Sould I implement Think Client?

uknet80 used Ask the Experts™
Dear Experts,

We are university environment and have several labs, they are all windows 7, some of the labs has different software.  the server is windows 2003.

we are thinking of moving to thin client, I am new to this, I have some questions:

1- do you suggest moving to think client is a good idea or not? basically Advantage and Disadvantage? as you know this is a big step to change infrastructure.

2- when we say thin client do we mean Citrix only, or it can be implemented on otherOS?

3- If Citrix, how difficult is it to learn this system?

4- How about point of failure?

 any other comment is appreciated?

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ChrisLead Infrastructure Architect
opening questions to think about
- whats your user base i.e. how many users
what applications do they use - are the compatible with Terminal Services are the suitable for terminal services

if you have requirement for heavy use apps i.e. memory or cpu then Terminal Services/thin client is not for you or at least not for that section of your user base

the answers to that will help define the answer to question 1

2 - no there are alternative - Cirtix and Microsoft RDS(Remote Desktop Service) are the two main offerings -Cirtix is built on top of RDS/TS(terminal services)

3 - not too difficult but there is extra cost for citrix additional to the MS Licencing costs

4 - point of failure - assuming you mean can you built resiliance into it and the answer is yes you create farms (term applies to citrix and RDS) in which you put as many servers are you need i.e. more than two to cope with the load in event of site or server failure


- Our user mainly uses Microsoft Office, Movie Maker and other software that is used for teaching purposes like packet tracer...etc.

-  Currently we have 300 PC.  and they all based under same campus with fast connection.

-  As I am new to this technology I may ask some simple question.  what concern me is, if one user has virus on his USB flash and connected to his computer, does this affect everyone else? because all user use same application on the server.

-  it is not easy to decide to change our system without testing it under our environment, to see the load and performance? WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE?

-  basically our laptops has daily issues intern of software upgrade, hardware upgrade and having user save their document under their desktop that goes beyond 200MB, again this cause users sometime to wait for 5 minutes for their profile to come up.

ChrisLead Infrastructure Architect

IF it was just office then that would be fine - audio visual is not a great idea across terminal services/thin client - you need to get decent hardware on each end - server and client to make that work.

If you allow USB pass through for terminal servers then if they had a virus on it and the terminal server was infected then yes it would affect all users and depending on how many users you put on each server would depend on its overall impact.

for laptop - you should look at folder redirection so that the desktop is stored centrally on a file server or something. there are better processes/configuration you could put in place to manage those issues than changing the model for your environment

My Advice would be to look at a trial deployment - one decent server and 5/10/20 thin clients (possibly different ones) and get your users to work with them then you will see the issues you may come across - i.e. peripheral device support, software being Multi User (terminal services) compatible etc etc

you can do a 120 day trial for Basic Micrsosoft RDS

and then if you want to think about spending the extra cash then install citirx over the top

Key financial things to think about
Server cost for resilient solution for 300 users
Cost of management for thin clients
cost of thin client
cost of licencing for Microsoft RDS cals
Cost of citrix software on top of that
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I think you are asking all the right questions and to add to the last post consider the following savings:

Your and the IT staff time, probably 75% less going to people's desks due to central management of your software on the backend and better client management with tools available to control your thin clients (IE HP Device Manager for HP (FREE)  or Wyse Device Manager (small fee i believe) software, do remote control and asset tracking

Power - i do not know how much power costs where you are but the power usage of a typical thin client against a  desktop would be at least 50% and if you use currently old desktops and use the most energy efficient thin clients available (less then 8 watts running)  you could use less then 10% of the energy you use right now.

For testing purposes there are two current technologies avaiable that can let you get a 10 user POC running in less then a day.


Citrix VDI in a box (formerly Kaviza) is quite  easy and automated and it can be run on any hyperviser (VMWare ESX, MS HyperV, or Citrix XenServer) it has a free trial and an excellent manual and step by step GUI for setup.


Microsoft VDI or RDS services there is a software you can get called Konect Elite just install it on top of a Microsoft Server preferrably a 2008 R2 Hyper V setup server (base standard or enterprise)  Then install the software and it will automatically configure everything in your windows server for MS VDI or RDS for you. It is quite amazing, get it at the link below:

These two technologies will give you a good idea of how virtualization works and the speed of the new technologies. Please note the particular Citrix solution listed is only VDI not application sharing.

Also note Microsoft does a great job of educational discounts so in my experience your cost will be lower with Microsoft.

Hope that helps.


Thank you guys for your explanation.

irweazelwallis said that you can just use Microsoft Terminal Service (Basic Micrsosoft RDS) and "and then if you want to think about spending the extra cash then install citirx over the top".  what is the reason of using Citrix.  How does it make thing better? Microsoft Terminal Service doesn't do the job by it self?
Lead Infrastructure Architect
Citrix adds some more functionality on top of RDS. the ICA protocol is a bit more efficient over smaller bandwidth i.e. remote access on rural broadband for remote users.

I think citrix is possibly a bit more polished than RDS but the functionality isn't too different.
You need to scope out the requirements you need so you can prioritise if Citrix is the only one that offers what you need.

to add to thinclientguys comments - VDI is a different solution from RDS/Citrix

VDI is a single virtual machine per user i.e. with their own resource vs shared server with individual sessions

Basics boil down to -
you can do RDS/Citrix with some beefy servers and some basic thin client
you need a lot of fast storage, some beefy servers and some decent thin client terminals to do VDI well.

Educational licensing is very cheap so find a MS reseller to chat to if you don't already have one

white paper you could read

web site


I gone through the paper it was useful.

So I want to install basic Citrix for my windows server 2008, Where shall I start in term of Step-by-step process documentation, what ISO have to download?
ChrisLead Infrastructure Architect


that should get you through to download XenApp 6.5
and here is a very good blog for installing it


thank you so much for your information, it was very useful, I am sure I will be back to ask more.

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