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Question regarding Thin Clients

Posted on 2010-09-10
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Last Modified: 2013-11-21
I have a computer set up at a remote location which currently dials a vpn connection to a windows 2008 sbs.  Then, the person has connectivity to the network drives, printers, etc.

However, the speed is, of course, very slow across the vpn connection.

I was thinking of putting the cpu that is currently used to dial into the network at the physical network, and purchasing a thin client to dial into said computer.

Is this possible with thin clients or are there limitations on what it can connect to?

The receiving cpu would be a windows 7 pro computer on an sbs 2008 domain.

This will basically be for one connection, but would solve a lot of problems including sql connectivity, and speed from moving files across the vpn connection to view / print.
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Question by:dzirkelb
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Author Comment

by:dzirkelb
ID: 33649025
I forgot to add the ability to print to a local printer at the remote location.  The remote location will have one printer, and one thin client.  Is it possible to have a printer installed on a thin client?
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gmbaxter earned 125 total points
ID: 33649264
Could you not add the terminal services role to the sbs box, then have the user rdp to this once the vpn is established.

You could also set up a site to site vpn between the remote router and the router at the server location to remove the need for the user to dial the vpn.
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by:Cláudio Rodrigues
Cláudio Rodrigues earned 250 total points
ID: 33649421
No, RDS/TS cannot be added to SBS. This is officially unsupported (you can hack it but again, you are on your own).
Your idea will work great and as it is for a single user, I would say it is simple and will do the trick.
The thin client (the new ones) all have network ports so if you have a router on that office you can simply plug it and over the VPN (if the thin client runs XP embedded or WES7 the regular MS VPN client will work/be there) access the Windows 7 box.
I highly recommend using XP embedded/WES7 as you will be able to get/use all the RDP7 features that come with RDP on Windows 7/Server 2008 R2.

Cláudio Rodrigues
Microsoft MVP - Remote Desktop Services
Citrix CTP
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Author Comment

by:dzirkelb
ID: 33649430
Terminal services could be an option.  I have installed it on the server, but it requires a reboot, so I won't be able to do that until the weekend.

the ptp connection is also a good idea, but I don't think it is all that necessary as I have a logon script made that already dials the connection, Unless it gives a performance boost.

I read that terminal services on a sbs premium server doesn't work, that true?

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/957712

That is my source
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Assisted Solution

by:Cláudio Rodrigues
Cláudio Rodrigues earned 250 total points
ID: 33649443
Yes that is true. For several reasons TS/RDS is NOT supported on SBS. Simple as that.
Your best option is to use your initial idea. Simple and effective.

Cláudio Rodrigues
Microsoft MVP - Remote Desktop Services
Citrix CTP
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Author Comment

by:dzirkelb
ID: 33649450
Hey tsmvp, what about the printer at the remote location?  What are my options there?  I guess I could install a junky computer that is lying around and have it dedicated to the printer.
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Expert Comment

by:Cláudio Rodrigues
ID: 33649478
No need to. Just plug the printer to the thin client and it will get mapped within the session established to the Windows 7 box (assuming the same drivers are on both ends - thin client and windows 7 PC).

Cláudio Rodrigues
Microsoft MVP - Remote Desktop Services
Citrix CTP
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Author Comment

by:dzirkelb
ID: 33649498
Awesome awesome!

Ok, last question, what will be the cheapest product out there...preferably WES7.  this will be my first purchase of any thin client, so I am a little lost here.

If I like this connection, then I may implement it at my current work.  it would be for 6 connections over a WAN.
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Expert Comment

by:Cláudio Rodrigues
ID: 33649552
Well honestly any WES7 thin client will cost you a penny. No cheapo one out there.
Look for vendors like Devon-IT, Wyse, HP and others.

For multiple users it will be better to use a real 2008 R2 server and load the RDS role on it. You can also use Hyper-V and host virtual machines instead of using one computer for each user (what is a waste).

Cláudio Rodrigues
Microsoft MVP - Remote Desktop Services
Citrix CTP
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Author Comment

by:dzirkelb
ID: 33649579
If a thin client is going to cost around 300 dollars each, then I'll just run to best buy and get the cheapest of cheap computers and use it as a remote connection.  I spose it doesn't have to be WES7.
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Assisted Solution

by:michael_hering
michael_hering earned 125 total points
ID: 33650613
Another potential solution would be to leverage the power of SBS's Remote Web Workplace (RWW). If you have a spare workstation at your main site, you can circumvent the entire VPN issue by using Remote Web Workplace to access the spare computer at your main site.

Local printers can be mapped to the remote desktop session that is established via the RWW console, which would solve this potential drawback.

If you are not familiar with RWW, check out this link: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/sbs-2008-remote-access-management%28WS.10%29.aspx
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Expert Comment

by:Cláudio Rodrigues
ID: 33650686
RWW is indeed a good solution for accessing remote machines that are part of the domain as in your case. Well said michael_hering.
And yes, at $300 each thin client, it may make more sense to buy a cheapo PC.
Keep a couple things in mind:
- Thin clients use WAY less power.
- Thin clients are locked down out of the box so no room for users screwing it up and installing things on it.
- They are also read only out of the box so there is no way to get a virus/etc on them as a simple reboot will bring it back to a default, pristine state.

Cláudio Rodrigues
Microsoft MVP - Remote Desktop Services
Citrix CTP
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Author Comment

by:dzirkelb
ID: 33650721
The RWW is somethign I noticed I could potentially do.

As far as power, that isn't an issue as the building they are at, with the lease agreement, they do not pay utilities.

And, also due to the lease they have, they do not want to spend anymore money than the computer I already built for them as it could only be for a year.  But, if needed, I could persuade them to buy a cheapo cpu.

I would prefer a cheapo cpu to a thin client as it can be recomissioned at one of her other locations if need be...a think client can't really do that.

As far as intalling stuff, well, they'll just install it on the remote connection...I already know that would happen.
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Expert Comment

by:michael_hering
ID: 33650842
I think the thin client route would be a great solution if the organization you are supporting was slightly larger--I am assuming a smaller sized organization based on the fact that you are using SBS08. Thin clients are definitely a solid solution for organizations that can afford TS, Citrix XenDesktop/XenApp, etc. They have a lower TCO, and are a secure solution if you have the infrastructure to support them.

I'm assuming that the organization you're supporting is price sensitive. You may be better off with RWW.

If you can run Windows 7 Business at both the branch office and main office locations you will have a pretty solid user experience. Removing your users from the local administrators group will solve your problem of users installing unapproved apps. Windows 7 will definitely help in the area of security as well.

Hope this helps! Cheers!
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