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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Thin Client Advice in Technical; Hi guys, I'm looking at thin clients at the moment, as a possible solution for a department (so looking at ...
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    Thin Client Advice

    Hi guys,

    I'm looking at thin clients at the moment, as a possible solution for a department (so looking at about 30 pcs). Just have a few questions as i've no experience of thin clients and need to feed back to ass. head.

    My understanding is that thin client boots in to Windows CE then creates terminal services session to server (or network boots via PXE into term services). Is this correct? Does the user have to create the terminal services connection themselves or is it automatic?

    Obviously the demand on the server will be quite big, especially if 30 users all logged on and ran MS office, what sort of spec server should run that without too many problems? Are there many issues with bandwidth? or would you suggest storing the server nearby, plugged into same switch.

    What licensing issues arise? For example if i install Office 2003 on the server, would i need one license? or would i need licenses for all the sessions?

    Thanks in advance!

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    Re: Thin Client Advice

    * You set the session up on your terminals so they just have to click and logon.

    * You dont have to get window CE ones as their are linux based ones which are virtually the same.

    * You will still need a licence for each end machine or session.

    * Bandwidth shouldnt be an issue as long as you have a decent backbone. It doesnt use up as much bandwidth as you would imagine as all ti is sending is screen refreshes and keyboard/mouse updates.

    * For spec RAM is more important than anything. Look for Dual Processors and 3 gig + ram will be good enough for 30 users so Ric tells me.

    Anymore questions your best asking Ric_ he will happily chat over the phone to you.

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    Re: Thin Client Advice

    My understanding is that thin client boots in to Windows CE then creates terminal services session to server (or network boots via PXE into term services). Is this correct? Does the user have to create the terminal services connection themselves or is it automatic?
    If everything setup correctly, the user will end up at the 'Press CTRL-ALT-DEL to login' screen without having to do anything other than turn the thin client on.

    Obviously the demand on the server will be quite big, especially if 30 users all logged on and ran MS office, what sort of spec server should run that without too many problems?
    Pretty beefy, we're looking at dual processor opterons with 4Gb of ram per 30 clients.

    Are there many issues with bandwidth? or would you suggest storing the server nearby, plugged into same switch.
    A 1gbit backbone to link your servers up to your main switches. Individual clients are fine on 100mbit or even wireless (if you manage it right).

    What licensing issues arise? For example if i install Office 2003 on the server, would i need one license? or would i need licenses for all the sessions?
    You need one license per device, so for a room full of 30 thin clients you'll need 30 licenses. Just the same as normal fat clients basically.

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    Re: Thin Client Advice

    Thanks for the quick response. If we had linux ones, would the still connect to server 2003 without any problems?

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    Re: Thin Client Advice

    Yes, it works fine (at least for the HP ones Ric has). Plus they work out a bit cheaper.

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    Re: Thin Client Advice

    I use pxe linux and thinstation. There is a Thinstation Image Builder that creates the whole config for you online. Just find a tftp server to run on windows, change a few dhcp settings and bingo. Make sure you put the ip address of the server you want to connect to in the thinstation config file BEFORE you build it because I have problems if I dont.

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    Re: Thin Client Advice

    Thats a new thing for thinstation since I looked a while ago. That should make it alot easier for some people to experiment thanks for that.

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    Re: Thin Client Advice

    So the thin station image will run on any pc thats set to network boot?
    Where can I buy small diskless computers for cheap! Most of the ones i've seen have an embedded OS on them.

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    Re: Thin Client Advice

    Mix of Thinstation and Wyse WinCE here - mostly Thinstation though.
    The Thinstation clients are a lot easier to manage and are generally problem free. Thinstation is very configurable, and allows connection to different types of thinclient server (Citrix/FreeNX/RDP/SSH/SUN).
    The Winterms do odd things like loose their machine names and the security provision is next to useless- these are a few yrs old so newer ones may be better?.

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    Re: Thin Client Advice

    A minor thing, but don't forget you'll need terminal server CALs as well as your usual Server CALs. I think they're about 11 quid each (IIRC).

    Andy

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    Re: Thin Client Advice

    you don't nessesarily need PXE enabled network cards - you can use a flash ROM or HDD that has the PXE bios on it to boot from PXE. detail on thinstation website IIRC.

    We use Mini-ITX systems for thinclients, these people are very good prices:
    http://www.icp-epia.co.uk/

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    Re: Thin Client Advice

    I'm phasing out my Thinstation machines as I can afford 'proper' terminals. The HP Linux-based termnals are solid-state devices and cost approx. £130 each. These can be managed with Altiris Deployment Solution - licenses for which come with the thin client device!

    I would advise against purchasing WinCE or XPe based clients within a school since they are more difficult to configure and don't give any real advantage unless a particular piece of locally attached hardware requires that OS. You may as well save the OS licensing cost.

    There has been a number of people asking about thin clients recently and I will produce a document outlining the basics, recommended specs and the like. If there are any specifics that people would like included, please PM me and I'll try to include a Q&A/FAQ.

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    Re: Thin Client Advice

    @ ric - whats the advantage of proper terminals other than the £11.50 cal ?
    ITX are still cheaper, are easy to fix and have more 'potential' for semi-thin clients etc

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    Re: Thin Client Advice

    and with the mini-itx + PXE bootable minimyth, you can convert them to mythtv front-ends for parents evening

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    Re: Thin Client Advice

    ..or change the PXE image to boot DSL
    http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/talk/node/248

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