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Virtual PC Internet Caf

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PostNet Northgate is enjoying improved infrastructure manageability, system security, usability and reliability since upgrading its Internet Café IT environment to NC Solutions' NComputing X300 virtualised terminal solution and TrueCafe billing system.

Based in the Northgate shopping centre in North Riding, Johannesburg, Postnet Northgate's previous infrastructure had been experiencing age-related issues and security problems which rendered each PC vulnerable to numerous virus onslaughts which in turn made it increasingly difficult to manage.
In addition, as Internet Café environments have multiple points of entry it added to the system's vulnerability.
"Due to these challenges I decided to partner with NCSolutions as they provided me with a solution that will allow me to run one central system with six terminals, which meant I had only one PC to worry about," says Alex Hughes, owner of Postnet Northgate. "In addition to this it was important to have a robust and easy to use billing system and that is where TrueCafe shone out amongst the other billing systems.
"It just made a lot of sense; the chances of users installing malicious software is virtually zero, plus running only one copy of software again improves manageability and mitigates system vulnerability," he adds.
NC Solutions X300 terminal solution is optimised for clustered applications such as Internet Cafes; expanding one PC by adding a PCI card and connecting up to seven multi-user terminal boxes. It essentially redistributes excess computing power to each PC terminal.
Explains Sean Owen-Jones, MD of NC Solutions:  "What many businesses don't realise is that up to 90% of a PCs processing power is unused. In addition, hard drives with large capacities are now standard, making the solution ideal as the hard drive capacity is shared among the terminals."
Connected users, therefore, enjoy the same speed and performance as the host PC while still working independently and securely from each other.
"The X300 solution has allowed me to cut down on the number of PCs, network points, power points and cabling which all translates into cost savings. The system is now simple and easy to use, the environment is more streamlined and aesthetically pleasing, my service delivery has improved," adds Hughes.
The X300 took less than a day to install which meant the loss of revenue to Postnet was minimal.  Adds Owen-Jones, "The X300 is really easy to install and in the case of Postnet we were up and running in no time. We are very happy with the outcome of the project and believe Postnet Northgate is a true indication of Internet Café environments from virtualised terminal solutions."
In addition to the hardware, NC Solutions also provided  Postnet with TrueCafe's billing system which allows for complete flexibility in billing customisation to meet Postnet's requirements. TrueCafe software is designed to work in "virtualised" enviorments hence the good marriage with NComputing's X300 which shares one IP address for up to seven users per PC.
With NC Solutions' NComputing X300 virtualised environment Postnet Northgate now benefits from the following:
* Ease-of-management;
* Energy Savings (1 Watt per terminal);
* Space savings, less heat and noise;
* User-friendly environment;
* Improved security;
* Streamlined and flexible environment;
* Improved service-delivery; and
* Customer loyalty.
Hughes adds: "I believe other Internet Cafes can take a snapshot of my environment and implement it.  The system copes with the high-usage and heavy-traffic requirements associated with Internet Cafes. The user response has been very good and the number of complaints has gone down to virtually zero."
Going forward, Postnet Northgate will utilise TrueCafe's WiMAX billing capability which essentially means it will become a Hot Spot for those users that require wireless connectivity services. "This is another benefit of TrueCafe's abilty to meet and help grow my Internet Café's offering," says Hughes.