the client.
The WEBHMI Server does not have to be a powerful machine (compared to a terminal server which would run multiple instances of the GraphWorX application). Running terminal server would only be required if your thin client runs DOS, Linux, WinCE.

Raymond van der Tas
Unless you have programs other GraphWorX you need to access via terminal services, I would recommend ditching the Windows Terminal server and instead use ICONICS WebHMI (since you already using GraphWorX). We have found the performance MUCH MUCH better than TS and it would enable you to purchase "inexpensive" thin clients. These clients would only need Internet Explorer installed.

You also would save $$$ on the Server PC since a "average" PC could probably be used. The Server would need Windows XP-Pro or Windows 2000 (or Server 2003, but that may be overkill for your app) with Microsoft IIS or Apache Web Server (both free as I recall). I would recommned 512-1024M RAM depending on the number of concurrent clients you want to connect.

I would also recommend talking this over with your local ICONICS person, they should be able to point you in the right direction.


Michael Griffin

I believe the version of IIS which comes with Windows XP Pro is limited to 10 connections and one web site (I don't recall what other restrictions apply as well). It is just a "toy" version which replaced PWS (Personal Web Server). You need to buy Windows 2003 server for the full version (Windows server 2000 is obsolete).

Apache *is* however completely free and has no restrictions and will run on any PC. It is the standard web server used in most applications these days.

I currently running a similar system architecture as the one you have described using wonderware's "Intouch Terminal Services" and their "Industrial SQL server" program.

Background: My Intouch terminal server runs all my thin client applications down on the plant floor. Each application is run in a seperate session on the terminal server. I'm currently running 6 differnent "Neoware" thin client applications over ethernet(10/100) network for my operator Touch screen HMIs.

I purchased a dell server with a RAID 5 hard drive and backup redundent power supply. This way hard drives and power supplies have backups.. And, I don't have to worry about multiple pc's on the plant floor. They just don't live that long down in that environment.

Each application runs inside a seperate session but I can pass data between sessions. Our applications are used for Data acq., control of sub. systems, recipe setup, etc...

All historical logging is passed and stored into the "Wonderware industrial SQL server". This way I can look up any information on any data that I'm currently logging using my interface or wonderwares.

I can't say that this would be more or less expensive that what you have planned. Tag counts and other factors apply... But, it is an option available to you. You can look up this possibilty on their web site...


If you do want to consider this option: I recommend that whoever makes the decision takes their Advanced InTouch Training course. As in every system architecture, their are pro's and con's. Their basic Intouch course will not sufficiently prepare you as to what the system can and can not do..

Good luck...