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Windows Server 2008 R2 Thread, Hardware requirements for Terminal Server in Technical; Hello All, Does anyone know how many Terminal Services clients I can realisticly expect to connect to a half-decent server? ...
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    Hardware requirements for Terminal Server

    Hello All,

    Does anyone know how many Terminal Services clients I can realisticly expect to connect to a half-decent server? For instance, if I bought a number of Dell T105 servers with a 2.7GHz quad-core Opteron 1385 processor, 8GB of RAM and maybe a 10,000 RPM harddrive each (so around £800 per server), how many clients running MS Office 2007 / 2010 would be able to connect to each server at one time? I'm just trying to get a rough idea of costs to give to the Bursar so she has some kind of idea how much this sort of thing might cost.

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    user count

    Hi David

    I would say roughly around 16, this would allow half gig per user , which would be ok.

    Please let me know if you need any additional info or assistance.

    Thanks

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    dhicks (18th January 2010)

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    Quote Originally Posted by egraves View Post
    I would say roughly around 16, this would allow half gig per user, which would be ok.
    Right-oh, thanks. You reckon RAM is the deciding factor as to how many users I can fit per server, then? 16 users per server is a bit small (I'd need 6 servers, 6X£800 = around £5,000, plus Windows Server license for each server (£100)), so maybe I should look at servers that can take more RAM.

    The chap on the Dell sales-chat facility reckons that a Dell PowerEdge T710 with 2 quad-core Xeon E5504 processors, 16GB of RAM and dual network cards (around £2,000) would handle 100 simultanious users okay - he reckoned the deciding factor would be how much network bandwidith each user used in operation (hence the dual network card bit). He also said "you can add more servers as neccesary", which rather implies he's simply guessing. If two of those servers would cover 100 users then that's okay, but more than that is starting to get expensive.

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    Depending on usage if it is just regular Office usage then you may well fit more on than that. Windows itself should use about 512mb, 80MB per user of profile and system stuff then a couple of hundred for Office (300mb rounded) 7500/300 = 25 light users max.

    The bandwidth is not really the issue as RDP uses stuff all, you would fit more than 1000 users on a proppery optimized 1GB nic, it is more the extra latency of getting queued up on the one network card.

    Flash will kill a terminal server due to its rubbish codeing so loots of users on youtube would kill it but basic office usage you should be good to about 20 users. Heavy stuff with loads of images in publisher will bog it down quicker though especially given the limited cores avalible.

    In the end it depends on your intended usage pattern as to how many hosts will fit, an optimized system running very few things and just light office usage may even manage 30 but that is probably about as far as it would go.

    Edit:
    The new Xeon series with HT would probably help as that would scale to 16 cores of a 2 CPU setup which gives you much more threads to share about, 32GB of RAM and it would support plenty of clients.

    Oh and the bandwidth usage changes massivly if they are intending to pull lots of video.

    Edit 2: I'd recommend the bigger servers personally
    Last edited by SYNACK; 18th January 2010 at 06:12 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    7500/300 = 25 light users max.
    Okay, thanks.

    Flash will kill a terminal server due to its rubbish codeing so loots of users on youtube would kill it
    No worries there - I'm figuring out what kind of hardware we'd need to just run MS Office over Terminal Services, with Linux-based workstations running the web browsers and RDP clients. The main issue is that we are still running MS Office 2003 at the moment, and at some point we might want to have an up-to-date version. After talking to Microsoft at BETT, it seems that the Office 2010 Beta is out now and the full version will be releasd around June or July, so handily in time for installation over summer, so I want to start figuring out now what we want to do.

    The new Xeon series with HT would probably help as that would scale to 16 cores of a 2 CPU setup which gives you much more threads to share about, 32GB of RAM and it would support plenty of clients.
    Thanks, I'll bear that in mind.

    I'd recommend the bigger servers personally
    Yep, makes sense - I don't think we're going to get away with cheap stuff here...

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    when i looked into this, we where looking at an HP dl380 g5 single/dual quad xeon and 16gb ram per classroom (roughly 30/31 pc's) so basicly what everyone else has said, but would defo go with dual network card maybe teamed to give 2gb connection

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    Quote Originally Posted by tobyglenn View Post
    single/dual quad xeon and 16gb ram per classroom (roughly 30/31 pc's) so basicly what everyone else has said, but would defo go with dual network card maybe teamed to give 2gb connection
    Right: so I'm looking at Dell's website, not really because I'm thinking of actually buying a Dell server, but just to get an idea of pricing. I'm looking at their PowerEdge 410 server as I can't see what performance difference there'd be between that and the more expensive 610 and 710 - anyone know?

    I can equip the server with, say, two Intel Xeon 5504 2GHz processors. For some reason there is no difference in price between the 1.86GHz version and the 2GHz version - anyone know why? The price starts to climb more steeply the higher the clock speed, adding up to another £740 (X2) for the 2.8GHz Xeon 5560. Is there any advantage to having a faster processor clock speed on a terminal services machine, or is it not worth the bother (and extra money)?

    Then I can equip the server with RAM. 8X2GB of 1333MHz UDIMM RAM is the cheapest 16GB option, but am I correct in thinking this is also the fastest? I could buy more expensive RAM RDIMMs that run at 1066MHz, or start getting in to silly money for higher-density sticks of RAM - 8X16GB RDIMMs for £15,000 or, for some reason, 6X16GB RDIMMs for £17,000 - but that UDIMM RAM would seem to be faster and, split accross more RAM slots, would have more available bandwidth. Is that correct?

    Is there any real advantage in bothering that much about the disk performance of this machine? Is it worth setting up a hardware RAID-1 array to increase performance? The users' file storage will be stored on a separate server, so all the local disk has to do is load the OS and MS Office in to memory. I'm not even that bothered about redundancy - this effectively a workstation machine, and we would buy two of them anyway, so if a disk breaks we can just make do with one until we swap a new disk in the other.

    Should I instead concentrate on networking performance? I could buy two or three extra PCI-express slot network cards, giving up to four network interfaces in total. Can I / should I dedicate, in some way, two network interfaces to RDP and two to storage? Is this possible / easy to do in Windows Server 2008 R2?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Right: so I'm looking at Dell's website, not really because I'm thinking of actually buying a Dell server, but just to get an idea of pricing. I'm looking at their PowerEdge 410 server as I can't see what performance difference there'd be between that and the more expensive 610 and 710 - anyone know?
    The 710 has 4 NICs instead of 2 and more RAM slots, it is also 2U instead of 1U which means it has more IO slots for addinc Nics or other hardware. It also has more room for hard drives and more space for better cooling.
    http://www.dell.com/downloads/global...0-specs-en.pdf
    http://www.dell.com/downloads/global...0-specs-en.pdf
    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    I can equip the server with, say, two Intel Xeon 5504 2GHz processors. For some reason there is no difference in price between the 1.86GHz version and the 2GHz version - anyone know why? The price starts to climb more steeply the higher the clock speed, adding up to another £740 (X2) for the 2.8GHz Xeon 5560. Is there any advantage to having a faster processor clock speed on a terminal services machine, or is it not worth the bother (and extra money)?
    The difference is the product lines, the 1.8ghz one will be the low power one which produces less heat and costs less to run. More clockspeed will help but only to a point, might be an idea to go a bit faster than 2GHz for a little extra capacity but I would look for the best speed for value deal rather than grabbing the top of the line one.
    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Then I can equip the server with RAM. 8X2GB of 1333MHz UDIMM RAM is the cheapest 16GB option, but am I correct in thinking this is also the fastest? I could buy more expensive RAM RDIMMs that run at 1066MHz, or start getting in to silly money for higher-density sticks of RAM - 8X16GB RDIMMs for £15,000 or, for some reason, 6X16GB RDIMMs for £17,000 - but that UDIMM RAM would seem to be faster and, split accross more RAM slots, would have more available bandwidth. Is that correct?
    It depends on the architecture of the system, the newer xeons (I think) take tripple channel RAM so the chips should be in multiples of three. If it is structured right then yes the more chips the greater the systems ability to split the load between them and the better speed but in future any upgrades may mean ripping out some ram to make space for the new stuff. I would go for the 1333mhz stuff as it allows for a bit better throughput.
    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Is there any real advantage in bothering that much about the disk performance of this machine? Is it worth setting up a hardware RAID-1 array to increase performance? The users' file storage will be stored on a separate server, so all the local disk has to do is load the OS and MS Office in to memory. I'm not even that bothered about redundancy - this effectively a workstation machine, and we would buy two of them anyway, so if a disk breaks we can just make do with one until we swap a new disk in the other.
    It is worth going with an alright disk system, if you are using 2008 r2 then slightly less so if you have lots of RAM but there will still be stuff loaded from the local drive. Raid1 would not increase performance anyway, you would need to look at Raid 0 or Raid 1+0 using two or four drives for a speed increase that way. I would suggest adding the usual RAID controller battery backed cache option and Raid1 for better reliability and extra speed. The cache will help lots with longer disk request queues caused by multiple users hitting it at the same time. It als makes it much more expandable and useful in future.
    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Should I instead concentrate on networking performance? I could buy two or three extra PCI-express slot network cards, giving up to four network interfaces in total. Can I / should I dedicate, in some way, two network interfaces to RDP and two to storage? Is this possible / easy to do in Windows Server 2008 R2?
    I would be looking at having four NICs total so the 710 or 610 with a DP card. I am unaware of a way to dediacte storage to just a couple of the cards short of accessing it via iSCSI from a SAN or having a seporate IP link to the storage server with all of the traffic redirectedd to it via a name resolution override in the HOSTS file on the TS server.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    The 710 has 4 NICs instead of 2 and more RAM slots
    Ah yes, I see, thanks. Reading up on RDIMM vs. UDIMM, it would seem that UDIMMs would be more appropriate here - we don't need extra-special reliability, this is just a terminal services machine. The 610 and 710 can take 24GB of RDIMM RAM, which is something to bear in mind, I guess - like you say, spend a bit more on a couple of slightly faster processors, get 24GB of RAM instead of 16GB, and maybe the machine can support an extra half-dozen users at a time.

    Raid1 would not increase performance anyway
    Why not - I thought it would increase read performance (two disks to alternate read requests between)?

    The cache will help lots with longer disk request queues caused by multiple users hitting it at the same time.
    Good point. How does Windows Server 2008 R2 handle applications running under Terminal Services - if all people are running is MS Office, does the server only need to keep one copy in RAM and make a thread for each additional user? If that's the case, an all people are running is MS Office, then is there really all that much for the disk to do?

    I would be looking at having four NICs total so the 710 or 610 with a DP card.
    The 410 has two built-in network ports and enough room for five more single-port network cards plugged in via PCI Express. Is there any performance advantage between having dual-port network cards or separate network cards?

    a seporate IP link to the storage server with all of the traffic redirectedd to it via a name resolution override in the HOSTS file on the TS server.
    That's what I was thinking - just stick a cable direct between the Terminal Server and the storage server.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Ah yes, I see, thanks. Reading up on RDIMM vs. UDIMM, it would seem that UDIMMs would be more appropriate here - we don't need extra-special reliability, this is just a terminal services machine. The 610 and 710 can take 24GB of RDIMM RAM, which is something to bear in mind, I guess - like you say, spend a bit more on a couple of slightly faster processors, get 24GB of RAM instead of 16GB, and maybe the machine can support an extra half-dozen users at a time.
    Thats the general idea, the RDIMMs just allow you to use more Ram chips at a time without browning out the servers PSU.

    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Why not - I thought it would increase read performance (two disks to alternate read requests between)?
    Depends on the read and the controller, if it is a larger read and the controller implements it properly it can make for a faster read but writes will be slower. A good medium ground is using RAID 1+0 on two disks if your controller supports it which stripes and mirrors alternatly on the disks. This adds slightly better performance gains while using the same space and number of disks as plain RAID1. It is still much slower than a full implementation of either RAID0 or RAID1+0 on 4 or more disks.

    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Good point. How does Windows Server 2008 R2 handle applications running under Terminal Services - if all people are running is MS Office, does the server only need to keep one copy in RAM and make a thread for each additional user? If that's the case, an all people are running is MS Office, then is there really all that much for the disk to do?
    Each process is isolated per user in TS so each will be its own copy for security and stability reasons. The idea with Server 2008 and more ram is to have enough so that the prefetch cach has room to buffer all the stuff you need to memory mostly taking the disk system out of the usage equation. As windows does copy profiels etc to a temp directory and put docs into the local file system while they are being worked on though there is still stuff for the disks to do. I would be looking at minimum RAID1+0 on two disks, prefferably with the extra cache so that it could be retasked if nessisary. In my opinion the price of a single extra drive is worth the lack of hassle from a faulting drive. No reinstall, no downtime, far less stress etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    The 410 has two built-in network ports and enough room for five more single-port network cards plugged in via PCI Express. Is there any performance advantage between having dual-port network cards or separate network cards?
    If your on PCIe there is no real difference in performance, I just like the DP cards as they again leave more space in the chassie for airflow and expantion, also they are generally quite close to the same price as two single port cards and you can sometimes get useful features like HBA (for accelerated iSCSI) thrown in on a DP card that is extra on a single port.

    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    That's what I was thinking - just stick a cable direct between the Terminal Server and the storage server.
    Yeap, if you are having multiple TS servers then I would look at adding another DP NIC (or two server grade single ports) to your file server and pipeing these to a seporate VLAN as a 2GB trunk. Then connect the TS servers in the same way to the VLAN and make sure it is on a seporate IP range. Then in each of the TS servers alter the hosts file to override the fileserver name to the storage network IP of the fileserver. That way whenever the TS servers attempt to access a resource they will use the Storage network but all other hosts will keep using the network address. You should also edit the hosts on the fileserver and add each of the TS servers to their Storage network IPs so the communication is isolated.

    You would also need to make sure that the NICs pointed into your storage network had the 'do not publish in DNS' setting enabled otherwise you could end up with hosts on your main network trying the inaccessable (to them) storage network ips for your file server instead of the public network ones. Nice and easy, so long as the right config is in place

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    We've just been quoted (by County IT Services) for a terminal server to support 25 users using Office 2010 and SIMs.

    The machine they've specified is a HP ML120 G6 with a dual core Pentium and a 160Gb HD. No mention of RAM.

    I've no experience with TS, but I've always considered it necessary for a somewhat chunkier specification.

    Can someone give me an idea of what I should be telling them we need?

    Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildebeaste View Post
    We've just been quoted (by County IT Services) for a terminal server to support 25 users using Office 2010 and SIMs.

    The machine they've specified is a HP ML120 G6 with a dual core Pentium and a 160Gb HD. No mention of RAM.

    I've no experience with TS, but I've always considered it necessary for a somewhat chunkier specification.

    Can someone give me an idea of what I should be telling them we need?

    Thanks.
    The spec will depend on anticipated use, how many concurrent users (sessions) you wish to support and if you require any fault tolerance/fail over.

    As a starting point, I would suggest that you need a specify a minimum 250mb (RAM) per session which is around 8GB if you want to support 25 simultaneous users.

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