Abacus Private Cloud is not a proprietary, custom system. Rather, we operate a Windows Server 2012/2016 R2 environment accessible via Terminal Services. Suffice it to say, however, that Terminal Services allows you to access one computer or server from another device remotely, using Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). All you need is a device with an Internet connection and the RDP app.
In other words, it is the same Windows experience you are used to (you can even customize your background and change your APC logon password!); but, all the work is being performed on a server located in an off-site, secure, and compliance-ready location.
What is happening behind the scenes is that everything you see on the screen and do with your keyboard and mouse is information traveling, in the form of data packets, from your local computer, out through your local network, across multiple layers (or “hops”) on the World Wide Web, to your cloud server, and back. There is much more involved than meets the eye!
When we talk about “performance,” we are basically referring to stability and speed: “Does the connection get lost,” and, “How fast can I get things done?” And as you can see, this depends greatly on three factors: your local network, Internet Quality of Service (QoS), and cloud resource utilization. Let's break these down a bit.
Your Local Network
This includes your computer itself (NIC, network adapters), your connection to your local network (wireless adapter, Ethernet cable), and your network‘s hardware (modem, router, switches). All of these are possible failure points when it comes to your APC’s performance and why it is important to have and maintain current and up-to-date hardware and software.
With very few exceptions, this area falls within the realm of your local IT professional's responsibility.
Internet Quality of Service (QoS)
Your Internet experience outside your building falls within the domain of your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Technically, inside your building could be your ISP's responsibility as well if they provide your modem or router.
Tests like ping and speedtest can be run to determine the speed you are getting from your ISP. This will be assessed during your APC Onboarding process at least two different times.
One thing to remember is that, just because you are on the Internet on a web page, this does not necessarily mean that your Internet connection is solid. Web pages are largely static (unchanging) until you click or take some other action; so, just the fact that you are looking at a web page may not mean anything. Also, due to something called caching, the web sites you visit frequently or recently are stored on your PC, so it is often not a truly live connection when you go back to these sites. Your APC server, on the other hand, is an always-live, constantly communicating connection. One way to test your Internet connection, therefore, is to go to a web site you probably haven't visited recently, if ever, like www.disneyland.com.
APC Server Resource Utilization
Just like with your local computer, what you do and how much of it you try to do at once will affect your overall performance. Here there are two basic factors: RAM and CPUs (or processors).
Quite simply, RAM is the memory used by what is currently happening on your computer. You can read this article for a more in-depth understanding. Ultimately, though, think of RAM like the speed limit on the highway.
Each processor, or CPU, contributes to the processing power your server has available to perform all the tasks you give it. Think of your CPUs like the lanes on the highway.
Continuing this analogy, if you are on a highway with an 80MPH speed limit but only one lane, you are out of luck if there is a lot of traffic. At the same time, if you are on a four-lane highway but the speed limit is 25MPH, you're still not going anywhere fast.
If you are going to have a lot of users and/or want to be doing several things at once (three PDFs open, four browser windows open, and four programs running), you will want both a lot of RAM and several CPUs.
Lastly, it is just a fact of technology that, over time, as all your installed programs and Windows itself continue to get updates, more power will be needed. Think of it like continuing to add apples to a wagon but never upgrading the hardware. That simply will not end well. :)
And that's it. That sums up the basics of your Abacus Private Cloud, how it works, and how to get the most out of it. If you have any further questions, please contact our APC Support team, and we will be happy to assist you!