Wondering about new equipment versus Windows 10

Discussions about chromatography data systems, LIMS, controllers, computer issues and related topics.

12 posts Page 1 of 1
We have been getting new equipment over the last couple years and so far even companies like Agilent and ABSciex are continuing to sell Windows 7 computers and saying that their software is not compatible with WIndows 8 or Windows 10. I know the design of the new Windows is not as friendly for what the instrument vendors use control computers for, so will we be stuck on Windows 7 for a long time yet, or have some manufacturers started to migrate instrument control software to Windows 10? Has anyone purchased any new instruments that shipped with Windows 10 computers?

If it proves too difficult to adapt instruments to Windows 10, will they look at using UNIX or Linix as control computers? I know Agilent used to ship a UNIX version of Chemstation for the mass specs.
The past is there to guide us into the future, not to dwell in.
Our agilent rep told us that the latest Masshunter acquiring and data analysis update supports windows 10

Other than that, no luck.
When a computer of ours died last year we replaced it with a Windows 10 machine. I did get some errors during the install complaining that I was using an OS that wasn't compatible. Everything seems fine on it.

This machine is running OpenLab, ChemStation edition and Cirrus GPC. Granted, I have not tried to put the software through a series of tests to see if/where it would fail, it controls the LC just fine for what I need it to do.

On a side note, I would very much like all of the software to be run on Unix/Linux based systems, much like Bruker and other NMR manufacturers have done with their software.
itspip wrote:
When a computer of ours died last year we replaced it with a Windows 10 machine. I did get some errors during the install complaining that I was using an OS that wasn't compatible. Everything seems fine on it.

This machine is running OpenLab, ChemStation edition and Cirrus GPC. Granted, I have not tried to put the software through a series of tests to see if/where it would fail, it controls the LC just fine for what I need it to do.

On a side note, I would very much like all of the software to be run on Unix/Linux based systems, much like Bruker and other NMR manufacturers have done with their software.


Honestly I would prefer Unix/Linux also for instrument control. It usually doesn't need to be rebooted as often and from what I have experienced at home I can update Linux based systems without needing to reboot each time. As long as the files used to load data to the LIMS are in a standard format, a Windows based LIMS would be able to read the data, just like a .pdf file can be read regardless of the operating system.

We had a couple gc/ms on Chemstation shut down a few months ago because someone on the network clicked on a ransom ware email, ugh. Even though Unix/Linux systems can get viruses, there are not as many floating around out there as for Windows. That would be another plus. On top of that most users would not know how to download the silly apps to muck thing up if running something other than Windows. Of course our IT guy is firmly against such things since he only knows Windows. I told him about Agilent still shipping W7 with their systems and told him I heard they would go to Unix next, he gave me the most sour look I ever saw :)
The past is there to guide us into the future, not to dwell in.
Win 10 in Enterprise can be used only in tightly controlled environment.

It sends ALL your keystrokes and logging of application run behavior to Microsoft.

Firewall has to be tuned precisely to block about 50 hosts like vortex*.microsoft.com

From the program point of view win10 should run all the software you have. Only bugs in the software itself can prevent this.
^that said, there is also the question of whether any of your equipment requires the use of a Microsoft driver.

Windows 10 installations have rendered much hardware useless as a result of people refusing to port old, or write new drivers for it.
Thanks,
DR
Image
The thing that is scaring me most is the move towards data being stored in random virtual locations (cloud etc.). These schemes always seem to work extremely well on paper and when you have super-fast hardware that isn't doing anything else. Meanwhile almost every bit of software in the world seems to want to phone home every couple of seconds for some reason or another, so the world is changing:
5-10 years ago, the world was full of super-fast computer hardware waiting (frenetically, cycling pointlessly away) for me to press a key.
Today the world is full of me (and other sad individuals) waiting for even-super-faster computer hardware that's waiting (frenetically, cycling pointlessly away) for a response from the network.
The instruments we've had that have proved most reliable have always been on isolated PCs running exactly what was installed by the manufacturer, no updates, and no proper internet access. Yes to a limited LAN to convey data to some place from which it can be accessed, No to anything cleverer than that. It's getting really hard to work that way, but I've regretted every single instance where an instrument has become dependent on more than its own control PC.
lmh wrote:
The thing that is scaring me most is the move towards data being stored in random virtual locations (cloud etc.). These schemes always seem to work extremely well on paper and when you have super-fast hardware that isn't doing anything else. Meanwhile almost every bit of software in the world seems to want to phone home every couple of seconds for some reason or another, so the world is changing:
5-10 years ago, the world was full of super-fast computer hardware waiting (frenetically, cycling pointlessly away) for me to press a key.
Today the world is full of me (and other sad individuals) waiting for even-super-faster computer hardware that's waiting (frenetically, cycling pointlessly away) for a response from the network.
The instruments we've had that have proved most reliable have always been on isolated PCs running exactly what was installed by the manufacturer, no updates, and no proper internet access. Yes to a limited LAN to convey data to some place from which it can be accessed, No to anything cleverer than that. It's getting really hard to work that way, but I've regretted every single instance where an instrument has become dependent on more than its own control PC.


Thinking of phone home software, hasn't Agilent put that into their new Chemstore versions of Chemstation? I remember our service rep telling me that the newest version would phone home to confirm licenses and receive updates. It would be one step up from Shimadzu requiring the thumb drive key to make their software run. I do understand the manufacturers wanting to prevent you from upgrading every system you have when you purchase one new instrument. But then there are companies like Metrohm that pretty much give the software away free if you buy the instrument.

We tried using a cloud based system for data archival here, but the connection was so slow it took days to upload a years worth of data from one GC. We tried two low cost NAS systems and they crashed after about a year and had to be sent off to retrieve the data. We collect the same number of scans per sample on MS data and the equivalent for GC data, yet the file sizes have grown exponentially over the years causing us to need several terabytes of storage for each years data, and we even reduced our data retention policy to 5 years from 7 years, but still run out of storage.

Two things I have tried to push here have been a separate, or at least semi separate network for the instruments versus that for the desk computers, but I get pushback because of cost since it is cheaper for them to simply have us do all of our work on the computer that comes with an instrument. The second was to assign fixed network addresses to every computer on the network instead of using DHCP to auto assign. The Agilent software will not work well using DHCP, and how hard would it be anyway to assign and IP address to each computer when we have less than 100 in the building. I keep hearing that DHCP autoassign is much easier and less hassle. So we still end up with needing two network cards per computer, one for the instrument and one for the house network/LIMS.

From the program point of view win10 should run all the software you have. Only bugs in the software itself can prevent this.


A lot of the older versions of Agilent software wants to access the hardware directly, which W10 does not like to allow, this is what causes much of the incompatibility. I remember when the SP3 update for XP crashed most systems, and Agilent added a version check the MSDChemstation install that would not let it install if you have SP3 on the computer. After that we were blocking all updates, that is until they installed the new server and the person who set it up made it activate updates on all attached computer, greying out the boxes on those computers that would allow us to turn it off. To keep our instruments from crashing during updates we had to go in the back door and disable the update program in the Services menus which has worked so far.

Getting IT people who run the front office to understand that you can't apply every single update from Microsoft to our instruments is frustrating. And when they do apply the update and crash something, they try to blame the instrument companies for it.
The past is there to guide us into the future, not to dwell in.
Hi Some comments on DHCP
On the DHCP server you can define fixed IP addresses for MAC addresses. It is more work than assigning random addresses to network cards (basically that it what it does). Hence instrument network cards and computer network cards can have a fixed address assigned by DHCP .

In most instrument software we work with fixed IP addresses. At least you know which GC/LC we need to talk to!

OpenLAB 2 for LC/GC/GC-MS and LC-MS runs on Windows 10. We will soon follow with OpenLAB ChemStation and OpenLAB EZChrom as well. Lots of testing is involved here, that eats a big chunk of our budgets. We need to test 3 client operating systems (7,8 and 10) against 2 server operating systems (2008 and 2012) against 3 databases (Oracle, SQLServer, PostgreSQL) in any given combination.

BTW, ChemStore no longer exists......

For licenses we use nowadays a file based license scheme to which the user have access and the user/customer can manage their own licenses. E.g. moving an instrument license from one computer to another is done through our web site. Makes life easier for all of us.
Freek Varossieau
Agilent Technologies
freek_varossieau@agilent.com
With respect to cloud storage.
I might sound old skool, but putting your data (read: files!) in a location where you do no longer have immediate control over it seems a bit odd to me.

The SDMS of Agilent OpenLAB we put servers on-premise, or in many occasions in the network controlled by the customer. So no AWS, iCloud, Dropbox or whatsoever.

On one exception, and that is our ELN, which can also run on AWS. But then you need to make a decision after some real considerations about it.
Freek Varossieau
Agilent Technologies
freek_varossieau@agilent.com
varossf wrote:
Hi Some comments on DHCP
On the DHCP server you can define fixed IP addresses for MAC addresses. It is more work than assigning random addresses to network cards (basically that it what it does). Hence instrument network cards and computer network cards can have a fixed address assigned by DHCP .

In most instrument software we work with fixed IP addresses. At least you know which GC/LC we need to talk to!

OpenLAB 2 for LC/GC/GC-MS and LC-MS runs on Windows 10. We will soon follow with OpenLAB ChemStation and OpenLAB EZChrom as well. Lots of testing is involved here, that eats a big chunk of our budgets. We need to test 3 client operating systems (7,8 and 10) against 2 server operating systems (2008 and 2012) against 3 databases (Oracle, SQLServer, PostgreSQL) in any given combination.

BTW, ChemStore no longer exists......

For licenses we use nowadays a file based license scheme to which the user have access and the user/customer can manage their own licenses. E.g. moving an instrument license from one computer to another is done through our web site. Makes life easier for all of us.


Thanks for the input, I am glad to hear directly from someone involved with the work of testing this! I definitely understand the problem with all the iterations needed to find the bugs between systems.

I had forgotten OpenLab replaced ChemStore, been a while since we looked into the lab wide software.

I agree on using the fixed IP addresses myself, I don't see why assigning a number to each computer as it enters the lab would be difficult, they assign an inventory number to each one, might as well assign the IP address as well.
The past is there to guide us into the future, not to dwell in.
I remember when I have to test 5 differeent Agilent BOOTP servers shipped with different Chemstations just to assign IP to HP-1100 under Windows 7.

The story ends up on TFTPD32 http://tftpd32.jounin.net/. This product just work.

Our lab has standard Linux isc-dhcpd3 (Internet Software Consortium). It just works decades since install date.

And in my lab Agilent HP-5890,6890 and 7890A/B work under Linux.
http://www.unichrom.com/chrom/u-linuxe.shtml
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