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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Thin Client Newbie... in Technical; This maybe a bit brief so bear with me... We are thinking about trying out some thin clients but i ...
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    Thin Client Newbie...

    This maybe a bit brief so bear with me...

    We are thinking about trying out some thin clients but i have not got an idea on how they work. Can someone briefly explain what i will need for this to work. I understand that i need a Server and a Thin Client Machine, but what software do i use on the server?? I am trying out XenServer but do i need anything else?

    Which Thin Client do i use? Do i use one with a Linux operating system or one with a windows OS? In the end we will be running an XP environment.

    How do I configure the virtual image.

    Thanks

    Tim

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    Your post is a bit confusing... you start off talking about thin clients (server-based computing) but then mention XenServer (server virtualisation) and then mention XP desktops and virtual images (desktop virtuialisation).

    We need a little more detail to go off but for a starter the Citrix product line up is:
    • XenServer - server virtualisation
    • XenApp - server-based computing and application virtualisation
    • XenDesktop - desktop virtualisation


    If you want to get really funky, all the above can be used together to create a complete virtual infrastructure although the full benefits generally won't be realised in a school environment.

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    timbo343's Avatar
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    Oh, right. Ok, Well i think im running the wrong server then.... I shall try the XenApp or the XenDesktop and see what that does. We are wanting to run virtualisation for desktops only. We arent too bothered about the server side.

    Thanks for the reply... like i said this is a new field for me...

    Thanks

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    Re: Thin Client Newbie...

    Quote Originally Posted by timbo343 View Post
    This maybe a bit brief so bear with me...

    We are thinking about trying out some thin clients but i have not got an idea on how they work. Can someone briefly explain what i will need for this to work. I understand that i need a Server and a Thin Client Machine, but what software do i use on the server?? I am trying out XenServer but do i need anything else?

    Which Thin Client do i use? Do i use one with a Linux operating system or one with a windows OS? In the end we will be running an XP environment.

    How do I configure the virtual image.

    Hi,

    For thin clients, then XenServer is not the server product needed, this is for virtualisation. You need to decide on the protocol, MS Terminal Services uses RDP and Citrix XenApp uses ICA.

    With each, you need a dedicated server for the thin clients to connect to, a typical server will support about 30 terminal services and 40-60 for a Citrix XenApp install. The server will run Windows 2003/2008 Server Enterprise because of the amount of RAM you will need. The server will also have the tools needed to configure (ie terminal services and Citrix XenApp).

    You thin clients must be able to support ICA or RDP protocols so if you are converting existing PCs then they will need a client tool to help you to use onboard features such as USB.

    <edit>No advertising please! - Ric_</edit>

    I would not recommend virtualising thin client servers but you can the Citrix DataStore.

    I hope this helps.

    Regards,


    ghannahuk
    Last edited by Ric_; 4th February 2009 at 10:52 AM. Reason: unpaid advertising

  5. Thanks to ghannahuk from:

    timbo343 (4th February 2009)

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    I would suggest forgetting about Citrix/Xen etc etc to begin with. just get yourself a bog standard Windows Terminal Server (ie Windows 2003 Advanced Server).

    To this you could connect any thin-client, either dedicated hardware TC or a downgraded PC.

    This would give you a pretty good insight into what it is all about...

    THEN... if you felt you needed the extra benefits (and costs) that Citrix can offer, you could upgrade your terminal server with Citrix.

    To run Citrix you need a fully licensed and configured Windows Terminal Server "underneath" Citrix, so the cost and effort in installing the Windows server would not be wasted, but is more of stopping point on the way to installing Citrix, where you can take a breather, and consider if Terminal Services gives you what you want....

    The pros and cons of Citrix v. Windows Terminal Services are discussed elsewhere, the point is - it is not a choice of one or the other, it is a choice of {Citrix AND Terminal Services} or {just Terminal Services}.

    Resellers will love to sell you Citrix as it is expensive, so take what anyone in the trade says with a pinch of salt...

    Hope this helps

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    Quote Originally Posted by nut-ed View Post
    I would suggest forgetting about Citrix/Xen etc etc to begin with. just get yourself a bog standard Windows Terminal Server (ie Windows 2003 Advanced Server).

    To this you could connect any thin-client, either dedicated hardware TC or a downgraded PC.

    This would give you a pretty good insight into what it is all about...

    THEN... if you felt you needed the extra benefits (and costs) that Citrix can offer, you could upgrade your terminal server with Citrix.

    To run Citrix you need a fully licensed and configured Windows Terminal Server "underneath" Citrix, so the cost and effort in installing the Windows server would not be wasted, but is more of stopping point on the way to installing Citrix, where you can take a breather, and consider if Terminal Services gives you what you want....

    The pros and cons of Citrix v. Windows Terminal Services are discussed elsewhere, the point is - it is not a choice of one or the other, it is a choice of {Citrix AND Terminal Services} or {just Terminal Services}.

    Resellers will love to sell you Citrix as it is expensive, so take what anyone in the trade says with a pinch of salt...

    Hope this helps
    Resellers don't appear to be having a hard time selling citrix licenses...sure they might promise the earth but then citrix do have some very advantageous IP, and what adds to the citrix premium is the strengths of the ICA protcol, which has clear advantages over a vanilla RDP implementation in certain situations. WAN performance is one example where it is very strong and more recently citrix ability to leverage ICA and build ontop of it for VDI solutions has given it an early lead. I would however urge caution with VDI, it's a lot less mature than traditional SBC (server based computing) and is an area that seems to be in a constant state of flux at the moment.....

    I agree that the threadstarter is better off starting out with terminal services and getting to know the in-and-outs and capabilities before trialling something like xenapp. Also worth mentioning that citrix isn't the only game in town when it comes to leveraging terminal servers, there are other smaller players who have licensed and extended the RDP protocol and can compete with citrix and it's ICA protocol on a more level footing as a result.

    Thinking about VDI at the stage where understanding of TC and xenapp is limited is only going to confuse things a hell of a lot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ghannahuk View Post

    I would not recommend virtualising thin client servers but you can the Citrix DataStore.


    ghannahuk
    I wouldn't....not recommend virtualizing thin client servers that is.

    I'd say suck it and see. Traditional SBC appears to have far fewer constraints in this regard than a VDI backend where your trying to use xendesktop and it's myriad of components [or similar product] to present virtual dedsktops.

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    Quote Originally Posted by timbo343 View Post
    Can someone briefly explain what i will need for this to work.
    Go and download and install Ubuntu Desktop, then install the Edubuntu add-on. LTSP-based thin-client in two easy steps.

    --
    David Hicks

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    Quote Originally Posted by torledo View Post
    Resellers don't appear to be having a hard time selling citrix licenses...sure they might promise the earth but then citrix do have some very advantageous IP, and what adds to the citrix premium is the strengths of the ICA protcol, which has clear advantages over a vanilla RDP implementation in certain situations. WAN performance is one example where it is very strong and more recently citrix ability to leverage ICA and build ontop of it for VDI solutions has given it an early lead. I would however urge caution with VDI, it's a lot less mature than traditional SBC (server based computing) and is an area that seems to be in a constant state of flux at the moment.....

    I agree that the threadstarter is better off starting out with terminal services and getting to know the in-and-outs and capabilities before trialling something like xenapp. Also worth mentioning that citrix isn't the only game in town when it comes to leveraging terminal servers, there are other smaller players who have licensed and extended the RDP protocol and can compete with citrix and it's ICA protocol on a more level footing as a result.

    Thinking about VDI at the stage where understanding of TC and xenapp is limited is only going to confuse things a hell of a lot.

    As a reseller (or Solution Advisor) solely to the education market, I do agree with torledo, you need to find what you can easily support within school and ascertain how students and staff are likely to use it. If you are looking to offer access to less resource hungry applications on a blended thin client/standard network, then terminal services is one of the best ways. If the demand is for more graphics and a need for load balancing for remote access, then products like Citrix XenApp will help you to do this so will offers (at a higher cost, of course).

    With regard to XenDesktop, it is like thin clients (ie operating system from a central server), but uses the local resources of the computer. A good way to avoid MSIs and other application deployment and its easy for roll back, just in case an upgrade or patch didn't work.

    There are loads of schools that I know that are using Terminal Services (even through RM's Client Connect), Citrix XenApp, Sun Global Desktop, Linux alternatives or others. If you want some honest and non-supplier related schools (ie from different products and vendors), I will be more than happy to share these details. In fact, it gives me a good excuse to get them to join EduGeek!

    Before investing in hardware and licensing, I strongly recommend that you make contact with existing schools to learn from them the best way to deploy. Thin clients are not for everyone for a variety of reasons so worth understanding the options before embarking.

    Good Luck!



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