TS/RDS vs Citrix vs 2x

We are planning on moving one of our departments (about 60 people in 3 different states and growing) to a TS/RDS environment. I would like to be able to set up a farm with load balancing and the ability that no matter what server they log on to will still have the same desktop and applications installed. If we can get this working properly for the one department we would like to eventually move our entire firm to this environment (about 260 people).

Eventually we would like to put these servers in a co-lo with our SAN so that we can have minimal downtime and that everyone has a central location for evertyhing. Have all the servers load balanced, same desktop and apps no matter what server they log on to. right now if a user from one office goes to another office they have to have a profile setup and all the apps configured for them, etc. we tried roaming profiles but it didnt work out very well. We also have citrix but nothing is load balanced and if they log on to a diferent server the desktop and apps are all different. we would like to save on the cost of citrix.

I also see something called 2x but im not sure how that works with TS/RDS.

Any guidance on where to begin for what we would like to do or if its even possible?
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nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.Commented:
I think that Citrix would be the way to go.

- Will all the servers be in the same location or will they be spread at your three different locations?

- Whether you choose to use Citrix XenApp or RDS, you still have to pay the underlying cost of your Terminal Server(TS) Licenses which is the biggest cost
- I would still recommend that you go the XenApp route
- You CAN load balance XenApp across multiple servers.  You need to configure roaming profiles
- The biggest tip for a XenApp environment is that if you have multiple sites, you should ideally have n+1 XenApp servers located each site.
- You always want to have your XenApp servers local to your data or you will have latency issues
- With your XenApp load balanced between your sites, you only need one License server for your TS licenses and your Citrix license server.  This server can be at any locale
- You will have to maintain a strict server policy for applications as you the admin haas to make sure that all times the server have the same software and system configurations
- Back to my formula n+1 this basically means that for the servers you have in each location you should have one additional box for redundancy.
- A typical hardware TS server running Citrix XenApp can support approx 40 concurrent users.  This becomes tricy for you as you are spread across multiple locales.  It would probably be best that you get yourself into a centralized location or your costs will skyrocket.
- Also I would suggest that you consider running VMWare or Citrix XenServers and virtualize your Servers.  This can save you money on hardware costs.  As an example, 4 VMWare servers with 48GB of RAM and dual Quad core processors can run approx 60 or so virtual servers.  Now that is lower in cost(an space) that running 40-60 physical servers.
- As for licenses, if your users will be using static office computers ONLY then go with a per device license model for Terminal servers.
- If your users will be connecting from random computers external to the office, consider using a per user TS license
- You can only get per user XenApp server licenses
- I say don't give your users a desktop or my documents folders, they will fill it with crap and bog down your network storage space in this kind of environment.
- You will definitely need roaming storage space as well, you will need to configure the heck out of a GPO for the XenApp and TS environment, you need to tune your roaming profiles so they don't store everything that user does.
- You will need to lock down your servers, users bread things(some on purpose and others willfully)

I would suggest you maybe consider a consultant in your area to assist you with your planning.

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msidnamAuthor Commented:
Thank you for all the great info.

Yes, we will have the data and servers in the same area. They will not be split up. However, our offices that will be connecting to them may be on dsl or T1 lines across the country.

I would like to do a vmware type of setup but their HA is super expensive and I'm not sure about putting 10 guest OSs on 1 physical server since a couple programs we have use a ton of CPU.

Your tips will help me out greatly.  
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