International Network Management Center

Deutsche Telekom AG, Germany

VIN: Visualization and interactive environment for the International Network Management of the Deutsche Telekom AG in Frankfurt/Main

DTAG INMC picture
Photo: q~bus Mediatektur GmbH

q~bus Mediatektur GmbH created and implemented VIN, a system design which allows to use a large and extensible screen wall in such a way that the mostly heterogeneous application programs of the DTAG and their various sights onto the network infrastructure can be displayed in a single context.

At the time being, in the second stage, the wall display comprises 96 screens, each with a resolution of 800 × 600 pixels. The screens are arranged in a grid of 16 × 6 yielding a total resolution of 12,800 × 3,600 or about 46 million pixels.

Every group of 8 screens is driven by one of 12 pipes of an SGI Onyx 2 Reality Monster computer. On the Onyx X-Software's XmetaX product is used to combine the output of the 12 pipes to one huge contiguous display area.

The screen wall also displays copies of user's sessions of multiple workstations. Thus the whole screen contents of a workstation used for network control and management can be dynamically viewed on the wall without disturbing or limiting its functionality.

So the display wall is used for visual communication of operators who are working in the same room but at distant places where direct communication about their work is not possible.

Each user's session is recorded by XmetaX with the Pose option and scaled and displayed by XposeXplay.

q~bus Mediatektur GmbH also developed a user interface for controlling the total system which comprises three parts:

Tools: Each of 14 buttons represents an operator workstation executing a certain network control and management program. The program's output (the current state of the network, a problematic condition, or an alarm) can be seen on the wall display by all persons in the control room. Each workstation can be displayed in different dimensions. The lookup tool raises and flashes the copied session of a workstation on the wall display.

Internet/Intranet: Up to five Internet browsers are managed. For each browser size and position on the wall display as well as the addressed URL are stored.

Functions: Sets of window positions and dimensions for copied sessions and browsers can be stored and recalled, for instance different scenarios for day and night shifts. An arbitrary number of background images may be displayed on the whole screen wall. Furthermore a window with video or TV contents may be opened, optional with stereophonic effect depending on the window position. Last but not least the layout of the control user interface itself may be specified.

Deutsche Telekom AG q~bus Mediatektur GmbH

Guido Matzer
  +49 30 390489-112

Our contribution: XmetaX and XposeXplay

The INMC was a very demanding project for X-Software's developers.

The huge dimensions of the wall are not problematic because the X Window system as well as all of our X Window proxies support dimensions up to 65,535 × 65,535 pixels. A configurable modification of the XmetaX proxy helped to minimize the X Window servers' memory consumption when displaying large background images.

Mirroring is another base functionality of the XmetaX proxy. It maps virtual screens arbitrarily on one or more real screens of multiple X Window servers. Here the real screens are the screen of an operator workstation and the wall display (in fact the XmetaX proxy on the Onyx). Due to the unique proxy principle the applications connect to the X Window display as usual, without any modification. Thus the X Window system together with XmetaX is used as an integration tool for the rather heterogeneous applications of DTAG.

Initially each of the 14 XmetaX proxys on the operator workstations routed each X Window client to the wall display where the total number of clients exceeded an internal X Window System limit. In contrast the player program of XposeXplay counts as one client only regardless how many clients are copied. After initial promising experiments with an XmetaX/XposeXplay combination we enhanced the Pose products by a very efficient direct copy path, which is now used at the INMC.

This system architecture scales very well with the number of operator workstations.

X-Software GmbH
+49 8334 9867 70

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