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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Thin Clients in Technical; Hi, Currently we are looking into different thin client solutions instead of replacing our existing fat clients for new fat ...
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    Thin Clients

    Hi,

    Currently we are looking into different thin client solutions instead of replacing our existing fat clients for new fat clients. We are looking at:


    VMware View
    Sun Sunray and SGN
    Critrix
    Ericom

    We already use ESX for our servers so are familar with VMware technology. What would you recommend and why?

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    I would heartily recommend buying the fat clients a Wii Fit and enforcing a regular regime until they become thin.

    More seriously, while I've got limited experience I'd suggest VMWare, partly because I've always found it fairly easy to use and partly because you mention you already have experience of it.

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    linescanner's Avatar
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    Sun Ray and SGD are a very very good option. They are currently on Matching Grant at the moment, which is buy 1 get 1 free.

    You can use them to talk to WTS or VMware View. This is expensive.
    SUN VDI3 is now out and looks v cool. All VDI has the same issue of the cost and complexity is way above using WTS.

    The whole art to thin client is workout where they will and where they will not work.

    Drop me a PM if you need to chat further

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    we have been running around 250 thin clients for the past 5 years and are very happy!!

    we use the HP T5530 / T5510 model over microsoft RDP into a 2003 terminal server. works great for students and staff alike!

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    Quote Originally Posted by linescanner View Post
    Sun Ray and SGD are a very very good option. They are currently on Matching Grant at the moment, which is buy 1 get 1 free.
    We've had a couple of phone calls from Sun pointing out that thin clients are nice and so on but lacking in anything specific like model numbers that I can look up or prices. As we have limited money and limited wiring to classrooms I was thinking of having a small server in a classroom running a set of thin clients just for that room, therefore needing only one network point in the room. I was thinking of using NComputing's system, but it's always good to have alternatives. Does anyone know if Sun's system is suitible to be used in this way - a small, preferebly very quite, server to be located in a classroom running a half dozen, maybe a dozen, thin client terminals?

    --
    David Hicks

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    Hi
    For schools looking at the benefits of thin clients with out changing the devices I would suggest you look at 2X.

    I have supplied this to a number of schools with excellent results.

    I would suggest you look at
    Thin client server - Deploy & manage RDP ICA thin clients

    Hope this helps,

    Will Lingard

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    linescanner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    We've had a couple of phone calls from Sun pointing out that thin clients are nice and so on but lacking in anything specific like model numbers that I can look up or prices. As we have limited money and limited wiring to classrooms I was thinking of having a small server in a classroom running a set of thin clients just for that room, therefore needing only one network point in the room. I was thinking of using NComputing's system, but it's always good to have alternatives. Does anyone know if Sun's system is suitible to be used in this way - a small, preferebly very quite, server to be located in a classroom running a half dozen, maybe a dozen, thin client terminals?

    --
    David Hicks
    David,

    drop me a PM. I do not think Sun Ray would be the best option for a small deployment like this.

    However you never know

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    Quote Originally Posted by linescanner View Post
    David,

    drop me a PM. I do not think Sun Ray would be the best option for a small deployment like this.

    However you never know

    Out of interest how much does the Solaris server cost, to say support 30 Sunray thin-clients...?

    Also how do Sun explain the necessity of having this Solaris server, especially as this server would be a "single point of failure" for the whole thin client environment - or would there be a hot standby as back-up.

    Indeed are you forced to have Sun server hardware or could you have this function virtualised on a standard server...

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Just saw this and have a question based on idle curiosity (I've not done any research at all into Sunrays).

    The Solaris OS is free. Could you not get a cheap standard server (HP/Dell/IBM/etc) that meets the HW requirements for the Sunray's and use OpenSolaris - or does it have to be a pay sun ££££'s server and OS?

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    linescanner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nut-ed View Post
    Out of interest how much does the Solaris server cost, to say support 30 Sunray thin-clients...?

    Also how do Sun explain the necessity of having this Solaris server, especially as this server would be a "single point of failure" for the whole thin client environment - or would there be a hot standby as back-up.

    Indeed are you forced to have Sun server hardware or could you have this function virtualised on a standard server...
    I will get the costing across.

    Sun Ray are NOT thin client as we know it, so the Solaris servers are there to run them. They have no inbuilt flash OS or anything like it. The are platform agnostic picture painters (very clever ones). They have the ability to present, XP, Vista, WTS, Solaris, Linux and MAC OSX.

    One solaris server would be a SPOF, so never deploy one. They are deployed in groups and load balance between themselves.

    It will run on most good quality server hardware. Sun servers are very very good and not too expensive. Especially as some of their range is currently on buy 1 get 1 free.

    OpenSolaris is currently not supported, so it is Solaris 10 or SLES/RHES Linux.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Armand View Post
    we have been running around 250 thin clients for the past 5 years and are very happy!!

    we use the HP T5530 / T5510 model over microsoft RDP into a 2003 terminal server. works great for students and staff alike!
    Hi, could you please tell me if you're using any 3rd party thin client system such as ericom, citrix or 2x? if not do you load balance the servers?
    Sorry to ask this as I am currently looking into adding more thin clients terminals and servers but I am not sure whether to get 3rd party sofware too. At the moment Iam trialing 25 HP 5735 linux thin clients with one HP win 2003 server, they are set up to connect to that server only which is srvts1, and if I wanted to add aroung 150 thin clients would it be better to have citrix or similar as well?

    Also do you have any problems with usb stick or applications freezing up?

    Thanks for your help.

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    Terminal Services and Citrix are really almost the same thing, however Citrix gives you more bells and whistles and is far more efficient. Many people get hung up on the 'large' cost of Citrix licences, but when you factor in the hardware cost savings, installation cost savings it all levels out with an equal fat-client solution.

    A school can start with Terminal Services to save cost initially, but will quickly want to add Citrix XenApp to make the thin-client system faster and to support multiple servers properly. Running a Terminal Services only installation to test the effectiveness of thin-clients could be counter productive as Terminal Services will provide a functioning system but it won't turn heads in terms of graphics performance and sound - it would be a great shame if such a school decided not to go further with thin-clients as a result.

    Typically 40 clients per server, the server should be a good specification, however having a larger number of reasonable servers is better than a small number of very powerful servers, a specialist supplier such as ourselves would provide this consultancy and it is critical it is right to ensure the network performs as required and may factor in using XenServer also.

    You want to get to having more than one server as quickly as possible, this then provides redundancy should a server fail. Server hardware should be carefully selected, some server brands perform poorly (even though the specifications in terms of memory and processors are comparable) and can produce a noticeable reduction in speed for the end user.

    Software doesn't tend to freeze, software won't perform or behave any differently to fat-client systems. If you have certain software which freezes that could illustrate a fault with that software and running it on thin-clients won't fix that. Thin-Clients are not suited to software which demands high performance sound and graphics. What we suggest is make savings by using thin-clients for the majority of your suites and then with the savings made there go out and build a high end suite of computers, printers etc and do the graphics and sound in luxary.

    Our older systems which are due to be refreshed with faster server hardware have started to struggle with some Flash based web-sites, oddly some very complex Flash applications have very little impact on the servers, however others take a large amount of processor time per session - anyone can write poor software which uses more processor time and memory than it needs to, and this seems to be reasonably common with Flash based code. Luckily multiple core processor servers are common place and that has helped reduce/remove the effects of such problem Flash code.

    Initial installation of a whole new system, ie new servers, new clients, monitors etc including licences and installation (ie all engineer time/support etc) is roughly equal to the purchase cost of new PC systems and a suitable number of servers for a typical PC system.

    Retaining fat-clients that would need to be replaced but instead are being retained to run as thin-clients is far far cheaper and then allows a school to start a rolling replacement of the old clients with new smaller, quieter thin-clients. This is an ideal solution for a school having to replace a large number of old PC systems.

    On going support costs are much reduced, repairs in the classroom can be cut down to simply swapping out a client within five minutes and client failures are less common. The real time savings are with software and configuration management - this can be done entirely remotely and so a school can if they wish delegate support to an external company such as ours.

    We have many reference sites around the UK, mostly in the South, Midlands and Cambridgeshire. It is worth seeing one in action, and getting proper consultancy, we've had to repair many poor installations over the years by both keen technicians and more worryingly competitors, so do look at reference sites who have been running with a supplier for several years.

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    Agree with much of what neil says.

    Modern quad core servers are at least 4x more powerful than older single core Xeon's and getting soo much more powerful every day.

    I have a dual single core Xeon 3.6 system thats two years old now and can very often struggle if a class of 20 are using flash websites - I've seen 100% cpu usage often with averages of over 50 - neil is right, some flash websites are very badly programmed and can use 10% cpu per client!

    The same class of 20 on one of our Dual Quad Core 2.5 systems barely even manage to breech 15% cpu usage with an average of about 5%.

    So basically, don't expect great results on older server hardware.

    As for Citrix / Sun Ray etc - I think if your experimenting with thin client it is perfectly feisible to buy one server and just use standard win2k3/win2k8 terminal services on it. It will give you a good idea of how thin client's can work for very little outlay. If you then like what you see you can jump in at the deep end with Citrix and SUN.

    One thing to take note of is that in terms of multimedia performance on a vanilla terminal server setup (without Cirix/Sun's clever multimedia software optimisations) - it's the thin client device that is all important. If you use something like a HP T5135 then multimedia performance will be very poor with not even youtube clips able to play without singificant breakup. On the other hand, if you use one of the newer breed multimedia clients such as Axel M80f you will be able to play youtube clips all day long with no breakup, and even full screen video can be attempted with a small amount of jerkyness/breakup. The M80f is a breakthrough in my eyes as you get very acceptible multimedia performance on video, flash websites for at least 1/4 of the price of other powerful thin clients from HP/wyse etc.

    Also - if you are a vanilla terminal server site (like me) and have multiple servers with no load balancing set up - have a look at 2x Software Loadbalancer. It's a work of genius, install the 2x server software on a Win2k3 or above server, install the tiny 2x client software onto each terminal server, add all terminal servers into a load balancing group - hep presto all your TS's are load balanced in real time based on CPU/RAM/Network. I have trialed it here on the 30 day trial available and it works a treat, I woud go so far as to say it's the best kept secret for Vanilla TS users. OF course, it aint Citrix, but for £500 for 4 servers or £800 for 8 servers with no extra client licences needed - it's in a whole different cost league to Citrix.

    Now that we are looking to expand usage past 100 clients and 2/3 servers I am looking seriously at Sun Ray and Citrix Presentation Server. So far sun Ray is in the lead as it is platform agnostic and can run on top of Vanilla Windows, Citrix, Linux.

    Butuz

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    I am a BIG fan of XenApp from Citrix. The load balancing and management features are great. This is totally different to XenDesktop though and serves a different purpose - for you I think that XenApp is a better fit.

    However, I have recently been looking into Sun Ray. The price differential is HUGE and the features are almost comparable. I am even looking to use Sun Ray clients as XenApp clients simply due to cost.

    I recommend talking to Cutter because they will give you several options - although slightly biased towards the Sun solutions because they are that good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ric_ View Post
    I am a BIG fan of XenApp from Citrix. The load balancing and management features are great.
    Agree. Never had a problem with XenApp.

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