Aqua Connect helps MediaSpan’s clients consolidate and share their processing resources on a multi-user hardware platform

MediaSpan provides content management and productivity software to publishers. They have products that run on both Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X platforms. At their larger sites (with 200+ workstations), and increasingly more frequently at their mid-size sites, they have had an ongoing need for allowing users to share processing resources on a multi-user hardware platform. A customer’s desire for reduced administration and a reduced hardware footprint typically drive this need. For Windows users, their solution has been to use either a Citrix configuration or a Microsoft Terminal Services approach. However, for customers who strongly desire the Mac OS X experience, there had not been an equivalent solution available to them- prior to Aqua Connect Remote Desktop Services.

At one of their customer sites that implemented Aqua Connect Remote Desktop Services, they are running three Aqua Connect servers. Two of them are used in publishing the newspaper each night and the third server is for testing purposes only. The customer is using MediaSpan’s Jazbox for Mac OS X product, which is a publishing application suite that also includes Adobe’s InDesign and InCopy, all running simultaneously with ACRDS. JazBox users log in to their ACRDS sessions from either a LAN or WAN connection, since some users are located in nearby cities. Users are typically load-leveled between the two ACRDS servers.

They installed Aqua Connect on two 2.66 GHz Quad-Core Intel Nehalem Xserves with 24 GB of memory. In addition to ACRDS, they are also using MediaSpan’s Jazbox for Mac OS X product (which integrates with Adobe’s products). Client computers are all Apple workstations, running 10.4, 10.5 or 10.6.

The chief value in ACRDS for them is the ability for a MediaSpan customer to purchase and administer a smaller quantity of hardware and software while supporting a larger number of individual human users. This reduces the number of machines that need regular attention from the IT staff and provides some capability to expand or reduce the number of users with minimal IT time and without the management of additional hardware. As a strong bonus, MediaSpan’s testing of the same applications running under ACRDS and running under Citrix on a blade server have shown that ACRDS supports more users per server than Citrix. Their Citrix customers can typically support 10-15 users per server, whereas with ACRDS, they have observed 20-25 users per server without per-user performance being impacted. Since MediaSpan performs extensive testing of their products prior to making them available to their customers, having ACRDS available allows them to stage a sizable test without dedicating multiple Mac OS X workstations to it.

“Aqua Connect fills a market void by providing a Macintosh-centric ‘thin client’ solution that is compelling in terms of cost per user, performance, IT maintenance and operator satisfaction. ACRDS supports almost twice as many users as the equivalent Citrix platform, while simultaneously providing the Apple user experience that many users demand.”