Much of the "educational" software we use struggles to run on a network. How would it cope with thin clients?
There are now numerous options you can use to squeeze extra life out of old kit. or lock down and make client pc management easier without resorting to thin clients.
Tools like DeepFreeze give you the piece of mind knowing that changes made by your users can be rolled back. While you still retain the benefits of using the processing power of your 'FAT' clients. Plus you don't have to worry about what applications you'll be able to run - so long as your PC's aren't too long in the tooth. The screen scraping technology used by the thin client protocols effectively eliminate the ability to play smooth full motion video or use applications like video editing. A lot of investment is going into technologies that try and alleviate this problem. But I'm not aware of anything thats on the market that works. Thin clients are great for internet browsing ( but not flash video), prodctivty apps and your web applications. But they aren't THE solution for every situation.
www.re-sales.net, who have a warehouse in Portsmouth (we took the minibus down to collect the screens), although I'm sure they deliver too. ICT Direct, who advertise on this board quite often, offer a similar service. I've also bought a fair bit of stuff from Computer Resale in Cambridge.
> So you just load Edubuntu and use RDP to access your Windows apps
> on the TS right?
I've no idea, our Edubuntu server works fine by itself.
> I know very little about thin client. Would it be feasible to install it in a
> new ICT suit and link it to the existing curriculum file server?
Yes, simply mount your existing curriculum file server share on your thin client server.
Note: our thin clients seem to display Flash video and games okay, we've had pupils using YouTube with no problem. They probably won't manage full-screen video simultaneously on every client, though. Playing chess seems to be the application that sucks up processor power (logical, when you think about it).
We have a thin client network & would fully agree with going down that route. It has already been said that the cost may look a lot to start with, but you will have less down time. Your existing hardware could be turned into thin clients as well, so you could keep them going for a little while longer.
Our oldest thin clients are about 8 years old now, but are still able to run Windows 2003 server & the applications via Citrix.
Citrix may not be ideal for your situation though (11 - 18 school here)
Have a chat with Precedence Technologies http://www.precedence.co.uk
They can supply the servers, clients & the software to turn your old machines into thin clients (Thin-IT) & they will be able to install it as well.
It may seem expensive, but you won't be thinking of getting new machines a couple of years from now. Server upgrades may be required though.