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Terminal Server - looking for a good value approach.

I'm looking for advice on the best approach to a a remote access solution. Let me explain the current situation.

My customer has 4 PC's running a variety of XP Pro and Home and Windows 7 in a small office. One of the XP Pro machines has been acting locally as a file server and holds the database for a shared application. They now need to add a new component, again for shared access for up to 4 users but with one of them having remote access

The manufacturer of the software has recommended that they have a new Sever (Server 2008) solely as a device to provide remote desktop/terminal so that the one user can access the software remotely. They've quoted £1800 for the server alone; great for business but I have my clients interests to consider and I think this seems a little over the top,

I know that XP Pro will allow remote desktop access but I believe that this allows only a single user, i.e. remote logon will kick-off local user which I want to avoid as they would like local access at the same time.

I assume that they will require a 4 user licence (3 local + 1 remote).

Other options I have considered are
1/ Remote access software such as LogMeIn
2/ A new PC with Windows 7 with remote access and no local user.
3/ Alternative software to allow RDP on the existing file server

There may be other options and am hoping for some useful suggestions.

Thanks in advance

Gordon


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Gordon710
Asked:
Gordon710
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2 Solutions
 
gwickertCommented:
Hmmm, just throwing this out there to start with if your feeling daring: http://www.golod.com/enabling-multiple-remote-desktop-sessions-in-windows-xp-professional-and-media-center-edition-2005/

You can basically patch the terminal services dll to allow multiple RDP sessions on an XP host...seems to be fairly straight forward as long as you remember to do it in safe mode, and patch ALL 3 dll files...but even so, this is only if you/the client are daring enough.

Safer way:
First of all, is the shared database an access or SQL database? How big is it? Perhpas you could install the software on the remote users local machine, have them VPN in, and connect to the database from their VPNed machine from home.  That way they don't have to both with RDP sessions and you can leave the xp machine hosting the database free to be used.  This will also depend on the link at the work site/remote user site.  But if you think the database size is small enough, and the links can handle editing that database over a PPTP/L2TP VPN, then why not?

I will say though, you have to think forward in situations like these.  Is the currently small company experiencing growth? Do you think soon they have a need for a server of their own?  Now could be a good time to solve this RDP problem of yours and future proof the IT of the business!

Happy to talk more about this, and if I may ask, what are the specs of the quoted server?

Glen
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RobMobilityCommented:
Hi,

Check out www.terminalserviceplus.com - basically it's a Terminal Server for Windows XP, Vista etc. that allows multiple, concurrent use to the machine which isn't possible using the native Terminal Services service.

It's quite inexpensive and even allows Remote App - i.e instead of a complete desktop, you can just access apps instead - this functionality is part of Windows 2008 but not only do you need the server, you need a Remote Desktop/Terminal Services licence as well.

Regards,


RobMobility.
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Gordon710Author Commented:
Glen

Thanks for your suggestions.

The database is quite large and the connection speeds are poor so I don't think VPN would be reliable enough.

They are property letting agents in the UK and have been experiencing slow growth (as you might expect) but they are gambling on expansion in to a new location because things are slow locally. I have spoken to them and they would prefer not to spend so much at this stage having already just purchased a new PC for the remote user.

We do have refurbished systems in store that could act allow remote access or just thinking we have a old Server 2003 removed from an old client that could do the trick, it's just gathering dust here.

Am I correct in thinking that XP Pro and Windows 7 for that matter allows a single RDP and kicks off the local user?

Gordon
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gwickertCommented:
Hey Gordon,

The old server sounds like a plus...gets it off your hands makes the client feel loved :)

And yes, if you RDP to either (even if using enterprise win7) the local use will get prompted to disconnect, or will get automatically disconnected.

Glen.
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Tony GiangrecoCommented:
I currently manage a Win 2003 and Win 2008 servers that both run Termnal Services for two clients. They are costly but do perform well. We have about 20 remote connections tht are in use all day without anyne being disconnected. It works well.
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RobMobilityCommented:
Hi,

With Terminalserviceplus, Windows 7, Vista and XP can service up to 10 concurrent connections, depending on the spec of the machine. It also has an in-built SSL based VPN solution so you can take advantage of that too?

The native RDP server service only supports 1 concurrent connection.

It's very good value at $190.00 US with $125.00 software maintenance. To enable the Web option (launching via a web page) would cost an extra $125.00 US. Therefore it's between £200 and £300.00 for software using your existing PC?

Regards,


RobMobility.

Regards,


RobMobility.

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Gordon710Author Commented:
I've divided the points because I've gone forward with several solutions including these above. Although the server solution is my favourite I want to let the client have choices.

Thanks for the advice
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RobMobilityCommented:
Hi,

There is no reason why you cannot use Terminal Service Plus on the server with Windows 2003 Server - you just don't need a full Windows Terminal Services configurations such as TS Licencing Server etc.

Regards,


RobMobility.
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