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Which thinclent OS should I use

Posted on 2011-03-11
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Thinking of going the thinclient route -

The existing apps environment is predominanly windows/linux at the terminal server end; while at the client end windows/windows xp.

1. which one of the ff would be appropriate - ce; embeded xp or linux

2. what are the business environment factors to be able to run thinclient

3. currently on a LAN/WAN connectivity; and most of the existing software apps are client/server based; developed mostly in-house using java;



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Question by:okeeds33
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tearman earned 25 total points
ID: 35109057
We did a lot of research on thin-clients for our organization.  Unless you're running a call-center, in our case it wasn't worth it.  However, if you're looking to minimize the number of applications installed on a per-system basis, there are better ways of going about it.  Applications like Office Web Apps (part of Sharepoint) was a great replacement for full Office for lesser users.  And for your custom Java applications, Microsoft's Remote Desktop Service is cheap and works VERY well.  Citrix XenApp is a more expensive, but very usable alternative as well.  Microsoft App-V is a similar approach that works well as well.

As far as being set to use those systems, we've found this.  Linux works rather well for the purposes and has the nice features of low per-seat licensing and typically better centralized management (depending on the vendor).

Business factors to remember is that networks are inherently unreliable.  If the network goes down, everyone is unable to do their job (sounds like it might be that way already though).

Frankly, you might be better off converting your Java apps to web applications using JBoss SEAM and jazz like that rather than attempting thin-clients.  Then you could run whatever OS you wanted and wouldn't have to worry about provisioning.
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by:zane_o
zane_o earned 25 total points
ID: 35109620
Many thin-clients will likely do what you are asking. As far as the client OS, Linux or Windows Embedded probably give you the most flexibility and potential support for your JAVA apps.

The primary business factor is going to be whether the devices can run the required applications. Other than that thin-clients are typically easier to deploy and support so there isn't much of a reason not to deploy them if they do the job.

I would recommend getting a couple of eval thin-clients in your desired price range and testing out your applications.
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by:amichaell
ID: 35111069
So I'm a huge proponent of going the thin client route.  

1. I believe the main thing you need to keep in mind here is peripheral support.  Any devices you may need to connect (e.g. scanners, proximity card readers, etc) need to be supported on the thin client, possibly including driver support.  If you don't need to connect anything special and only need to connect to a hosted desktop or application then so long as the OS supports the appropriate client you should be OK.  I recommend trying a few different thin clients out to see which works best for your environment.

2. Thin clients still take a bit of management, so you need to have a method to centrally manage your thin clients.  Most vendors either have a free solution or a solution you can purchase.  Also keep in mind that if you are going the thin client route then you are necessarily moving towards centralized management, which means a solution along the lines of Remote Desktop Services or XenApp.  Someone will have to support that solution and that person may not come cheap.

3. If WAN connectivity is involved you are likely better off using a hosted application or desktop solution (e.g. Remote Desktop Services, XenApp, etc) rather than application streaming (e.g. App-V).  This is still a good use case for thin clients.
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Author Comment

by:okeeds33
ID: 35127249
Thanks for your comments.

Was hoping to also get a comparison of the OS, from your experience towards determining which is best for us.
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by:zane_o
ID: 35132930
What is boils down to in most cases is your familiarity with the platform. If you are a "Windows" person, go with embedded Windows, if you are a Linux person, go with Linux. If you have no experience whatsoever with Linux, stick with Windows as it will make more sense.

In my experience, most of the time it doesn't really matter as long as they run your applications.
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Author Closing Comment

by:okeeds33
ID: 35135717
I still needed external consultation to have it fully addressed
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