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remote desktop solution

Posted on 2015-01-28
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Last Modified: 2015-02-26
I need a good cost effective remote desktop solution where multiple external wan users can access a windows server or workstation with multiple profiles (up to 50) so they can access network resources.

In essence 50 people will be accessing one machine at once and using that pc to run another program that can run simultaneous sessions.
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Question by:gpersand
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hassan afzal earned 500 total points
ID: 40574965
you will need a terminal server, remote desktop server as they call it now.

License does cost a lot ,

alternatively you can set up port forwarding to remote desktop to a client software machine eg windows 7 or 8, don't think it'll let you sign on as many as 10 users unless you find a registry hack - Microsoft have this tied down because they want people to use their terminal licenses ultimately

Hassan
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by:Larry Struckmeyer MVP
ID: 40575026
In addition to the RDS server to allow multiple users on one server you will need a secure method to access it from remote locations.  I suggest Server 2012 R2 installed in hypervisor mode with the allowed 2 VMs.  One RDS server the other with the Essentials role which will allow Remote Web Access/RD Gateway over http/443.  This allows secure access from any locations where it is safe to key in passwords.
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by:hassan afzal
ID: 40575039
either solutions wont be cheap - licensees will hit you either way.
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by:Larry Struckmeyer MVP
ID: 40575434
Maybe a somewhat less expensive alternative is to install a server with the Essentials role, and a few standard headless stations for the remote workers to use one at a time.  But with as many remote workers as you indicated this is probably not practical.
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by:gpersand
ID: 40577112
Thanks for the info guys and yes i'm trying to get out of paying for licences. Could I use some kind of virtual machine on a Win7/8 pc so that more than one person can log into a single pc?
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by:rindi
ID: 40577130
You'd need a VM per person logging on, which also means you'd need as many OS licenses as you have VM's. Besides that the remote users would require Licenses for their OS on their physical PC's as well, meaning 2 desktop OS licenses per person. Besides that you would need a high resource server with plenty of RAM to host those VM's. That would probably be more expensive than using Remote Desktop Servers and the CALS.
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by:gpersand
ID: 40577134
Ok noted and thanks.
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by:lionelmm
ID: 40577279
Only thing I can think of is to create a VPN so users can access the network and when they do give them access to a network drive--and on that network drive have the shared program and then users can run it that way. Depending on how you have designed your program and how the "server portion" and the "client setup" on the systems that connect you can then install the client side software on the PCs and have them check for the actually program and data on the shared folder and/or the network drive. What is this program/app that you want them to run and what is it written in?
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by:gpersand
ID: 40577282
Lionel I like the sound of that. And yes if the VPN user has access to the network drive with the executable it should work fine. I'm going to test now
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by:lionelmm
ID: 40577290
If that doesn't work then let use know in what the program was written and we could possibly assist with that too.
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by:gpersand
ID: 40577293
ok thank you friend
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by:rindi
ID: 40577342
The problem with a VPN connection is that very often you'll have big speed problems. running a software on a remote PC, requires a fast upload speed for both parties of the internet connections. Most DSL type connections have a high download speed and low upload speeds. This would cause the software to be very slow. So you may have to get all users to get another internet subscription with a higher upload speed, and that will probably also be more expensive than getting Cals for your Remote Desktop server. With remote desktop the upload and download speeds usually aren't critical, as only the display, keyboard input and mouse input needs to be transferred between locations.
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by:lionelmm
ID: 40577351
That is not necessarily true depending on how the program is written--if it is a true client-server program then the remote systems will not be transferring data back and forth but only instructions for the program on the server.
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by:gpersand
ID: 40577610
I tested a mapped drive via VPN and its amazingly slow so not a viable solution.

I am also looking at individual mini pcs at £180 each which is very cheap but they come with win 8 home so I cannot remote desktop to the pc once I connect to my network via VPN as win 8 doesn't have the function. IS there any way I can access a win 8 home pc via remote desktop?
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 40577636
IS there any way I can access a win 8 home pc via remote desktop?
None that I am aware of and certainly none that we could help with.

If you do the math, an RDS server that supports 50 users will be FAR cheaper than 50 individual PCs with Windows 8 Pro.  Have you done any pricing on this in an excel (or some other) spreadsheet to compare licensing costs?
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by:gpersand
ID: 40577651
yes looks like RDP server is the way forward so im proceeding with that now.
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by:lionelmm
ID: 40577661
You may as well get the proper licensing so I suggest you contact someone like CDW.com; I have found them to give very good volume licensing pricing and options. I did see a 50 user license pack on ebay for $4000 but I am cautious about buying licenses on ebay and so should you be.
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