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Terminal Services

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Terminal Services

itdirector
First, I'd like to give a bit of background.

The company I work for houses somewhere around 20 in-house employees and a handful of remote employees. At any given time, we have at least three people connected to our VPN using our servers for data storage and/or connecting to a desktop computer located in an office/cubicle to do their work. The company is not large, or even medium, sized but it is picking up pace and we are "constantly looking for people to hire."

Here in lies my dilemma: as the only IT personnel in our company, I'm tossed around systems development, server/database administration, help desk and anything else that could possibly go wrong that involves computers or a plug. I'm now starting to have to support remote workers (Telecommuting or remote single-user offices) in addition to in-house stuff, and I see this increasing in the future. Not to mention, I view how things are operating now as terribly inefficient and I'd like to condense stuff as much as reasonably possible.

After reading a TechRepublic Daily Digest entitled "10 ways to convince your boss to let you work from home" I went on a multiple hour research binge on how to set up a better remote access system. This lead me to look into Terminal Services and the ability for multiple users to log into one server (a Windows server in our case) via Remote Desktop (RDP for Linux) from their home computer/laptop via the VPN. After considering this for a couple minutes, I pondered the possibility of moving in-house employees that have little to no specialized needs to such a server as well and replacing their desktops with thin clients.

I'm under the impression that such a setup would greatly reduce the possibility for individual computer issues (but raising it for the group) and could wind up saving money in the long run. Does anyone currently, or have experience with, use Terminal Services for this? What are your opinions on it?

I'm really looking to learn more about this as I've had little to no experience in TS and as this appears to be a big initial investment to get going, I want to have a firm grasp of it before I present the idea to my boss.

I guess initially, what OS is recommended to use? (Windows Server Enterprise is one I've heard so far.)

What is the difference between the TS Client Access Licenses and the normal CALs (user/device)?

If I loaded a license of Office on the server, would that work for all users connected to it, or is there a special license for this scenario?

Is there anything in your experience that you would recommend for/against?

If there are good sources of info on the net that you know of, please link and I'll read up on it.

Thanks.