where to use thinclients and diskless workstations

Posted on 2011-09-08
Last Modified: 2012-06-27
Dear Experts:

Iam working for the construction company as systems manager in head office we have linux server for authentication and all the clients are of windows xp professional and recent purchase are of windows 7 professional as most of them are very much old hence iam planning to replace with the new systems while thinking i got an thought of how Thin clients or the dummy terminals will be useful for us in terms of technology and cost effective can anybody help in giving the information or is it recommended to go for this , what are the pre-requisites for this setup and will it save the cost.

Also we have many projects on multiple locations where 10 to 15 computers will be used in each project until the construction is completed. please help me by deploying the thin clients or dummy terminals will have any advantages.

Thanks in advance.  
Question by:D_wathi
LVL 28

Expert Comment

ID: 36501905
If you have simple needs or pull your apps from a server, a thin-client (wyse, HP, etc) can work well. You can get them with embedded XP (perhaps 7 not sure) and they work well. Their main advantages are cost, no moving parts, virus-free and if they get a virus, you just reboot and it's gone.

Disadvantages are limited storage so you have to put data on servers and if you need to be able to install apps locally, this can become an issue as well.

A reasonable alternative may be to look at virtualizing your desktops with VDI from vmWare. Desktops are stored and managed at the server level and the device in the field can be anything that can run a LInux client such as an older PC or thin client. There are some potential issues in getting the apps to the device depending on what apps you need, but this can be a very useful solution.

Author Comment

ID: 36501978
Thanks for the reply. Sir, we do not have any applications the only requirement for the users are as below mentioned
1. internet explorer (for webmail and ERP ) our erp is of webbased
2. email client like ms outlook
3. ms office
4. pdf

Please recommend the best solution also i head about ncomputing . iam confused which one to go for can you please help me in suggesting the best practice .Please help.
Thanks in advance.

Author Comment

ID: 36502033
Sorry for the typo error , I wanted to say Ncomputing.

Also recently we have procured EMC vnxe3100 storage and VMware essential plus this is for your information. please suggest me the best practice.
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LVL 28

Accepted Solution

jhyiesla earned 250 total points
ID: 36502190
I've not used the Ncomputing devices. However, we did experiment with a competitor (Pano) and found that although the technology is sound, it failed to work over the WAN. As long as I was on my local LAN it worked just fine, but even going across an MPLS could to a sister site failed. Not sure of the Ncomputing devices have the same issue or not, but it's worth testing; what ever device you use. the Pano boxes did require a VMware VM running as the "server" side of the connection. Not sure if the Ncomputing devices require the same or not.

As long as the think client device has enough storage to hold Office, it sounds like that might be a good solution for you. The devices are not expensive and you'd have to license Office no matter what. Good choices are devices from Wyse or HP. These can also come with server-based management consoles for an additional cost.

If you have the bandwidth to handle the virtualized desktop that may be a "better" solution in that you can have one or two images that are being sent to the thin client device and you have a single point to upgrade the OS and Office as time goes on minimizing support costs.  However, there are licensing costs for the VDI piece as well as hardware costs. Only you can really make the determination as to whether or not the costs are justified.

If you decide to go with a thin client withOUT VDI or with the Ncomputing device, my suggestion is to work with the vendor or a consultant to determine which device might work well in your environment and to meet your needs, size the appropriate device and purchase one (or see if they will do an evaluation for free). Then take the device and install it in several of your sites to test things like bandwidth and to see if the device will even work outside of your LAN.
LVL 16

Assisted Solution

vivigatt earned 250 total points
ID: 36509319
There are several resources you might find useful:

In your case, I would certainly not use nComputing solution: They share a Windows desktop, but you still have to manage each desktop, since they do support only a limited connection per desktop.
Instead, I would consider a terminal server based solution.
MS Windows Server with Terminal services.
You do not need VDI or hosted desktop for your needs. Server Based Computing is enough.
You could even set up a cluster of server, for High Availability and/or Load Balancing.
Then, the thin clients can be any of them, since they all can connect to MS Terminal Server (using the RDP protocol).
And they will be able to connect to the user's desktop which runs on the server side. Even through a WAN connection.
The terminal server based desktop makes it possible to access any of the needed applications you mentioned: Web browsing, pdf reader/writer, MS office, email application. Even local printing is supported.
Note that thin clients are still running a local OS, in which there is usually a Web Browser, so everything which is available through a web browser can be run directly from the thin client, without Terminal Server or a remote desktop.

However, please note that there are some things which are not very well supported with thin clients, and this is usually things related to media playing or local peripherals.
media playing:
- If you use a remote desktop, the media is usually rendered and played in the remote location and then has to be conveyed to the thin client. For instance, playing flash videos or sound file is usually not very well supported
- local peripherals are not easily "mounted" from the thin client to teh remote desktop. Everything that is exposed as a mass storage device (thumb drives, some mp3 players or digital cameras) is usually well supported, as the thin client software can remote-mount disk drive to the remote desktop. Printers are also usually well supported. But other devices (smartphones, digital camera, WIA devices such as USB scanners or camera) may be more or less well supported, depending on the software stack in use.

The best would be for you to contact a thin client/terminal server pre-sales or consultant

Hope this helps a little


Expert Comment

ID: 36517199
take a look into vmware view and Citrix Kaviza

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