Upgrade path: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure vs. Terminal Server vs. Fat Clients
Posted on 2010-01-11
I would appreciate your thoughts about the possible upgrade paths for one of my client's infrastructure.
1. Redundancy and manageability of servers have to be improved
2. Update from Windows XP to Windows 7 and from Office 2000 to Office 2010. About 10-15 workstations do not reach the minimum requirements for Windows 7/Office 2010.
3. Reduce time for supporting workstation installations
Solution to problem 1 is a SAN and an upgrade to the latest VMWare-Version, which the customer is willing to invest in.
For problems 2 and 3, I see three possible paths:
1. Upgrade the workstations or buy new ones and continue working with fat clients. Implement a software distribution solution.
2. Freeze XP on the workstations and use them as ('thin') clients for a terminal server solution (TS). (Microsoft / Citrix)
3. Freeze XP on the workstations and use them as ('thin') clients for a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). (VMWare / Citrix)
Now for my questions:
Upgrade path 1 is obvious, but I guess one of the other two might be the better choice.
a) Will it be possible (without impairing the user experience) to run Windows 7 from a TS or VDI on a workstation, which itself does not meet the Windows 7-requirements?
b) What are the pro's and con's of a TS-solution vs. a VDI solution? What should I consider for this client's requirements? (The client will not grow very much over the next few years.)
c) Is there a difference of the user experience between a TS-solution and a VDI solution?
d) Is there a difference of the amount of installation work needed to setup a TS-solution vs. a VDI solution?
e) Is there a difference of the amount of administration work needed to run a TS-solution vs. a VDI solution?
f) How would a TS or VDI solution support notebook users on the road without internet access?
I hope, these are not too many questions for one single experts-exchange topic. ;-)
The existing infrastructure is the following:
25 Workstations (Desktops and Notebooks)
- Windows XP Pro, latest SP and patches
- Microsoft Office 2000
- Microsoft Outlook 2003
- Adobe Acrobat 8
- Document Management Software accessing small (300 MB) SQL database
- Internet Explorer / Mozilla Firefox
- some small, non business critical applications
2 identical physical servers (HP DL380 G5, 2x Xeon 1.86GHz, 10GB RAM, RAID1 for ESX, RAID5 for Virtual Servers)
- VMWare ESX 3.5
- 4 productive virtual servers running Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition 32bit, latest SP and patches
- Domain controller 1 / file server / print server
- Domain controller 2 / backup server
- Terminal server (maximum 5 concurrent users so far)
Exchange Server hosted at external provider (no internal Exchange Server)