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We are currently planning the following scenario:

We have 4 desktops running a very simple workload:

primary application: remote-client to access our business management software sparsely usage of outlook 2003, openoffice, firefox.

We have a couple of low consumption boxes (formerly used as firewalls/openvpn).

I'd like to simplify management of the desktop by p2ving them into an existing esxi-box and access them via rdesktop on a stripped down debian from our "thin clients".

I want to achieve: lower energy consumption easier remote management (no more walking to the desktops outside our business hours for patching flash and adobe reader).

We cannot afford terminal servers or a top-of-line management solution.

Does it make sense at all? Or am I adding complexity for no reason? Does someone have experience with a similar setup?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

It sounds like you don't have an Active Directory domain if you're "walking to the desktops outside our business hours" (sic).

Simple solutions are better to my mind. Something like wpkg might be a better fit than the solution you're proposing. Rather than trying to abstract away the desktop computers, why not just manage them more effectively?

Some decent power management policies would go a long way toward better energy efficiency, I'd think. Purchasing some new computers might help there, too. To boot, the desktops could be "hibernated", etc, whereas the ESXi server is going to have to remain running all the time if all 4 "virtual desktops" have to remain available 24 x 7.

It seems like a lot of complication for not a lot of gain.

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Thank you, Evan, for the link to wpkg. I hadn't heard of this before. Purchasing new hardware is something I'm trying to avoid. – user23248 Nov 9 '09 at 18:57

You can use a simple terminal server software such as ThinServer. There's no need for expensive server OS. It runs on XP and Windows 7

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That product looks like it almost certainly violates the Windows EULA. – Zoredache Nov 23 '09 at 4:11

Nope, read the EULA carefully. Windows 7 EULA section 3.f allows it. As long you properly licensed. That's why there ARE other product such as

But thinserver seems the cheapest

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