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How to setup Thin Client?


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#1
chickmazta

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Good day to all, I need a little insight regarding on how to setup "thin clients". This is the first time we're going to use this kind of setup.

This will be use for a public library in which students are free to use the computer to conduct research and type paper works for free. At the same time minimizing the amount we are going to spend instead of buying individual pc. It will probably be more on internet research, typing and encartas.

These are a couple of questions:

-Will the server be as fast as it could be, I mean a quadcore, lots of memory, large amount of hard drives?
-What OS will I need to install?
-After the OS is setup, will there be any configurations to apply or just plug n play?
-Are there any specifications you guys might suggest for the server and the workstations?

Sorry for being dumb coz I like this one to be straight to the point. Thanks a lot in advance.

Edited by chickmazta, 17 March 2011 - 11:05 AM.

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#2
devper94

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I don't know much about this problem, so please take my advices with a grain of salt. The best way to do this is to stick with well-known vendors.

-Will the server be as fast as it could be, I mean a quadcore, lots of memory, large amount of hard drives?

Yes, if you are going to use that to maintain multiple clients.

-What OS will I need to install?

It is possible to use Windows, but I am not sure about the license price needed to run Windows on all clients.
I have never set up a thin client system, but if the computers are only used to surf the Internet and create documents then you might want to consider Ubuntu LTSP. It's open-source, easy to use, free of malware and not that hard to set up.

-After the OS is setup, will there be any configurations to apply or just plug n play?

There would be a little configuration on the client, but most configurations will be on the server.

-Are there any specifications you guys might suggest for the server and the workstations?

The server should be strong enough; it depends on the number of clients and the client platform you want to use. However, the clients won't need much resources to run properly. It just needs a CPU, some RAM and some software to start the connection. Most modern BIOSes can boot from the network, so this is not much of a problem.
If you don't want to do it yourself, there are many thin client vendors available like HP, Wyse... They often provide the software needed to run the clients, so you don't have to do much to get them up and running.
You can also reuse obsolete computers as clients, and save lots of money. Sometimes you will want to downgrade those computers to save power.

Good luck :D
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#3
Troy

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OK seriously, first up this sounds like a job for an onsite administrator. What you are asking is quite a big undertaking - including documentation etc...

Basically it depends on how many clients are going to be connected at the same time. Generally when it comes to this kind of setup, as far as I have worked with, it literally is "how powerful can we make this server for the allocated budget". Not necessarily hard drives for the server, that then depends on how much data it is anticipated (or "allowed" for security settings) will be stored on the drives. But don't forget HDD speed is also important as well.

For OS to install, you will need some form of server install that allows Terminal Services (or Remote Desktops). This will then need to be installed and enabled, and appropriately licensed. Licensing, for example, is not cheap when we are talking about Server 2008 or Server 2008 R2. It comes in the form of CAL's (Client Access Licenses) and can be allocated to either users or devices. Also when it comes to licensing you have mentioned that the students are to be able to type up their research into papers. If you are looking at using Microsoft Office for this (i.e Word) then Terminal Services licensing for Office can become very expensive very quickly. And also that users are going to be accessing the internet. Get the absolute fastest internet you can achieve with your budget, if not some form of redundancy from multiple upstream providers. By the time you split up an internet connection between multiple users, it slows down rather fast to the point where it becomes a poor user experience.

Here in Australia I support some clients that have this kind of setup. Basically it simplifies administration in that we only have to worry about the server for security, backups etc... Instead of the whole network (basically if a thin client stops working we replace it). This, instead of having to worry about each and every computer on the network, the physical health of the PC, the security settings on the PC, whether data is being stored on the PC that should be on the server and therefore backed up regularly, and so on... On the negative side, the server needs to be of utmost highest configuration possible to support all staff members who connect (or students in your case) and give them a reasonable and useable desktop experience. Remember that every user that logs on is going to need a chunk of the server RAM, CPU, network to give them a good desktop experience. A server that is lacking in any of these resources (and also HDD space and speed) is going to give a poor user experience that will impress upon every user negatively.

For now I will leave this thread open for further discussion, but if you are wanting to hit more specific information then this thread will be closed due to our Terms of Use (basically the part that says we are NOT here to replace your IT support team for businesses).

Cheers

Troy
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#4
chickmazta

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Wow! You guys made it easier for me to understand it more clearly now. Thank you very much! Honestly, we don't have any IT personel or tech support here, its a government establishment. But, we are very much on budget, they don't hire company techs because it cost more on their payrolls and the total collection of the whole city for a month.

We figure out that electricity and ISP bills would affect the municipalities budget so we'd rather spend those money to feed hungry children along streets and corners.

I'm just a family friend who usually visit their small subdivision whenever something goes wrong with the computers, I'm like what this site states someone who help those who need it the most whenever I can but of course for free. All we do here is "help others to help others" Just a simple thanks would do.

Some hardwares would be courtesies of donations. So we really don't have any ideas about this at first. But as to what I am reading its very much complicated, I'm not a techy guy, I just google things I don't know. But sometimes its hard for me to understand complicated things.

We'll since acquiring a little more information would put me into trouble its ok for me to end this here now. I'll just google it furthermore. Thanks again and more power GTG!
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#5
Troy

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Yeah OK no worries, general questions about the setup are OK. But if you wanted exact step-by-step instructions on how to enable remote desktop or install licensing then that is where you honestly should have someone experienced to do this stuff.
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#6
chickmazta

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hmm...can I use windows7 instead? and obtain any form of software that will manage client terminals? just curious ^_^

Edited by chickmazta, 23 March 2011 - 02:05 AM.

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#7
devper94

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Windows 7 does not have the capabilities to run clients effectively. You must use Windows Server, it is what actually run the clients.
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#8
chickmazta

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Oh I see. I bought a client terminal "net computing nc600" the manual says it supports windows xp pro, server 2008 and windows 7. What does it mean? I tried to install an xp pro on the host PC but I have trouble connecting to it through the client terminal. I have the software for those terminal installed on the host pc. And one question are these two different in any way "remote desktop connection" and thin client terminals?
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#9
devper94

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I'm sorry but like Troy said above

But if you wanted exact step-by-step instructions on how to enable remote desktop or install licensing then that is where you honestly should have someone experienced to do this stuff.

You should be hiring a professional administrator, who can set up and manage the clients for you. We can't just help you over the Internet.
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#10
Troy

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A couple of questions to get you thinking...
  • Have you enabled remote desktop capability on the host PC?
  • Tried disabling firewall/security to see if the connection then works?
  • Tried connecting from another PC on the network (instead of thin client).

Answers to these will help you pinpoint what is going on.
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#11
chickmazta

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OK SIRS, Thanks again for all the help! I've finally figure it out. Sorry for the trouble. ^_^ peace and more power!
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#12
Troy

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Glad you got it!
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#13
rwalters1660

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I didnt feel that you was very nice to the guy. He was only asking for some help. My two cents.
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