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I am new to any kind of virtualization and seeking some help here.

I want to install some 15 terminals in my industrial plant, which will control job workflow and monitors the part movement in the factory. Our online workflow application runs on nothing but a Chrome browser, which is the only application the client machines need to access. Instead of going for isolated setup, my friend suggested to go for a virtual setup, so OS maintenance becomes easier and client downtime can be handled easily.

How should I go about this? The only option I am aware of is the Citrix XenDesktop, but the license is bit expensive for our 'browser-only' need.

Do you know of any cheaper solution which can serve Linux to client computers (which are thin clients) over the network, so people can have access to the browser without running an actual OS locally? Sorry if I sound too lame. As I said, I am completely new to this.

Thank you for any sort of information.

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You're friend has good intentions I'm sure, but no business sense. – Chris S Jul 24 '10 at 3:46
@Chris S - Thanks for the tip, but it makes sense that maintenance becomes easy. What is 15 terminals today might expand to 40. For sure, maintaining 40 computers from one place gives a good feeling. Am I being wrong here? – Nirmal Jul 24 '10 at 7:02
Good feelings don't always translate into more efficient maintenance. There's quite a few ways to deploy and maintain 40 or more clients. Plus your clients run exactly 1 application, and how often does it need to be updated? I don't pretend to know your situation better than you; but you've been using emotional arguments where business logic should be. – Chris S Jul 24 '10 at 14:11
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Virtualization for this is a bit much.

There's a few options and it depends on the systems that are on the floor. You could go with the Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP) or a NFS root setup, or a ramdisk image, or, or... it goes on.

Also, is the Chrome browser the only one it works with? Will it work with any web browser? If so there are actual thin clients that could be purchased to solve this issue as well.

share|improve this answer
+1, Use thin clients, they're very cheap. And a big bonus, no moving parts to be gummed up by the industrial dust. – Chris S Jul 24 '10 at 3:46
Thank you for the LTSP suggestion. Sure it looks to provide what I want. And for the Chrome browser, that's because of the webkit biased coding of the application. The application can work on any browser, but it's a kind of preference than any technical barrier. – Nirmal Jul 24 '10 at 7:06

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