Post a new topic
    5 Replies Latest reply on Oct 4, 2011 9:18 AM by Moderator_MoniE

    Pros and Cons to switching over to a Terminal Server???

    DianaBSCS Wayfarer

      Our tech support company is suggesting a possible switchover to a Terminal Server system.

       

      What are the pros and cons???  Advice???

        • Re: Pros and Cons to switching over to a Terminal Server???
          LUCKIEST Guide

          Tell us more.  Who are you and where is the company located??

          What is your position withinh the company??

          • Re: Pros and Cons to switching over to a Terminal Server???
            Navigator

            Hi Diana! I would love to be of assistance to you but you really haven't provided enough technical information to get more specific responses. Some helpful information would be:

             


             

            -What type of network/communication system do you currently have in place?

            -What is going on that would make them think a terminal server would be a good choice or solution for you?

            -Are there any extenuating circumstances such as them being unable to troubleshoot your issues or will this be an additional cost?

            -How are you defining "Terminal Server"?

             


             

            Until you can provide more information, I will give you the best information I can under the circumstances! I am a bit confused as to why tech support would suggest that you implement a terminal server because, by my understanding, terminal servers (serial servers) are old technology. A terminal server allows several devices to be connected to a network.  This device has several serial ports that the devices can be connected to, and then some type of a network port.  The number of serial ports depends on the make and model of the server.

             


             

            Pros:

            • Allows a single user to easily communicate to multiple serial devices.
            • Allows multiple users to connect to multiple devices at the same time.

             

            Cons:

            • Without inline repeaters, maximum distance of devices to the terminal server is about 25’.
            • Serial terminal servers are considered a legacy device.  In other words, they are no longer made, nor have technical support from the manufacturer.
            • There is little in the way of network security on serial terminal servers.

             

             

            The security issue itself is a big enough deal to warrant serious thought before jumping in. I would definitely do more research before making any decisions. As I said before, with more specific information, you may get more specific responses from the community! For now, I hope this helps!

             

            ~Moni

            1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • Re: Pros and Cons to switching over to a Terminal Server???
                DianaBSCS Wayfarer

                Thank you for the information you have given me so far...  In answer to your questions:

                 

                -What type of network/communication system do you currently have in place?

                     WDWS Small Business Server

                 

                -What is going on that would make them think a terminal server would be a good choice or solution for you?

                     1. We were told better protection against hacker and viruses to the workstations.

                     2. Easier to maintain updates/patches.

                     3. Remote access capability provides complete access to one's desktop

                 

                -Are there any extenuating circumstances such as them being unable to troubleshoot your issues or will this be an additional cost?

                     No

                 

                -How are you defining "Terminal Server"?

                     Device which the workstations connect to.  Workstations will look the same.  Applications loaded on terminal server.  Workstations become "dumb" terminals.

                  • Re: Pros and Cons to switching over to a Terminal Server???
                    Navigator

                    Hi Diana! Sorry for the delayed response. I don't always get to the forums as much as I would like to! I have been thinking about this and there is another type of 'terminal server' that is a little more current than the older technologies I was thinking about earlier. It mainly allows remote users to connect to a single windows box and establish virtual sessions. You can use something like Citrix or you can use something like Microsoft's Terminal Server. Both have a long list of Pro's and Con's and without knowing what the end requirements or intended results needed are, here are some of the most notable for each.

                     


                     

                    Citrix: Can be accessible via a simple web page. The user hits the web page, downloads the client and authenticates themselves. Once authenticated, the screen appears as if they are sitting in front of a different computer. The user has access to all applications installed on the server that they are granted permission to use, they can browse the net or do whatever they need to accomplish. Depending on which version of Citrix they are using, they may or may not be able to upload any data from their machine to the Citrix server, or bring anything from the terminal session down to their PC.

                     


                     

                    Windows Terminal Server is a dedicated server that runs the terminal server application as a service. The user connects to the server via an application call Remote Desktop Connection, which is a component of the Windows Operating system. Like Citrix, they log on to the server, and once authorized, their screen disappears and they are running a virtual session on that server.

                     


                     

                    Both can handle multiple users simultaneously, both require some sort of host device to act as a central operations point (to provide a remote user desktop) and both can be used on the internet. However, I'd caution against using Windows Terminal Server as I don't believe the network traffic is encrypted by default.

                     


                     

                    I would further advise the use of complex passwords, or possibly an RSA token (unique password generated every 60 seconds), if this is to be used outside, on the internet. However, if this is internal to a small company or even in a home environment, it can be set up pretty much any way you feel comfortable.

                     


                     

                    The disadvantage to both is that they both cost money. There is open source, third party terminal server software out there, but I don't know much at all about it. I occasionally see it when I'm looking for system utilities out on www.sourceforge.com. They have all kinds of free or very low cost stuff out there.

                     


                     

                    It does sound like, based upon the needs you listed, a terminal server could work for you in providing remote access and maintaining updates, however, I personally believe the only thing that protects against having a system compromised by unwanted individuals is doing your due diligence by proactively utilizing difficult passwords that are changed frequently and other security measures. Only you can make the decision about whether or not a terminal server will be right for your business/situation but hopefully this helps you to make an informed decision.

                     


                     

                    If you have any other questions, please let me know! Best of luck to you!

                     


                     

                    ~Moni