[nSLUG] Thin Clients has anyone experence with them?

Dop Ganger nslug at fop.ns.ca
Wed Sep 14 09:49:22 ADT 2005

On Tue, 13 Sep 2005, J. Paul Bissonnette wrote:

> Dop Ganger wrote:
>> Another option is to look at User Mode Linux, if you want to isolate users, 
>> or segregate them onto different platforms for testing. That way you just 
>> need one box (admittedly with a fair bit of memory) instead of multiple 
>> machines. I can quite comfortable run 6 UML sessions on my 1 gig laptop and 
>> have room left over to run my regular session and applications.
> TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO complicated for me. I like to work on the KISS principle.

It's not that complicated, especially if you download pre-prepared images 
- that's most of the work getting a new image done. I have a selection of 
different distributions (Debian, Slackware, Fedora and Ubuntu, from 
memory) that I can boot into a "fresh install" setup, and then modify from 
there on in - it saves me a lot of time.

> Have:  An Office that deals in adventure travel aimed at the European market, 
> Internet oriented. Half dozen or so stand alone Linux boxes, with basically 
> the same  Distro; but in different state of updates; connected to a network 
> printer and Internet. Some of these boxes are on their last leg, like old. 
> They are ready to be replaced.
> The programs that are used the most are Openoffice, browser, mysql, book 
> keeping prog, gimp and bluefish for  for web development None of these are 
> really cpu  hogs.

OpenOffice and Firefox can be real memory pigs, though. Gimp can also suck 
down a fair bit of memory for larger images, and also use a hefty chunk of 
bandwidth for shuttling the display to the client.

> Would like: One box to act as a server for  all data, applications 
> centralized. X-windows, one copy of Linux to update. As the old boxes get 
> replaced, use the simplest possible system  no Hdd, no big boxes with fans; 
> bare minimum OS. Quite!  Applications, data and the X windows (Gnome or Kde) 
> all come from the server.
> I thought of thin clients

Yep, that makes sense. To start with, you can recycle some of the older 
hardware as a proof of concept, but once you take it into production you 
should really buy a new machine.

To give you an idea of ballpark pricing, you can buy an HP ML350G4 (1GB, 
Xeon 3.4, SmartArray RAID controller) online for $2724, and 72GB U320 
10KRPM drives are $422 apiece. An extra processor is $974. This is a tower 
configuration - I'm guessing it's a non rackmount environment.

On the client side, tigerdirect.ca have off-lease P3 550/128MB systems for 
just over $100. It doesn't say if the onboard NIC supports PXE, so you may 
need a PXE NIC, and it also comes without a display. These boxes are cheap 
enough that you can have a couple sitting around spare, so if one dies the 
user can quite probably swap it out themselves and leave the dead unit to 
one side until it can be repaired.

Cheers... Dop.


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