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Central computer + terminals in office instead of individual PCs, questions/suggestions?

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#1
Hi all,

At work we're considering getting rid of individual machines with individual OSs, etc for security and funcionality.

Now, today we tried something very interesting which was the following:

- One central machine (let's call it Server) with Ubuntu Mate installed.
- Then, the terminal (i.e. one of the worker's machines) would connect to its desktop through local SSH tunneling and then running mate-session (equivalent of X11 tunneling basically).

This works nicely, problem is, the moment you have a couple of machines connecting to their desktop, there appears to be a serious network bottleneck. This is a shame because we're loving the concept of user account management, software management and ease of backup.

The problem I see is that network bottleneck is, I guess, to be expected, as the server is streaming, essentially, the whole user desktop and interaction.

In an ideal world what would happen is that the terminal would connect to the server and the server would not stream the desktop itself but rather allow the terminal access to the necesary files and let the processing and computing be done by the terminal. This in my mind would allow a lot more terminals before network bottleneck but I do not know if anything like this exists.

Any ideas? Are we going about this the wrong way?

We would need 12 terminals to be able to connect at the same time and work as if they were their own desktops. The equivalent of something like citrix but on a LAN level. Hardware isn't an issue, we can invest as needed, it's more about knowing what we need. We would also like to stick to Linux.

Thanks in advance!
 

Bo$$

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#2
I've seen something similar to this at one site i worked at.

You will need graphics acceleration as everything grinds to a halt when people start using youtube or browsing the internet.
 

Fourstaff

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#3
Off the top of my head I can think of uptime availability and maintenance. Someone will need to be able to diagnose and fix problems 24/7, or it will lead to loss of productivity (and lots of frustration). Same for maintenance - at any given time there should be a few people who knows how to operate the setup (in case of emergencies/disasters). IMHO a better solution may be "in between", i.e. storing user accounts within the server, but downloaded to whichever machine that is active.
 
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#4
Hi Everyone,

For anyone searching and finding this (i.e. posterity), here's what we wanted to achieve:

- One central local server for the office
- All desktops would login with their accounts and their /home folders would be stored in the server as opposed to locally on the desktop.

Here's what we ended up doing:

- We used Zentyal.
- Users login to their accounts through LDAP (the linux equivalent of Active Directory), from their desktops (it looks just like logging in to a local account, but in the background it actually checks this credentials on the server, not locally).
- Once they log in, their pc mounts their server home folder automatically. This way all processing is done locally but their settings and files are stored in the server, so there's some "lag" when logging in, but once logged in, it's not much different to a conventional desktop.

Thanks again everyone for their input
 
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#5
If we're talking about something like a small business , this really isn't worth it probably. There are services that provide more reliable , higher performance and hassle free cloud virtualization.
 
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#6
VNC based seems to do good. Now for straight up VMs vmware horizon/view seems to be nice.
 
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#7
Off the top of my head I can think of uptime availability and maintenance. Someone will need to be able to diagnose and fix problems 24/7, or it will lead to loss of productivity (and lots of frustration). Same for maintenance - at any given time there should be a few people who knows how to operate the setup (in case of emergencies/disasters). IMHO a better solution may be "in between", i.e. storing user accounts within the server, but downloaded to whichever machine that is active.
Floating profiles are amazing!!! This is what I would recommend.
 
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#8
How was this network set up? In reality a thin client/terminal/RDP isn't going to eat up a lot of bandwidth, a few Mbps at most per client. A gigabit network with at least two aggregated GbE or a single 10GbE connection to the server should easily be able to handle 12 terminals. It's not streaming the entire desktop per se, it's only parsing changes - very similar to how online gaming works. The framework is loaded by the client computer, and it registers changes to display the desktop based on commands from the server.

This is an RDP session to my server from my laptop. I had a video playing on the server, and it maxed around 3Mbps for a few seconds at a time, but mostly around 1.5Mbps.
 
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