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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Thin Client Network Infrastructure in Technical; The question is at the bottom of the post, I included the story for those with time on their hands. ...
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    Thin Client Network Infrastructure

    The question is at the bottom of the post, I included the story for those with time on their hands.

    As many of you probably know I've been trying to get to a thin client solution for a few months now. A company who were looking for new customers came along and basically said my schools network is not good enough for thin client. They spoke about how they loved thin client networks in other places, although they seemed confused when I mentioned booting over the network.

    They were unwilling to even put together a proposal for a thin client setup but suggested something less beefy than I wanted with 22 new fat clients. Alongside them was a server costing £4.5k. They said the reason for this is the introduction of multimedia for DiDA. However the 22 clients only had 512mb of ram in them (not up to Vista spec in my eyes) and were celerons which I have found pretty useless dealing with multimedia.

    Today I've researched the DiDA course and found that the way it would be developed in this school the only time of peak usage would be for the picture editing. which half of my current fat clients would have no problem processing (therefore I could leave the hard drives in them and make the programs accessible off the hard disk rather than server, until macs were purchased for that job).

    The Questions
    So what I wanted to know is what kind of spec do you have for your cabs for thin clients ?
    If you were about to buy something on a reasonable budget what would you go for ?
    - 100 computers, not much multimedia but that could increase in the future.

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    Re: Thin Client Network Infrastructure

    If you've got a consultant who refused to install thin client at your site because the network was shot then probably you should listen to their advice and fix the network before you think about deploying thin clients - it will only lead to tears, especially if they can forsee enough problems that they'd turn your money away.
    The Becta technical specification has some very good info on how a network should be setup.

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    Re: Thin Client Network Infrastructure

    what kind of switches do you have, do they have gigabit connections?

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    Re: Thin Client Network Infrastructure

    I agree with the others, fix you infrastructure first, as it will be the driving force behind any solution that you choose to implement. 8)

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    Re: Thin Client Network Infrastructure

    @Pear: I think that the consultant was more than likely talking out of their arse! If you bear in mind what data travels across the network in a thin and fat client network, you can easily see where the bottlenecks would have an effect.

    Fat Client:
    * Profile data sent at logon
    * Documetns copied from server to client for editting over 100Mbit links
    * Software deployment carried out

    Thin Client:
    * Keystrokes and screen refreshes sent across the network (neglibable traffic size)
    * Documents sent at high speed across gigabit links between servers

    We use Fireworks for photo editting and it works fine on thin clients for most stuff. Pro Desktop functions fine for all but the most advanced users (those using it for animation!). The only thing that the thin clients cannot do is video editting but I intend to set up machines that can do this locally and also connect to the Citrix network for day to day work - eventually I thinnk Macs will be the way forward for this due to the bundled iLife suite.

    Anyway... my core procurve 4104 switches barely register any traffic on my 250 device thin client network.

    I also have issues with people who say that you need to buy an additional server because you are adding X number of machines. £4.5K will buy you 2 terminal servers for fsck sake!!! If the 22 fat clients cost £300 each (for arguments sake) that equates to about 45 thin client terminals.

    Anyway... get a second opinion IMHO - there should be no problem running thin clients on a 10Mbit network using hubs. After all, citrix is optimised to run over dial-up links!!!

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    Re: Thin Client Network Infrastructure

    I think that the consultant was more than likely talking out of their arse! If you bear in mind what data travels across the network in a thin and fat client network, you can easily see where the bottlenecks would have an effect.
    ?
    ?

    Its not just bottlenecks. Latency, broadcast storms, poor wiring will effect a TC network much more than a fat client network - or at least it will be more noticable.
    If a buildings been poorly wired, throwing in a few procurves isn't going to help.

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    Re: Thin Client Network Infrastructure

    Cheers Ric, that was what I thought. They made the keystrokes issue a *major* point to an IT teacher yesterday. So today I showed her the demo I have and she inserted a picture and changed the size but couldn't tell the difference from a normal computer.

    I have a 100m/b switches currently and quite a few hubs, originally I was considering not upgrading them to save on costs. But when figures were banded about I realised there might be more money available than I though so I think I could spend up to £4-5000 on them.

    Here's what I have in my main cabinet with everything 100mb:
    HP Pro Curve Switch 212M
    Cisco Catalyst Switch 3550
    2 x 3com baseline dual speed hub 24 port (super stack3)
    2 x Netgear 24 port fast ethernet switch
    2 x cat5e patch panels with 16 ports
    1 x cat5e patch panel with 48 ports

    My fibre switchs that go to other cabinets are 100mb too, but that is mainly for wireless network not thin clients so that can come later.

    The consultant said I needed:
    3COM 5500-G EI Core Switch x 1 = £1,630
    (24 x 10/100/1000 ports) (4 x SFP Expansion Ports)

    3COM 100 BASE-SX SFP Modules x 2 = £320
    3COM 100 BASE-SX SFP Modules x 2 = £320
    (This item is listed twice on quote, not next to each other)

    3COM 4250T Switch x 2 = £640
    (48 x 10/100 Ports) (2 x 10/100/1000 Uplink Ports)

    3COM 4228G Switch x 2 = £380
    (24 x 10/100 Ports) (2 x 10/100/1000 Uplink Ports) (2 x Expansion Ports)

    Cisco WS-GS483 Copper GBIC Module x 1 = £175
    (Module for exisitng Cisco 3550 switch giving gigabit connectivity to core)

    1m Fibre Patch Lead x 4 = £60
    Total = £3525

    Make what you want of that

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    Re: Thin Client Network Infrastructure

    Do get rid of the hubs - you'll need something with STP - it won't take the kids long to find out the school will crash if they start plugging things in where they shouldn't.
    Also run some monitoring software -ethereal etc to find out how bad the problem is.
    Check out HOW the switches fit together - when I first came to this place I had no diagrams and it took about 6months to work out how it all fitted together. Turned out that everytime a contractor was in they just cascaded the switches together, ran cat5 over main power/lighting units etc..... This is not a good thing to do - on a fat client network things will just appear slow, with thin clients the network is much more important and if there are problems things will crash..
    Ideally you should install a router to segregate the thin network using VLANs - you don't want someone to plug in a dodgy nic/ virus and find all the IT suites crash and no-one can log in. Like I said, it isn't just about bandwidth. Lots of IT folk don't quite apreciate that the network infrastructure is just as important as the server/software infrastructure.

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    Re: Thin Client Network Infrastructure

    I looked at the current setup in my cab and it seems that the hubs are all daisy chained together. The wiring it seems doesn't follow the lights and has its own trunking.

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    Re: Thin Client Network Infrastructure

    I had another network company from Rochdale come in today and they said everything was fine for the thin client infrastructure, apart from maybe wanting to change from the hubs to switches. Always get the 2nd and 3rd opinion

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