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Wireless Networks Thread, Server Based Computing in Technical; 2 recent threads got me thinking - and rather than trying to decide which thread to join, thought I'd better ...
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    Server Based Computing

    2 recent threads got me thinking - and rather than trying to decide which thread to join, thought I'd better start a new one.

    We have started the journey into server based computing and have a small cluster - or rather 2 very small clusters of thin clients running off Terminal Server. They've been in a couple of months and I've hardly had to go down to either at all!! (which is good as they're both at the other side of the school!)

    Anyway, after that long winded intro I have two questions:

    Is anyone using NetSupportManager or NetOP (an argument for a previous thread!) or similar on thin clients? We have a very flaky IT suite which I think would benefit from converting to thinstations, but the teacher up there relies on NetOP. Just wondering if that kind of technology works on Terminal Server.

    Also, I am very interested in Citrix (I know some of you aren't, but I'm hoping the ones who are might answer ) Their licensing looks screwier than M$! But that's probably just because I'm a bit more used to Microsoft. What do I need to get started? Is it just the presentation server and some clients? Or the full access suite? Also which version do people use (Enterprise, Advanced, System)? I know it would appear at the moment that it is not worth spending on Citrix as we don't have that many machines, but it is something that I think is about to grow here quite big and quite fast.

    Thanks for any help, and thanks Ric for the advice - ages ago! - before I got my first batch!



    Andy.

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    ChrisH's Avatar
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    Re: Server Based Computing

    You only pay for the clients afaik then you can install as many server versions as you want. Your clients have to match the server version your going to use though obviously. Versions like enterprise support load balancing accross the servers unlike the standard edition. Other versions are geared towards better remote access as well as far as I can tell.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Re: Server Based Computing

    You can cheat with the Load Balancing and use a Linux based IP Load Balancer with direct routing..

    http://www.linuxvirtualserver.org/

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Re: Server Based Computing

    I use Citrix - love it!

    You need Presentation Server (I use Enterprise Edition for all the bells and whistles like app deployment, etc. - I also plan to use the SNMP stuff to send me messages to brighten my day).

    You need one Citrix license per concurrent connection. You will also need a TS CAL for each device.

    NSM will work with thin client (not sure about NetOp) although there is limited use from a management point of view. There's comprehensive instructions for NSM on their website.

    You should be able to get a Citrix eval license if you sweet talk a Citrix Reseller (e.g. Jo @ Qual on 0117 373 0010).

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    Re: Server Based Computing

    Cheers for that guys,

    Have not had chance yet - but I could always just try NetOP on TS! Am waiting for a few quotes to come in for Citrix, so we'll see if it's worth pursuing or not. I don't know if it's just Ric's enthusiasm that's given me the bug, but I am quite keen!

    Andy.

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    mark's Avatar
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    Re: Server Based Computing

    Citrix - It's E-V-I-L I tell ya!

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Re: Server Based Computing

    @mark: You have to weigh it up. If you have sufficeient moneys for a reasonably sized support team, have a very good network infrastructure (allowing easy ghost/RIS deployments) and can afford to stick to a 3-year replacement policy on all your machines then all is fine with fat clients.

    If you have a single techie with a limited budget who is trying to manage a flaky network of machine that are up to 6 years old (whilst also having to migrate from NT4 and 9x - RM no less), Citrix is a dream. Your machines can be shite and you can still run all the latest progs (as long as you aren't getting carried away with multimedia).

    If you then add in the idea of remote access - just give access to your Citrix web front end from the outside world and you can have access to school resources as if you were in the school (theoretically over a 28.8kbps modem too!). This also leverages the TCO of your Citrix licenses as they can be used while the school is closed!

    Now add in the idea that you can slowly replace your machines with thin client terminals - a fraction oif the price of a PC and they will [theoretically] last forever since there are no moving parts and you're only really processing keystrokes and screen refreshes.

    Admitedly you will have to replace your servers as needs grow and software requirements increase. However, one server will happily run 25 clients (@ £2500) and the x64 version of Windows and Citrix will supposedly allow for 63% more users!

    Of course, some machines still need local grunt - video and music editting, etc. For this you just buy your machines as usual and bang the Citrix client on them. Use Citrix for everything but what you need the grunt for.

    The biggest thing that puts people off is the initial outlay - which, to be fair, isn't that much more than some migration costs for NT4 -> 2003 (especially if you bear in mind how many workstations will need XP Pro licenses and memory upgrades, etc.).

    Anyway - that's my justification for the wonders of Citrix. I hope it wasn't too one-sided - it's hard not to be when a technology is so wonderful

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    Re: Server Based Computing

    Oh I dunno, there's ways to make it cheaper. Stop buying Windows desktop PCs and migrate them to Linux instead. Citrix works find under Linux so assuming you have eveything on your terminal servers anyway you lose nothing. But gain big savings on WinXP Pro OS licenses.

    For bonus points, make your Linux desktop clients diskless and PXE boot them. With no moving parts (assuming you take out all the other drives anyway) and no local software they become very low maintainence.

    You can recycle a lot of old machines this way and put them back into useful service.

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Re: Server Based Computing

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff
    You can recycle a lot of old machines this way and put them back into useful service.
    Already done that! Check out http://thinstation.org

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    mark's Avatar
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    Re: Server Based Computing

    Did I step into a party political broadcast here!

    You can recycle/ use old machines but then they look like s**te and that's how they're regarded/ treated by staff and pupils alike.

    @Ric - you make remote access using Citrix sound painless - what about the extra server and extra licences for nFuse? - that'd take out my budget for this year alone!

    + the licencing for those cheap terminals is very expensive- or do Citrix now show mercy to us in education. £120 just for the terminal, PLUS the usual software cost on top of that - it just ain't cheap like you'd expect.

    I do think Citrix are on top of their game, but having being beaten, bloodied and bruised from the experience, I can't agree that this is a serious contender for schools.

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    Re: Server Based Computing

    Mark - apart from the expense - what were the downsides to Citrix then - as I am considering it too - always like to hear the bad with the good

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    Re: Server Based Computing

    You can recycle/ use old machines but then they look like s**te and that's how they're regarded/ treated by staff and pupils alike.
    So buy new cases then.

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    Re: Server Based Computing

    @Mark: NFuse is no more and you get all you need with Enterprise Edition - although you should really get Access Gateway to do it properly.

    Cost to buy a HP linux thin client and citrix = £170 + £120 + £10 = £300
    Cost to buy a HP Windows SFF client = £350

    I just hate being proved wrong. You either love it or hate it but IMHO you can't go wrong.

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    Re: Server Based Computing

    Quote Originally Posted by Ric_
    This also leverages the TCO of your Citrix licenses as they can be used while the school is closed!
    Arggghh! He used the word "Leverage!" Stone him!

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    Re: Server Based Computing

    Quote Originally Posted by RobC
    Quote Originally Posted by Ric_
    This also leverages the TCO of your Citrix licenses as they can be used while the school is closed!
    Arggghh! He used the word "Leverage!" Stone him!
    I like using management speak - makes me feel all important!



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