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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Thin Clients w/o backend infrastructure in Technical; Background: I was given a network that has a couple of switches, 3 servers (windows 2008r2) and 150 HP T5740e ...
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    tombarnes's Avatar
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    Thin Clients w/o backend infrastructure

    Background: I was given a network that has a couple of switches, 3 servers (windows 2008r2) and 150 HP T5740e thin clients. The goal was to setup 2 servers as AD/DNS and then leave 1 for an app/DHCP/multipurpose server. After I complained about how inefficient the TC setup was, I was told there wasn't money left and I had to make it work just for internet usage.

    ---after 2 months of usage (or lack of) they see the light---

    Question: What's the quickest, cheapest, efficient way to make "this" work? This being that IE doesn't work on the machines, there's no room for temp storage or swap space, I can't install app (obviously) and in general, it's just slow. I've come up with a couple of options, but I'm stuck with finding one that has proven use cases.
    1. Setup the app server for Thin Apps (VMware). I ran the demo, but I can't get confirmation from VMware that this is supported (thin apps from the Win7 Embedded OS). I've also found that I have to store the application exe on the TC, and I don't have a lot of space (Chrome was ~500mb and I only have about 450MB to use). I thought we could install USB storage on the TC and just put the apps there, but then there's the LoE to get 150 TC's installed with the storage.
    2. Buy a virtual backend. This is going to be expensive. I thought about using Dell's Virtual Appliance they're selling now, but it's pricey and I haven't even gotten licenses yet.
    3. Setup a terminal server on the App server. This may work, but apparently they want to limit who has access to licensed applications. Plus how hard is it to connect the HP TC's to a terminal server and can I integrate the domain logon at the TC with an automatic connection to the term server? Do I need a broker or can I use something that's already built into AD?

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    jamesfed's Avatar
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    The thin clients themselves are pretty powerful (as far as thin clients go) but if you are strapped for cash I would suggest Remote Desktop Services with App-V used to deliver the applications.

    Recently I put together some very low cost RDS servers using desktop PC parts - Series: Custom RemoteFX RDS Farm my world of IT

    You won't need the RemoteFX component as the thin clients won't run it though.

    For basic use that will get you off the ground....for something better you might want to take a look at Citrix VDI-in-a-box which is pretty easy to get off the ground and easy enough to manage (but will be much more expensive than just RDS).

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    tombarnes's Avatar
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    That's interesting input. I've heard nothing but bad things about AppV (usability and price structure).

    I believe the Citrix solution may be something I need to look into, but I've always been under the understanding that Citrix isn't intuitive. Dell is supposed to offer an appliance preloaded with Citrix or Vmware, but I feel like the cost is going to make it impossible for us to purchase.

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    jamesfed's Avatar
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    App-V is quite possibly the one single best way that I have found to deploy 99% of applications - at last count we've got 96 different programs (including the full Adobe CS6 suite) deployed through it...

    VDI-in-a-box was designed to be as intuitive as it comes, just load a virtual appliance point it at a virtual machine that has your base image on it and you are away

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    How are you deploying your App-V packages? Just UNC path? Copying/moving them to the local system? Or is there some sort of management/streaming application involved? I'm just trying to relate it to how I thought I could use ThinApp (basically the same thing, right?)

    Point-and-click can't get much easier. I'll have to get one of my sales reps on the phone to see what the pricing structure looks like for VDI-in-a-box and see it's financially possible. It seems like the most direct approach to solving the whole problem versus putting band-aids on top of band-aids.

    On a personal note, I would love to have the streaming apps happen.

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    jamesfed's Avatar
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    We've got a App-V management server which hosts a UNC share with the packages - the appropriate packages/applications are assigned to the user upon login (pretty much cuts out the need for a managed start menu).

    Do give it a look - there are educational discounts and its a whole lot cheaper than running something like XenDesktop or VMware View although you still have to pay for enough hardware to host the virtual desktops it will create.

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    tombarnes's Avatar
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    I'm curious as to why you can use the UNC path for App-V with large applications (AdobeCS6) and yet using UNC path + ThinApp + Chrome is basically unusable for me.

    I'm sure I'll need more hardware to make this work.

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    No clue but its working great here - Custom RemoteFX RDS Farm

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    Oh I watched the video. Things start quickly.

    Chrome takes ~50seconds to get cranked up and to the home page for me, if it doesn't crash.

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    That is one of the highest speed SSDs in the background though

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    We use App-V for 95% of our app delivery, best thing since sliced bread, and under MS Campus agreement it costs next to nothing.

    Setup I'd recommend would be to install the app-v management server somwehere (could be on a PC), the apps are hosted on a UNC share or https site on the management server. When a suer logs on the app-v client checks with the management server to check what apps the user is assigns and stick assocaited icons on their desktop, when a user clicks an icon the app-v client streams the app from the management server ( pulling it from the UNC share or https site

    Setup one of your servers as a remote desktop session hosts (aka terminal server), stick the app-v client on it and setup the thin clients as termianl server clients - we used to run 300 wyse thin clients this way, worked OK generally, some issues with video play back and the like.

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