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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Thinclient servers in Technical; Originally Posted by localzuk Even if they use 1mbps they would still support 1000 clients! No server could support that, ...
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Even if they use 1mbps they would still support 1000 clients! No server could support that, and no thin client uses that amount of bandwidth.
    So how come thin clients are generally so crummy at video if there's all that bandwidth spare? Couldn't we just crank up the amount of bandwidth used per client until they could handle full-screen video?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    So how come thin clients are generally so crummy at video if there's all that bandwidth spare? Couldn't we just crank up the amount of bandwidth used per client until they could handle full-screen video?
    Desktops use the hardware acceleration of the video card to improve graphics quality - this is obviously not available to the thin client. Video playback is also quite a memory intensive operation.

    There are technologies that are used to improve multimedia (such as Speedscreen from Citrix) and they do work. I have classes of kids here happily watching the BBC iPlayer (whether they should be is another matter) - the sessions don't grind to a halt but I do get lots of little warning triangles next to the memory metrics on my servers.

    I am going to start looking into using 64-bit Windows on my Citrix boxes - the advantages are supposedly massive (50% more clients than the same box running 32-bit Windows!!!). I'm just unsure about some of the apps - it may be necessary to run some of the apps off a seperate 32-bit box using seamless Windows.

    Anyway... back to the OP. You will be able to get away with a single server (dual processor, 4GB RAM, 15K SAS disks - disks and RAM are most important). You will have no redundancy but unless you invest in Citrix, 2X, SGD or similar you will need to do some manual DNS jiggery-pokery anyway.

    Make sure you test a couple of client devices to make sure you can manage them sensibly - I like using HP devices because Altiris can set them up for me in a minute or two. Wyse and others also offer these features.

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    Butuz's Avatar
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    Well - I would say you will probably only need one server, though it is up to you if you wish to future proof or have some redundency. I have run up to 38 clients on an older spec server (Dual 3.4 Xeon, 4GB, 3 x 73GB 15k RPM) and I now have two more new servers (Dual 2.3Ghz Quad Core, 4GB RAM, 3 x 73GB 15k RPM) so will run 100 clients across three servers.

    The 4GB Mem limit of Windows 2003 Standard 32bit is the limiting factor on how many thin clients you can have per server.

    Ideally you should use 64bit Win2k3 and run as much memory as the server could fit. I would guesstimate a top spec quad core server with 8 or 12GB could run well over 60 clients.

    Unfortuatly our system is the RM Client Connect system and they only currently support Windows 2003 Std 32 bit - hence 3 servers.

    As for the benefits of thin client I would list them as:

    For:
    * Lower Initial cost.
    * Dramatically lower power usage (eg Axel client = 9watts per unit)
    * The above = dramatically lower heat output, and dramatically lower electricity costs.
    * Ease of installation - 3 minutes to unbox and set up an Axel client, 26 seconds from cold boot to logon screen
    * Ease of managment and troubleshooting - spend 15 minutes uninstalling Office 2003 and installing Office 2007 on my 3 servers and hey presto = 100 clients updated with no downtime and no restarts!
    * Better lifecycle - with no moving parts thin clients should theoretically be able to survive for 20 years. Either way - no more replacing every workstation every 3 years! All you need to do is replace the terminal servers as often as you need - eg 3 or 5 years.
    * All the above = much lower total cost of ownership. or as I like to putit - making ICT Sustainable....

    Against:
    * Bad multimedia performance - this is down to the thin client hardware itself. As newer more improved thin clients come onto the market this will be less and less of a problem. Personally I think thin client develoment is being driven by education at the mo - It is us that needs Multimedia performance wheras in most businesses - they never needed to cater for all of their thin client users trying to view fulscreen video from youtube!!!!!!
    * Lack of flexibility. If all of a sudden some new software came in that was highly demanding you would have a problem if all your ICT suites were thin client. This will be negated as time goes on by more powerful thin client units... but for now just have to hope you dont get landed with some kind of hideous badly written bloated java software....

    Butuz
    Last edited by Butuz; 30th June 2008 at 11:57 AM.

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    @Butuz: I hope you are running the third drive in those servers as a hot spare. RAID 5 will slow down the disk performance on the servers. You really need a hardware RAID card with write-behind cache to mirror the drives or stripe the drives. Otherwise you add another bottleneck.

    I also tend to favour servers with 3.5" drives because they are more cost effective and you only need 2 in a 1u chasis for a TS anyway. My current favourite for this is the Sun Fire X2200 M2.

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    Ric - it's raid 5 yes but with a hardware raid card with 64mb memory.

    Butuz

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ric_ View Post
    Desktops use the hardware acceleration of the video card to improve graphics quality - this is obviously not available to the thin client.
    Why not? Graphics cards today are basically processors optimised to deal with graphics-orientated operations (matrix calculations, z-buffering, etc) with a wodge of dual-port RAM attached. Hmm, there must be some way of utilising that specialised hardware server-side and sending the resulting calculated graphics buffer to an individual client.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Why not? Graphics cards today are basically processors optimised to deal with graphics-orientated operations (matrix calculations, z-buffering, etc) with a wodge of dual-port RAM attached. Hmm, there must be some way of utilising that specialised hardware server-side and sending the resulting calculated graphics buffer to an individual client.
    I thought Citrix did just that somehow. There are some models of thin client such as the HP T5735 and the ThinSpace TX405 series which have dedicated GFX cards to take advantage of this.

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    I've just watched (Video) Apollo technology for 3D professional graphics - Derek Thorslund on the Citrix website. Talk about amazing!

    Also check out http://deliver.citrix.com/go/citrix/SpeedScreenLR to learn about Citrix SpeedScreen

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks
    there must be some way of utilising that specialised hardware server-side and sending the resulting calculated graphics buffer to an individual client.
    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    I thought Citrix did just that somehow. There are some models of thin client such as the HP T5735 and the ThinSpace TX405 series which have dedicated GFX cards to take advantage of this.
    That a good idea, but the opposite of what I suggested above - why can't the server use one of these humoungous modern triple-GFX card setups to handle all the graphics processing server-side and then update the client's screens over the network, no client-side graphics processing needed?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    That a good idea, but the opposite of what I suggested above - why can't the server use one of these humoungous modern triple-GFX card setups to handle all the graphics processing server-side and then update the client's screens over the network, no client-side graphics processing needed?
    This is what the Apollo project is doing and the 'tech prveview' is currently available for XenDesktop. If you watch the first video that I posted above you will see how this exact technology is used to run Vista with full Aero and do CAD. The Google Earth demo is amazing too!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ric_ View Post
    This is what the Apollo project is doing and the 'tech prveview' is currently available for XenDesktop. If you watch the first video that I posted above you will see how this exact technology is used to run Vista with full Aero and do CAD. The Google Earth demo is amazing too!
    Ah! Thanks, worth a look - I'll have to wait until I get home to watch the video.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ric_ View Post
    I've just watched (Video) Apollo technology for 3D professional graphics - Derek Thorslund on the Citrix website. Talk about amazing!
    It does look good.
    My concern, though, is that first they're talking about using these integrated graphics special clients. So you think "great, I'll upgrade all my clients to this". But at the end they're talking about making "further improvements to the clients" (I'm presuming that means new hardware... again). Above, people were claiming that a client could last 10-20 years. But to keep everything up to date, it's not just a case of buying a new server but actually buying new clients. Kinda defeats a main postive for TC.
    How many people have clients which will even support Vista, and what about the next thing?

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