I'm in the process of building the architecture for a new SMB. Some decisions have already been made, but I'm looking for some input from the community.

Basically, the fundamental problem I'm trying to solve is how to run the required Windows-applications on the clients.

The hardware I have to play with are as follows (already purchased):

  • ~15 Mac Mini clients
  • Two (relatively) powerful KVM/Qemu hosts (running Ubuntu)

The two primary alternatives I'm evaluating are either running Windows 7 in VMware Fusion and run the applications locally or spinning up a Windows-server (Win2k12) and use Terminal Server to run the applications on the server.

It should also be mentioned that some of the applications require local hardware (USB hardware locks and other peripherals). I know this works under Fusion, but I'm not too sure it will work under RDP.

While solutions like Citrix are appealing from a technical point of view, the pricing is simply too steep for such solution to be relevant.

We've already been running Fusion on the Mac Minis for evaluation for a few months, but the result isn't overwhelmingly impressive, and we've seen a fair number of crashes.

My question is really if anyone else have any similar experience and what the pros/cons they ran across were.

The primary benefit with running the remote desktop solution would be that in the future, thin clients could be used. Also, since no (essential) data would be stored on any individual node, they are more or less disposable.


Are there any required MacOS applications? Because if not, I'd say just run Windows as the sole OS on those Mac minis and be done with it. There's no need to manage a dual OS environment when the business revolves around a few niche Windows apps. And definitely chastise the person who purchased the hardware because they clearly didn't have the business' real needs in mind.

  • Some of the work is done in the browser, and there are a few semi-essential Mac-apps running. I really want to avoid having to administrate Windows-machines (just the idea gives me migrane). I much rather administrate Mac OS X or Linux boxes. Hence, if I can isolate windows to either a dedicated VM or Terminal Server, that's what I would prefer. – vpetersson Nov 1 '12 at 16:35

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