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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Atom/Win 7/TS Remote Programs in Technical; I've a bit of money to upgrade our computer lab (primary school). Currently there are 17 workstations: Windows 98 machines, ...
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    Atom/Win 7/TS Remote Programs

    I've a bit of money to upgrade our computer lab (primary school). Currently there are 17 workstations: Windows 98 machines, with RDP client in startup, and four Igel thin clients. We're using Server 2003 r2. Most of what goes on in here is web-browsing (Firefox) and word processing (OpenOffice).

    The prices of thin clients seem to be about the same as Atom PCs which are capable of running Windows 7. I was impressed with the Acer Aspire Revo (admittedly, I haven't looked around much) which comes with Nvidia Ion graphics so video will not be an issue at all, whereas in our current setup it's the most glaring drawback.

    Our server is a dual quad core Xeon 1.6 with 4GB ram. It's used for Terminal Services during the day, has a 1.5TB drive for backing up our DC/fileserver and I run virtual machines on it for testing. I'm thinking of fitting the room with Atom PCs, running web-browsing locally, and letting TS Remote Programs keep us future-proof for a while. I'll move the four Igel thin clients into a classroom and continue running them as regular RDP sessions.

    We're planning to buy MS Office licenses very soon for all our computers. This will probably be the heaviest thing running initally.

    With TS Remote Programs, it seems one must log onto the local computer and then again when accessing the application. There is an option to save credentials, will this make the RDP logon transparent after it has been completed once? Or will Network Level Authentication take care of it all?

    So, any advice?
    Last edited by BBrian; 3rd March 2010 at 06:07 PM.

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    Butuz's Avatar
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    You seem to be happy with using a Terminal Server and RDP for your workstations - if current performance is good (i.e. your server is happy) and all you are planning to do is move from OpenOffice to MS Office (this should improve performance as MS Office is faster than Open Office) then I would recommend you use "get rid of the middle man" (Atoms) and use zero/thin clients such as the Axel M80f.

    These can be set to boot from DHCP and immediately connect to your terminal server, thus eliminating the problems you have with users getting confused with RDP and local machine logons and also speeding up the whole process no end.

    The Axel M80f's can happily handle large screens, animated flash shockwave and youtube video etc. The question really is: Is your old(‘ish) terminal server going to be up to the job in a year or three's time, when you may have more apps installed, and more thin clients around the school?

    Butuz

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    Quote Originally Posted by BBrian View Post
    The prices of thin clients seem to be about the same as Atom PCs which are capable of running Windows 7.
    If they're the same price then you really might as well get the Atom PCs, then you can swap around how you use them if you want. If you're getting machines with Windows 7 on, make sure you're getting a corporate/"pro" version that can be joined to a domain, not the home version.

    I understood Server 2008 Remote Apps could make an RDP session look exactly like a local window, complete with authentication handled seemlesly behind the scenes (assuming the user is logged on to the client with a domain account).

    I'm aiming for Linux-based network-booting clients running a web browser locally and connecting to a TS server to run MS Office. I think the latest release of LTSP looks like it can do this quite nicely, although I haven't investigated this properly yet.

    --
    David Hicks

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    The Atom based PCs run Office 2007 fine and are good with 7, my media centre runs 7 on an Atom 330 with an ION chipset flawlessly.

    You can make it remember the credentials for remote apps but it is a per user setting so must be done on each account. You can do this from the command prompt like this if you have the passwords:

    cmdkey /generic:ipofserver /user:domain\username /pass:yourpass

    RDP-Authentication not working for RemoteApp

    But you can just use single sign on if they are all on the same domain and under the same user accounts:

    RemoteApp Single Sign On (SSO) from a Windows 7 client

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    Quote Originally Posted by Butuz View Post
    You seem to be happy with using a Terminal Server and RDP for your workstations - if current performance is good (i.e. your server is happy) and all you are planning to do is move from OpenOffice to MS Office (this should improve performance as MS Office is faster than Open Office) then I would recommend you use "get rid of the middle man" (Atoms) and use zero/thin clients such as the Axel M80f.

    These can be set to boot from DHCP and immediately connect to your terminal server, thus eliminating the problems you have with users getting confused with RDP and local machine logons and also speeding up the whole process no end.

    The Axel M80f's can happily handle large screens, animated flash shockwave and youtube video etc. The question really is: Is your old(‘ish) terminal server going to be up to the job in a year or three's time, when you may have more apps installed, and more thin clients around the school?
    From researching, it seems very few Thin Clients support RDP 7. The M80f's website only mentions RDP 5. I think, while upgrading, we should be buying hardware that supports the latest technology.

    I also figure that running TS Remote Programs will result in a lower load on the TS and give it a bit more life.


    After reading your posts, and researching some more, I'm going to start looking at devices for the Atom setup in the lab and then I'll use Remote Programs to extend the life of computers outside the lab.

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    Axel

    Quote Originally Posted by BBrian View Post
    From researching, it seems very few Thin Clients support RDP 7. The M80f's website only mentions RDP 5. I think, while upgrading, we should be buying hardware that supports the latest technology.

    I also figure that running TS Remote Programs will result in a lower load on the TS and give it a bit more life.


    After reading your posts, and researching some more, I'm going to start looking at devices for the Atom setup in the lab and then I'll use Remote Programs to extend the life of computers outside the lab.
    Hi Brian,

    I wish you luck with your Atom devices - but I do need to correct the comment above for others who may read this post. Axel are probably unique in that we write our own RDP client in machine code, and embed directly in the hardware. As such we don't follow the Microsoft revision numbers. Rather we look at functions and features and develop the features that are appropriate to thin clients. As such our RDP client does not fall exactly within any of the RDP revisions.

    RDP7 is without question a very interesting prospect for TCs, but today it requires either
    Windows7 or XP SP3, both of which require much more hardware than most thin clients contain, and
    the few thin clients that can support XP SP3 tend to be very high end, and probably cost more than a PC.

    If you are looking to spend IRO of £200/£300+ for a device - I would agree, a low end PC in that price range may be interesting compared to an XP based thin client of same spec - ultimately they are very similar machines, one provides more flexibilty, the other less administration...

    However the M80 is around half this cost, uses a faction the power, is silent, requires almost zero local administration, can be securely attached to monitor - and key, would probably provide a higher performance RDP connection...

    (One final point - the M80 is currently covered by a 5 year warranty - I am not sure what the life expectancy of a mini PC is...)

    The thin client v PC debate has been covered elsewhere so I won't dwell on it here - but will happily answer any questions....



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