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Thin Client Server Requirement?!!

Yusuf Jameel
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Greetings.

I need help to set up a server for thin clients. Below are mentioned the details regarding the users and their requirement. How powerful of a Server need I Buy/Build? 

 

250 Heavy Software Users.

150 Clerical Users.

 

400 Total Users.

 

HDD Calculated is 

500GB/Client for Heavy Users (125TB)

100GB/Client for Clerical Users (15TB)

 

140TB Total

 

~200TB

 

Which Raid Should I use?

 

 

 RAM Calculated is

 

16GB/Client for Heavy Users (4TB)

8GB/Client for Clerical Users (1.2TB)

                         OR

8GB/Client throughout (3.2TB)

 


 

 

 

 

I know that these numbers might be nonsensical but I guess this gives You a picture for what I need.

I'm a newbie and this is my first attempt at building a Server.

 

All Help is Appreciated.

 

Thank You.

 

Regards,

Yusuf Jameel

 

 

 

EDIT: I am planning to Use HP T730 Thin Client. It has internal RAM which will reduce the cost for server.

 

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Wow that's a serious project. I've not run a thin client setup for over 7 years now so I am not in a position to give direct technical advice. That said I'm not sure anyone will be able to as thin client environment work load vary wildly.

Things you'll have to review are

use case

Sessions type e.g. persistent Vs non persistent sessions.

Applications e.g.cpu heavy, gpu heavy (will you need GFX passthrough) RAM heavy, HDD usage( remember thin client setups write much more often than a conventional system, are you using local storage? Files servers? Sans, hyper converged),

Working patterns e.g. does everyone log in at once, are there shifts, do all the high usage people need access at the same time.

Network e.g. will the current network handle the additional bandwidth, could there be latency issues.

Failure/fault tolerance, how many disks, network connections, servers (this will have to be a multi server environment for 400 concurrent users) can you loose before everything comes crashing down 

 

Essentially conveying all this information over a forum is probably impossible.

 

My advice would get a consultant in, get them to review your needs then make suggestions.

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How many servers are you planning to buy and do you have any contracts in place currently? What SAN providers have you spoken with already?

-KuJoe

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You can cut back a lot on that storage requirement by using linked clones of master images, VMware Horizon has this but no doubt other options exist.

 

Also you're only going to get like 30 users per server max, more users per server the worse the experience.

 

For a 400 user deployment you're really going to need to talk to VMware, Citrix or whoever else is big in the VDI sector (I only know about VMware and Citrix personally).

 

Nutanix does this type of use case extremely well too, they are experts in VDI and worth talking to. Our VDI deployment is Nutanix using VMware Horizon.

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Sounds similar to what we're currently doing at work.

 

and it aint cheap. We went for a hyperconverged platform with 6 nodes, and will be using the Horizon's VMWare solution for VDI.

 

your numbers aren't necessarily bad or anything, but getting a single machine to handle this workload is probably a bit much. Hence why Hyperconverged solutions such as DELL EMC' or Nutanix are designed for these very use cases.

 

I highly recommend giving Nutanix a call since this seems to be their bread and butter. But expect to spend a LOT of money on such a roll out (I Think we're in the 300K price point at this point and we're not even done buying, we've got 2 more nutanix clusters still to buy)

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15 hours ago, leadeater said:

You can cut back a lot on that storage requirement by using linked clones of master images

i was just going to suggest that!

anyways, there are windows versions specifically for thin client connections called Windows embedded, they are very cost efficient and take up very little resources and are designed for this very purpose!

install the embedded OS on the virtual machine and use it as the master virtual machine with the linked clones only storing their changes.

a warning though, after the master is done, it can't be changed! install the nesserry software, updates and other crap you need BEFORE DEPLOYING!!!!

anyways, since windows embedded is based on windows most software works as you would expect so your existing software can still be used

your server must be running RDS (Remote Desktop Services) or a simaler service that allows this functionality, Vmware Horizon does have support for a couple of thin clients and they also provide their own thin client software if required. (Vmware ESIX is the same as well)

i don't know if they can instantly deploy a new virtual machine when a new user connects to the server and save the changes when the user leaves but if you are in a pure windows environment RDS is eiser since it is integrated into windows already

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12 hours ago, Salv8 (sam) said:

a warning though, after the master is done, it can't be changed! install the nesserry software, updates and other crap you need BEFORE DEPLOYING!!!!

VMware Horizon allows you to update master images, so does Citrix, though you have to trade in a few organs to use those.

 

12 hours ago, Salv8 (sam) said:

i don't know if they can instantly deploy a new virtual machine when a new user connects to the server and save the changes when the user leaves but if you are in a pure windows environment RDS is eiser since it is integrated into windows already

Native Windows tools are pretty crap compared to VMware Horizon and Citirx XenDesktop/XenApp. VMware Horzin will provision and destory VMs as required, update to new master version on session logout (forced VM reboot and re-provision), and you can have multiple different master images and user assigned pools i.e. GPU and non GPU and you can allow users to see any combinations of those.

 

All advanced features and not actually worth paying for if you don't actually need them, the concurrent session licenses of both VMware and Citrix are not anything close to what I would call cheap.

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You should probs contact VMWare or Citrix. You will definitely want redundancy (Storage, FailOver, vMotion (or another version of load balancing), fast storage and networking).  If you make use of linked clones you can reduce the amount of disk space. For normal Office applications, you can get away with 4 gigs of ram. 

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11 hours ago, leadeater said:

VMware Horizon allows you to update master images, so does Citrix, though you have to trade in a few organs to use those.

i though you couldn't since it could cause problems with the OS... huh...

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10 minutes ago, Salv8 (sam) said:

i though you couldn't since it could cause problems with the OS... huh...

It's not much different to a VM template, you just start up the VM and make your changes then convert it back to a VM template. The process in what Horizon does and other products is very similar and all active versions of the master template and linked clones are tracked. Link clones won't pull in the changes, a restart of the linked clone VM is required and when that happens the Horizon platform knows to update the VM to the new master version.

 

Data consistency is kept due to change tracking delta files of both the master and the linked clones.

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@Yusuf Jameel - Without knowing what software specifically and the type of business it's hard to verify if your requirements are accurate. However going on the assumption you truly did you research and came out to 8gb RAM /100gb DISK per office user etc..... you have a lot of buying power.

 

This means you really should consult a few vendors and get some bids. Just licensing for 400 users is going to quickly go over $100,000USD. The thin clients will probably cost another $100,000USD ($250/box * 400 users).

 

I personally feel like it is very rare for office employees to come anywhere near needing 8GB of RAM and 100GB of disk space each. Although there are some unique businesses out there, maybe your office workers are graphic designers or maybe do a lot of CAD work? You really have to nail down today's and tomorrow's requirements, since you have 400 users it makes a big difference.

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On 12/31/2018 at 7:23 PM, Salv8 (sam) said:

anyways, there are windows versions specifically for thin client connections called Windows embedded, they are very cost efficient and take up very little resources and are designed for this very purpose!

install the embedded OS on the virtual machine and use it as the master virtual machine with the linked clones only storing their changes.

a warning though, after the master is done, it can't be changed! install the nesserry software, updates and other crap you need BEFORE DEPLOYING!!!!

anyways, since windows embedded is based on windows most software works as you would expect so your existing software can still be used

Windows Embeded is meant for the endpoint devices and not virtual machines themselves. You would install the Enterprise version using KMS for 400 machines.

 

your server must be running RDS (Remote Desktop Services) or a simaler service that allows this functionality, Vmware Horizon does have support for a couple of thin clients and they also provide their own thin client software if required. (Vmware ESIX is the same as well)

RDS is not required for linked clones. It's not Horizon that supports the thin clients, it is the thin clients that support horizon protocols and there are hundreds. Horizon also supports RDS farms so you could still use a thin client that only supports RDP.

 

i don't know if they can instantly deploy a new virtual machine when a new user connects to the server and save the changes when the user leaves but if you are in a pure windows environment RDS is eiser since it is integrated into windows already

Horizon works off a snapshot from a "core/gold" virtual machine. Whenever you need to update this core virtul machine, you boot it up - update/patch/caress it, take a snapshot, and then within Horizon you tell it to start using the new snapshot. You can then simply recompose all the unused VMs and schedule the rest after a user logs out.

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