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Thin Client and Virtual Machines Thread, Thin Clients - project for secondary school in Technical; Hi, My school has 400+ Dell machines running XP. At least 80% of the machines are out of warranty. Many ...
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    Thin Clients - project for secondary school

    Hi,

    My school has 400+ Dell machines running XP. At least 80% of the machines are out of warranty. Many of them are 4+ years old. We have a couple of issues; we don't have the money to start replacing 100's of machines and if we were to move to Windows 7 I don't think all of our machines would be capable of running it.

    We are starting to look at Thin Client solutions. Initially using our old machines as thin client terminals, to save .

    All our servers are virtualised, we are running VMware and we have the capacity to add more servers.

    We've spoken to a few companies and we are being told different things regarding price, software and licensing. One guy, who we trust was assuring us that costs had dropped dramatically over the last couple of years. I seem to recall he was suggesting a Linux based solution. Unfortunately he has left the country to pursue his career.

    Ideally, we would like students and staff to be able to access a remote desktop from home.

    I don't expect anyone to wave a magic wand and drop a solution into my lap but I'm interested in your opinions and suggestions, especially from anyone who has had a tackle a problem of similar size.

    Cheers from the Cap'n!!!

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    Hi
    We are also looking the same kind of solution. There is no ready solution there yet but there are workaround. I am planing a head to test tow solutions. One is with Microsoft multipoint Server, host it as virtual and user can connect it remotely. How it will work no idea yet?

    Second I have seen Wyse small device which boot on network with linux console and they said can be used with MS Multipoint Server.

    Let me know if you found something.

    Thanks

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    Netman's Avatar
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    We've just added a virtual Windows Multipoint Server to our VMWare setup for testing and the performance using older clients to access is impressive - if you're on EES licensing it shouldn't work out too expensive either I think... you can use Windows 7 Thin PC on the clients and run an RDP session to the Multipoint server. Our older clients are faster and more responsive doing this than having a full local install of Windows 7 Pro.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Netman View Post
    We've just added a virtual Windows Multipoint Server to our VMWare setup for testing and the performance using older clients to access is impressive - if you're on EES licensing it shouldn't work out too expensive either I think... you can use Windows 7 Thin PC on the clients and run an RDP session to the Multipoint server. Our older clients are faster and more responsive doing this than having a full local install of Windows 7 Pro.
    Hi would you like to share some more info, I have not started yet but I have few questions.

    How you are managing the sound, usbs, printing etc with rdp. Is windows 7 Thin require different licence if we already have windows 7 pro.

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    Netman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RCS_USER View Post
    Hi would you like to share some more info, I have not started yet but I have few questions.

    How you are managing the sound, usbs, printing etc with rdp. Is windows 7 Thin require different licence if we already have windows 7 pro.
    With RDP you can pass through sound, usb and printing - all in options on the rdp client. The technology that improves the graphics experience for the end user is called RemoteFX - more here: Microsoft's RemoteFX is fab - but will it play Crysis? ? The Register It does look very good compared to my previous Terminal Services sessions experience. For example, windowed streaming video on half a dozen clients is fine - even full screen on a couple maybe, but it buckled for us when running multiple full screen video clients. Early days of our testing though... ymmv.

    As for licensing, Thin PC is a software assurance benefit I think, so depends on what MS licensing agreements you have in place now. You would need to buy the Multipoint server licence(s) and CALs as necessary. My brief investigation so far has led me to believe that these may be around 50 and 13 each respectively on EES - but I've not checked that...

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    Give Cutter Project @linescanner or @kmount a shout. They're excellent people who do this sort of thing and have got a lot of experience with VDI and RDS.

  7. Thanks to Duke from:

    linescanner (27th February 2012)

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    Hi, thanks for your replies. We are still talking to a few companies, all of them suggesting different things - a pure RDP solution, an RDP/VDI hybrid, a pure VDI... I don't yet fully understand the ins and outs of it all as yet.

    I have concerns; we don't use a lot of software packages but things like movie maker can be heavily used at certain times of the year. Also our staff are prone to software fads, someone finds some software on the web (last year it was Photo Story) that they become enthusiastic about and before the day is out every member of staff wants to use it.

    I accept that thin clients might not always workable for some software (digital studios etc) but I need a solution that enables me to say 'yes' more than 'no' to staff requests (the Head hates it when I say no!)

    I'm really interested to know what other schools of a similar size have done, what solutions they have adopted, what kind of experiences they have had etc.

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    We have 5 servers running Hyper V on each along with a gateway server.
    This lot serves our Remote Access facility and our 10Zig thin clients.
    Quite a few teething troubles but all working well now.

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    There's a lot to be said in terms of running a pure RDP solution. I am a big fan - have been running RDP thin clients since 2007. Now have over 100 thin clients here running across 3.5 servers and we may expand usage over the next couple of years.

    Firstly let’s get back to basics. A pure RDP thin client system can deliver BIG cost savings, starting with less tech support time required, lower initial cost of hardware, lower hardware refresh costs (or refresh less often) and significantly lower energy usage. As long as you specify fit for purpose Thin Client units and well thought out back end servers / networking they can be easily used day in day out in ICT rooms for a large majority of user needs. There are some things they struggle with, heavy graphics editing (large Photoshop files), sound editing and video editing. Some of these problems can be addressed somewhat by buying better hardware, e.g more powerful thin clients, more powerful servers, or appending extra software onto the server for advanced load balancing, but this type of heavy use defiantly erodes the cost savings we could otherwise achieve.

    As soon as you start looking at VDI type systems, you start to lose out on all of the cost savings in terms of simplicity of setting up (tech support time) more software / licences needed (e.g citrix or the like) more server capacity needed and more energy use so significantly reduced cost savings year on year compared to RDP. In fact I’d go so far as to say I would be willing to bet that if you worked out to the penny all of the costs involved in setting up and running of a full force VDI system it wouldn’t work out hardly (if any) cheaper in purchase costs or refesh costs compared traditional fat clients. Only possible benefit being reduced management / tech support time once the system is set up and running smooth. Overall I am not such a big fan.

    Of course the other option is traditional fat clients. Still a very compelling argument for fat clients. Based on modern fat client technology (e.g my Dell Optiplex 790 with sandy bridge 2.6ghz dual core) fat clients now use some ~35watts average as opposed to 80-100watts of just a few years ago. Moving to new tech such as this instantly provides significant cost savings in terms of electricity. They’re pretty darn fast too for a 300 unit and can be used from simple internet browsing to full on video editing if needed. These new style fat clients have eroded the energy / poor advantage of RDP thin client set ups quite significantly. So fat clients remain supremely flexible and still fairly cheap to run.

    I’d think seriously before going down the thin client / rdp route. Also DO NOT jump without properly demoing and planning both systems. You don’t want to end up in a situation where the new system you’ve spent tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds on simply doesn’t do all it needs to do and ends up not fit for purpose. That does happen and has happened on here (admittedly usually with BSF/Academy type imposed systems).

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    Quote Originally Posted by AButters View Post
    There's a lot to be said in terms of running a pure RDP solution. I am a big fan - have been running RDP thin clients since 2007. Now have over 100 thin clients here running across 3.5 servers and we may expand usage over the next couple of years.

    Firstly let’s get back to basics. A pure RDP thin client system can deliver BIG cost savings, starting with less tech support time required, lower initial cost of hardware, lower hardware refresh costs (or refresh less often) and significantly lower energy usage. As long as you specify fit for purpose Thin Client units and well thought out back end servers / networking they can be easily used day in day out in ICT rooms for a large majority of user needs. There are some things they struggle with, heavy graphics editing (large Photoshop files), sound editing and video editing. Some of these problems can be addressed somewhat by buying better hardware, e.g more powerful thin clients, more powerful servers, or appending extra software onto the server for advanced load balancing, but this type of heavy use defiantly erodes the cost savings we could otherwise achieve.

    As soon as you start looking at VDI type systems, you start to lose out on all of the cost savings in terms of simplicity of setting up (tech support time) more software / licences needed (e.g citrix or the like) more server capacity needed and more energy use so significantly reduced cost savings year on year compared to RDP. In fact I’d go so far as to say I would be willing to bet that if you worked out to the penny all of the costs involved in setting up and running of a full force VDI system it wouldn’t work out hardly (if any) cheaper in purchase costs or refesh costs compared traditional fat clients. Only possible benefit being reduced management / tech support time once the system is set up and running smooth. Overall I am not such a big fan.

    Of course the other option is traditional fat clients. Still a very compelling argument for fat clients. Based on modern fat client technology (e.g my Dell Optiplex 790 with sandy bridge 2.6ghz dual core) fat clients now use some ~35watts average as opposed to 80-100watts of just a few years ago. Moving to new tech such as this instantly provides significant cost savings in terms of electricity. They’re pretty darn fast too for a 300 unit and can be used from simple internet browsing to full on video editing if needed. These new style fat clients have eroded the energy / poor advantage of RDP thin client set ups quite significantly. So fat clients remain supremely flexible and still fairly cheap to run.

    I’d think seriously before going down the thin client / rdp route. Also DO NOT jump without properly demoing and planning both systems. You don’t want to end up in a situation where the new system you’ve spent tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds on simply doesn’t do all it needs to do and ends up not fit for purpose. That does happen and has happened on here (admittedly usually with BSF/Academy type imposed systems).
    Our problem is that we have to move to Windows 7 and due to not having any kind of upgrade policy, a lot of our 500 machines (all Dell) probably wont run Win 7 too good (I don't even think there are Win 7 drivers for a lot of them). Fat clients, at these numbers + Win 7 licenses... that would be a huge cost.

    We are looking at all options and pure RDP does seem cheap(er), I'm just weary that it might not meet all our needs, especially in the future.

    'DO NOT jump without properly demoing and planning' = excellent advice!

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    Not sure if this is exactly what you are looking for, but it could provision old machines to work either with VDI or TS/RDS.
    We are using VDI. Microsoft version. Server 2008R2, Connection Broker, Remote Web Access, (installed not used for out of district stuff yet.)
    I'm using APP-V to deliver applications to the VDI VM's. The VM's are pooled and all differencing disks to a master.

    RDP Thinclient setup is were I posted how I connect and "kinda" lock down the stations for ease of use.

    Hope this helps.....

    d

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