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Desktops or Citrix

By jmadera ·
We are in the middle of a discussion at my work. See, we currently use Symantec Ghost to image our in coming desktops. Symantec isn't ready for enterprise management. We also have a helpdesk system that's good for tracking jobs and does some inventory but its not reliable. Now we have netOctopus and it has limited functionality for pushing out software but it has a good inventory.

We are in the process of making the decision to evalute desktop management software. I am about to test Altiris, LANDesk, and BigFix and Microsoft SMS 2003. Does anyone have any suggestions on what to look for when evaluating software or does anyone have a worksheet that's used when evaluating software like this.

Another jab, our VP is thinking of converting to a citrix environment using either a thin client or a wyse terminal.

I have the duty of testing, evaluating, and presenting a objective outline. Any ideas or helpful information on citrix vs desktop.
Where should I start.

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Re: Desktops or Citrix

by thaimedwn2 In reply to Desktops or Citrix

I work with a mixed environment of both desktops and Citrix in an enterprise environment. We use Altiris for inventory and some help desk ticketing. Altiris for ticketing works very well, but I am not fond of the inventory management aspects of it. When I image a new machine and run the utility we have to add it into Altiris it likes to make the PC a miscellaneous device, then I have to move it over to whatever it is and where I am sending it (we have roughly 30 locations up and down the entire west coast from California to Canada). I find this process of moving the PCs from the Misc category to the PC category ignorant at best. This may be due to the way Altiris is implemented in my workplace, it has been there far longer than I have and no one wants to change it.

As for the thin client v.s. PC aspect of your post, I love the thin clients we use. We use Neoware e370's www.neoware.com and they are great in terms of remote access, imaging, and performance. The best thing about them is the write filter. it prevents anything from being written to the disk/registry and saved permanently. The benefits of this are that if the machine loses some functionality a reboot restores it to the way it is/was when it was working. This has saved me massive amounts of time trying to figure out what went wrong and fixing it. Only Administrators can make changes and save them via the write filter. The enterprise remote administration software that is provided is also very good. I have had no problems at all with either the thin clients, or the software. Imaging is a breeze, and deployment has been painless in my experience. These units however do not allow for much in the way of application installation, but in the areas we use them we have web based solutions in place and everything "just works".

Unfortunately I have no worksheet on what you should look/test for etc. When my company started rolling out thin clients they tested them with a few users (5 I think)at one location where there was a good mix of savvy and clueless end-users and the results were good enough that we continue to roll them out and are considering going almost totally thin client in the future. Best of luck on your evaluations.

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check out stateless computing (diskless thin clients)

by lew_tech In reply to Desktops or Citrix

If your VP is thinking about Citrix, he or she is concerned about managing the desktop. We go the rest of the way by eliminating all state on the desktop. It also eliminates all desktop service and support. Do a Google search on diskless thin clients. That should give you some helpful information.

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Desktops or Citrix

by vigideme In reply to Desktops or Citrix

Hi! I'd start evaluating the BW of your network and thier disponibility 100 % (7x24). What do you think?

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First place to start...

by NotSoChiGuy In reply to Desktops or Citrix

...is to find out why you are really looking to evaluate going to a Citrix environment.

Are you looking to reduce costs (support, hardware turnover, energy, licensing, etc)??

Are you looking to enhance security (less 'surface area' of exposure, data centralization, etc)?

Are you doing it to increase performance across the network?

Some combination??

Once you know why you're looking at the solution, it is easier to wrap some metrics around it.

Speak with the VP, and try to ascertain why he was thinking of exploring that route. Hopefully, it will be more than something he read in a magazine or heard during a sales pitch.

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Mixed environments

by JamesRL In reply to Desktops or Citrix

Inevitably someone will come up with an excuse why a truly thin client will not work for them. And we have found some apps which don't play nice on a Terminal Server or Citrix.

The answer would be to use your existing PCs, lock them down, and install the main apps on a Terminal Server/Citrix server. Then if you do have the occasional app which doesn't work well, you can have an admin install it on the local PC.

You may want to look at MS Terminal Services versus Citrix. Generally Citrix is more complicated and expensive to implement, and its performance advantage is more easy to justify in larger sites.

We have a mix of clients with and without MS terminal services. The ones with Terminal Services do find things like software rollouts much easier. Any old box can run an RDP session. The sites that chose truly thin desktops, like the Wyse or Neoware, are looking for more control.

James

James

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That's not an either or

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Desktops or Citrix

The hole point of citrix is to deploy a normal desktop app over terminal services. There are several wrinkles that can catch you out, but with a bit of care you can do both. Though of course setting up a terminal server isn't a trivial exercise. Mind you nor is setting up lots of clients.

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