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Windows Thread, 100% server side software in Technical; I am installing some new Vanilla client server networks in 3 of our schools. We will be running XP Pro ...
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    100% server side software

    I am installing some new Vanilla client server networks in 3 of our schools. We will be running XP Pro with Server 2003 and using Ranger Primary for user management and profiles etc...

    To make my life easier I was wanting to run pretty much all of the software from a shared drive on the server rather than locally install it on every machine. I suppose it would be similar to a think client set up but have windows installed locally as some of the software needs decent hardware. None of the software is big enough for me to think it would run too slow.

    The max number of clients in any of the schools is around 40. Some schools have laptop suites, other's don't. My primary concern of doing this would be a bandwidth bottleneck at the wireless access points if a suite of 10 laptops are trying to run software over the network from the server.

    We run a 10/100 network with decent switches, one of which is a managed switch.

    The server spec is the following:

    Dell Power Edge
    Dual Core Xeon 2.13
    1gig Ram
    2 x 146 SCSI hard drives


    The client spec varies from P3 up to P4. 256 to 512 memory.

    Could anyone give me their experiences of running a network with minimal sofware installed on the clients.

    The main reason I want this is that we have a huge mix of different computer hardware and I don't of any hardware independent disk imaging method. I know another option would be to install windows on all the clients and use RIS or MSI files to install software to clients but this would take too long to set up I think.

    Thanks

    John

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Re: 100% server side software

    What about using Terminal Server?

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    Re: 100% server side software

    If you have xp on the clients and msi files to install the software it isn't going to take too long to set up.

    If any of the applications are multimedia then you can forget it over the wireless.

    Ben

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    Re: 100% server side software

    also if you do deciede to go with local machines i'd strongly recommend using more than 256mb ram in an xp machine. Put in an extra ram chip and see what speed the computer will idle at, i pretty much guarantee it'll be more than 256mb.

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    Re: 100% server side software

    MSIs are by far the best way for someone like you imho.

    As you support 3 schools you will have the advantage of packaging up once, deploying 3 times

    Dropping packages into AD is as simple as it comes really, packaging up certain software on the other hand can be abit tricky at first but once you get your head round it its fine. Ive managed to package up every peice of software we've got so now if a teacher says "can we have x in this room" its only a matter of attaching the package to the appropriate GP.

    The amount of time this has saved me is unreal! I really cant stress this enough. Imagine when the next flash/pdfreader/quicktime comes out, you've got to go round hundreds of machines and logon and install it seperately.
    As long as the app comes correctly packaged to start with it takes less than a minute to deploy it to every computer in the/3 schools.

    Even if it takes you a full day to get an app packaged up and tested it will still have saved you time

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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    Re: 100% server side software

    As long as the app comes correctly packaged to start with it takes less than a minute to deploy it to every computer in the/3 schools.

    Even if it takes you a full day to get an app packaged up and tested it will still have saved you time
    Thats the rub isn't it

    From a lot of posts on these forums, packaging some pieces of educational software can take a very, very long time to do.

    In a small enviroment, it is easily possible to install a package on every PC in the school in 1/2 a day by moving round fast

    If you are very experienced, clever and lucky in packaging then maybe worth doing.

    For mere mortals - maybe not

    Back onto original discussion though...

    I estimate about 30% of software primary school software can be directly run from central file server- the rest needs a local install

    regards

    Simon

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    Re: 100% server side software

    Echoing what SimpleSi says: I would love to package up software but I dont have the time or the knowledge to do it on my own.

    Also, I agree with the comment about wireless - running multimedia off the server with wireless laptops...DON'T DO IT!!!

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    Re: 100% server side software

    I have to lend my support to the package option here. Its not that hard to learn my first package took me a day to get right since then I don't think anything has taken me more than a couple of hours and that was Macromedia Stuidio MX which is a known pain.

    We run a few thins from the server out of a share all single exe or exe + couple of dlls stuff. Past that I have to be honest your asking for trouble trying to run it out of a server folder. I used to fudge a few of them by logging on as the mandatory profile in writeabale mode. Installing it to the mapped drive and then making the new mandatory profile the default.

    It works but if you get an app that screws up on install, or a years worth of software updates later that .man starts to look pretty damn bloated and starts causing issues. By that stage its not going to be easy to fix. Its going to be a start from stratch every time. Starting from scratch even once a year in 3 different schools is going to eat alot of summer holiday. Lastly it leaves you no scope for differing the software available on different machines.

    Packages are do and forget. They get pulled down automatically if you rebuild a machine, and it even has simple tickboxes to manage version upgrades and incompatibilities.

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    Re: 100% server side software

    Its not that hard to learn my first package took me a day to get right since then I don't think anything has taken me more than a couple of hours and that was Macromedia Stuidio MX which is a known pain.
    You must be a genius then.

    This forum is full of discussions of problems on getting educational software working in package formats.

    What software do you use for the packaging and how much does it cost?

    regards

    Simon

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    Re: 100% server side software

    Just to add my two pence worth, I did a three week intensive course for software repackaging using some of the leading repackaging and MSI tuning software. I can assure you, to repackage an application and deploy the MSI will take more than one day!

    What about testing, if you sent a repacked MSI out in a production environment for company without testing it… you would be looking for a job the next day when the PC’s started to crash.

    Some larger companies (800+ users) I have worked with have of application repackagers, each responsible for a different task in the repackaging process.

    I agree with Geoff, a thin client solution could be the best option.

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