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Thin client PCs

By MikeLazz ·
We currently have two sattelite offices, soon to be 3 and then 6. for the past 2 years we have been successfully using terminal server to connect the satellite offices. With the number of offices multiplying, we would like to still use the terminal server as a solution. The problem we are having is justifying the cost of purchasing fully functional PCs. We are investigating the possibility of using "thin client" PCs. The solution seems feasible, however I would like to know if anyone has any experience using these types of machines and any pros and cons or just what to watch for.

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Pros and Cons

by JamesRL In reply to Thin client PCs

The thin clients that I am familiar with have a limited OS burned on a flash card. On it, you have an OS(NT 4 in our case, but Linux and newer Win OSs exist), a copy of IE and an RDP Client.

The pro is that you install software on the server (once) and then make it available to all users - provided you have licenses. That makes upgrades much easier as you don't have to go client to client. You can put much more control on the system, the local clients can't get viruses etc.

The cons - You need to have a good network connection(though RDP is relatively tolerant of lag issues), a powerful server and someone with a good knowledge of configuring terminal services.

Not every application that works on a PC will work in Terminal Services mode, but Windows 2003 server is better for compatibility than 2000.

Some of the problems you may encounter are with printer. My advice is to not support any "local" printing. Use IP addressable printers either by using a printer with a Enet card or by installing a print server.

The other issue of course is your dependance on one server - if it goes down, everyone is helpless. You should ensure you have good backups, raid if possible, and perhaps even another server you could use as a substitute if your primary server dies.

The WBT(Windows Based Terminal) we have used are made by Wyse.


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We have 70+ deployed

by Roger99a In reply to Thin client PCs

We use Thin Station (search and build our own client machines for about $190 each plus TS CAL, monitor, keyboard and mouse. The beauty is that it will work with almost any old hardware and can be run by TFTP using PXE compliant hardware, CDROM or floppy boot. There is also the option of using the clients as print servers but I have only tested it and can't verify printer reliability. We still prefer HP JetDirects.

You're already familiar with Terinal Services so I won't comment on that specifically. Our biggest problem is getting CALs fast enough to keep up with deployment. We did have some software issues that we worked out but you should already be past that. We also keep a backup server for redundancy, just in case.

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Thin Clients vs PCs

by BearyAnn In reply to Thin client PCs

After a looooong debate and discussion, we chose to add Citrix on top of MS Terminial Services and we went with WYSE thin clients for most of our users. We have some users with Windows XP (even a few with Win9. Boss is so pleased with reduced cost of purchase and the fact they are so easy, just a 5 minute set up and it is ready to go. No virus, no user download, easy to monitor from servers.

We started with WYSE 3125SE. If they worked, it was great but I did have a return/replace rate of 20%. We have started ordering the upgraded 3150SE and as yet have had no problems, no returns.

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Pros and Cons Continued

by scott In reply to Thin client PCs

I have just finished implementing a "Terminal Server Farm" which is basically a load balanced cluster of Windows 2003 Servers runnings terminal services. We have 6 servers in the farm. One goes down, users will loose connection but can just login again and will be redirected to the next available server. Anything they were working on i.e. Word, Excel etc will be gone unless a "cached" copy was saved before the failure. I say all that to give you an alternative to "dependence on one server" that James spoke of.

I'll get back to you with the name of the terminals that we are using. We have 14 remote sites, most of them connected via a 256k line. Internet access is controlled at the main location, so there is no extra traffic like that to worry about at the remote sites. I don't see nor hear of any "slowness" issues from the remote sites.

I love the control I have on what users can or can't do via Group Policies, which you may be familiar with in your scenario.

I'm all for a corporation with over 50 users going the terminal server farm/"winterm" route. Yeah, if you setup a farm, it will cost you more with servers, but you'll soon gain that money back by not having to purchase or repair PC's.

Cons-Definately printing issues. Took me forever to get all that figured out, especially with as many servers as we had. Definately shy away from local printers. Basically, printing will be the nightmare of the project.

I think my email address is listed, feel free to email me if you have something that you would want me to expound upon.


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Thin Client printing

by clivanos In reply to Pros and Cons Continued


Your email and phone number aren't viewable. What is your contact information? I have couple questions if you don't mind answering.



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