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Network Setup


Just want to get everyones opinion on best practise for a small busniness network.

We currently have about 20 odd work stations hanging of a windows 2000 domain the work stations are all different hardware and nothing is set up the same.  ie different software and setups on all them. there is no such thing as a roaming profile or anything even close.

the server Essentialy a file server and domain is slower than most of the work stations.

we are looking at upgrading our server and setting up all the work stations more uniformly.

The Idea i have is to replace the server with a dual XEON system and get everyone running on terminal services. Replace all the windows work stations with linux (To avoid licsencing costs)

The reasons for doing this are

1) Everyone has roaming profiles - well effectivly
2) easy to administer
3) dual xeon system will allow for some growth
4) Allow people to work from home and see exactly what they have at work.
5) Cost effective due to less lisencing costs.

I have read a few articles on the web (fat vs thin clients) and from what i gather no one really like the terminal services idea because it allows less flexibility. - for us less flexibility and more uniformness is a good thing!

What does everyone else think?

what works? and what doesnt?

Thanks for your input.


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Personally I have two thin client networks under my management.

One with Citrix ICA on Win2k and one Windows 2003 standard Terminal Services.
Personally I prefer the Win 2k3 standard. Cause shadowing is
way faster. (But this could be partially because of hardware differences)

I like thin clients. No high amount of time to spend on maintaining some remote computer
in someone's dusty office or so.
Also users tend to like it when you take over their screen and show them how things are done.

Furthermore, remote log in is a very powerfull thing. You can use it, and you can make
it so that other users can use it as well.

For example : on the Citrix server we let users tunnel in from outside using PuTTy,
and tunnel the Citrix 1494 port. No portforwarding mess, no payware encryption from citrix
is required. (Which personally I think is BS, encryption should be free)

Hope you enjoyed my 2 cents, for more practical information, ask on.
Oh, one other thing:
You might wonder what size of business I'm working with here ?
The Citrix domain is about 50 users split in 2/3 in one country, 1/3 in other.
(This is another plus point about remote desktops, internationality)

And the other plain Win2k3 is 30 users.

Also some hardwar info:
Citrix : Dell Dual Pentium 3
Win2k3 : Compaq ProLiant ML350 Dual Xeon 3Ghz
Hi tinnesb,

I read your recommendations and thinked over your requirements what I personally suggest you goes as follows:

You said YOu will use Dual Xeon server Thats good as its fast enough.

But you said you will go for Terminal services , That doesn't sounds good enough as more terminal logins will slow down the performance of the server bcoz not anly terminal service will be running but May be other softwares would be runing on it along with all the background services. So, drop the IDEA of terminal clients.Go for intelligent clients rather than THIN clients.

You said You will be using Linux on Clients and u want all users to have Roaming profiles but that wont work with Linux Clients. What I Recommend you is To go for either win 2000 Prof Or Win XP Pro for client sides.

Or if you want a cheep solution than I will REcommend you to go for LINUX on the server side and on Clients side also.
But for this you need to have a working Knowledge of LINUX.

This is the cheepest solution I have for you with Less PAIN.

I recommend you to go for a UNIFORM NETWORK on client and server both.IT will give you the following benifits.

With WIN 2000/WIN 2003 server and windows clients
1) Everyone has roaming profiles - well effectivly
2) easy to administer
3) dual xeon system will allow for some growth
4) Allow people to work from home and see exactly what they have at work.

But it wont be cost effective

WITH LINUX as server and client
1) dual xeon system will allow for some growth
2) Allow people to work from home and see exactly what they have at work.
3)cost effective

But users will not have roaming profiles.
Secondly its not so easy to Administer Untill you have Knowledge of it.

At last I will say that If you are so sure that you can Configure and Manage the LINUX SERVER then I will Recommend you to GO FOR LINUX ON BOTH CLIENT AND SERVER SIDES.

ELSE WINDOWS IS THE BEST WAY and IF YOU COULD INCREAE THE SERVERS STRENGTH THAN YOU CAN GO FOR TERMINAL ALSO .But in that case if your server is down then No one can do work not even on there own PC.
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tinnesbAuthor Commented:
What Hardware do you recommend for terminal services running about 20 sessions similtaionus?

the idea of running linux server and client side is great! Exept that the software packages we use will only run on windows. Our accounting package, reservations systems and flight planning program. I have not managed to get them to WINE effectivly.

The reason for Linux workstations was that i can hide the interface (or use a minimilistice one) and make the terminal service login screen come straigh up (This was asfar as the users are concerned they dont even see linux)

to counter the server crashing we have would set up the server software on one of the clients with a removeable HDD and in the event of the server crashing swap the HDD of the workstation boot it up restore the last back up and everyone would be up and running again! ... minimilisticly but working none the less.  To counter Data loss the server would run RAID 5 on UTRA 320 SCSI drives.

What do you think to this approach?

One of the reason terminal services appeals to us is that if we expand to another office they can log into the main server easily and people can work from home easily and effectivly.
well as far as i Think is that your network is going to be upgraded to new softwares and more number of users so keeping the future vie I recommend to have a XEON server with three 2.8 Ghz Processors, around 2 Gb of RAM or more and SCSI drives of around 10K, rest torage is up to your need.

One thing more if u can mange to use then use the NIC of 10/100/1000 Gbits and the switch too of this range.

See the INVESTMENT is done once so why not some extra investment should be done so that you dont have to worry fro less resources  with increasing USAGES.

As far as you approach to linux client is concerned That sounds good and I would lIke to Know more about it  that how will u do it.Bcoz I have never heard about such kind of software that coul bring up the windowss terminal login window directly. GOOD.

Your Approach is  very good but I will still recommend you to use your  OLD server as the backup server so as it is also not wasted. In case of downtime you can switch your clients to it directly  and in the meantime your server will be up.

As far as DATA loss is concerned I will recommend you to use one s/w named DOUBLE-TAKE. This s/w replicates the data over the network to another PC in the realtime even when you work with the files.It dont have any prob with the oPen files.

If you wish to discuss something else also with me the you can rech me through two links on eis to join a YAHOO group named INDIANMCSE and other is my E-mail .
I would suggest that iwonleaveyou be careful, because it is against EE rules and procedures to exchange emails and work out a problem outside the boards.  Solutions are to be discussed here so that everyone may benefit.  We haven't reached a point here where that kind of correspondance should become neccessary.

Anyway, for 20 users, the server you are suggesting would be fine.  Terminal Services will only drag down your network after 50+ connections.  I see nothing wrong with the Terminal Services proposal as you suggested tinnesb.  For a mere 20 users...there is no need for further investment.  It's overkill.  While I have no doubt that iwontleaveyou has the best of intentions, I am getting the image of Tim "The Toolman" Taylor saying "Power, more Power!".  :)  And certainly, his suggestion will work, by the way.

However, that being said, let me just say that I have set up a computer lab for a high school of 30 lab PCs without any applications loaded.  All application were run via Terminal Services over the network and there was very little drag on the system as a result.  It also served as the print server, and a file server for most of the network users.  Your setup should be fine.  There is no need to go overboard.

Linux will always save you time and money, and the Windows emulators will be a good addition to the setup if that is what you are thinking.


Oh by the will still have to purchase Client Access Licenses for your server, plus Terminal Services Licenses on top of that.  The only licenses you'd be avoiding by using Linux is the Windows license itself.  You'll still be responsible for purchasing two sets of licenses per machine.  That's one of the drawbacks about Terminal Services licensing is that they need to be purchased seperately, above and beyond the existing licenses for the server connections.
One last thing.  If you DO plan to go remote, and are going to make an investment...I would suggest going with Red's idea in Citrix and ICA.  We use Citrix for 1500+ people all over the country where I am, and it works beautifully.
jamesreddy I do agree with you , But my intention werre no t ogo against the EE rule You can conclude it from th eline I wrote "If you wish to discuss something else also ...."
see the word "something else"  wht does this mean this means that beside this topic/ question.

Well still If i have gone against the EE rules then I will make it sure that this must not happen again.

As far as my recomendation is concerned then I Must tell you that I am facing the same problem of less resources and more usages. A year ago my server was fine to bear the burden with in a year we put on so heavy burden on our server that it is not able to bear it now, and now we ar egoing on hardware upgrade. We were not Knowing that we will go on to such a limit in just a year bcoz this server was just purchased its one and half yoear old and now we need more power full server. Thats why I recommend more resources and as far as Terminal is concerned then You must be knowing that when 20 people are going to work on one machine then it must atleast have teh resources in comparision to the 10 individual machines roughly.REST all depends on the BUDGET ALSO, Its not that what I have suggested is a straight line and you need to go by it you can modify it according to your BUDGET, NEED and FUTURE GROWTH.

And one thing more jamesreddy the kind of words you have used is also against the EE's members rule.
And one thing more I dont believe in making professional relationships only but personal relations also with the professional friends I would like you too joine me as a freind
Have you looked at the Linux Terminal Server Project? 
You could run the Server on Linux and have diskless workstations running from it. Major saving in licensing costs. If you require windows, you could have a second terminal server running 2003 and rdesktop set up on the Linux clients. This would allow you to switch between Windows and Linux with a single click.
The K12 LTSP school project has modified a version of Fedora core2 to do just that.
Hope this helps.
I haven't done anything against the rules here iwontleaveyou, and in fact was helping with forum moderation at one point so I had to be very aware of the rules.  I haven't used "any kind of words" that are inappropriate here.  I was just passing along a note for future reference.  I wasn't trying to be insulting.  I was merely telling you that initiating outside contact here at EE is against the rules of the board and to tread carefully.  That's all.

And my points about TS still stand.  I use it quite proficiently with 30 lab PCs and have very little drag on the system.

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