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Hey, these actually work!

I'm definitely a fan of server-based solutions...I just hope that my early positive results are borne out over the next month.
Written by Christopher Dawson, Contributor

OK, so I've only rolled out a third of the thin clients planned for my school, but they're actually working.  Not that I didn't expect them to work, but they're working really well.  As Marc Wagner has pointed out, networking will most likely be my nemesis here and a few bottlenecks to fix have become apparent.  However, the real power of server-centric computing became apparent when one of our business teachers asked when we'd be rolling out Office 2007.  I logged her into one of the thin clients in her lab and said "Right now...".  One install and it was done.

A student piped in and asked about OpenOffice.  Already installed.  Firefox?  Done.  Install once, make sure all of your accounts are up and running and your boxes are secure, and you're golden.  The caveat here, of course, is that thin clients aren't for everyone or every situation.  They certainly do solve some management problems, though.  I'm just one guy, so the fewer machines I have to administer, the better.  We don't even have anyone to administer machines in any meaningful way at our elementary schools.  Imagine what a server-based solution could do in a setting like this?

A single point of administration for client computers that have very low usage demands (i.e., basic word processing, Internet access, etc.), particularly administration that can be done remotely with the right networking configuration, would be a dream for districts that lack appropriate IT support (and there are a lot of us).

This is going to be a short post since I have about 400 accounts to create in Active Directory before Monday.  I'll keep you posted though, as we ramp up all of the thin clients.  Hopefully our first experience last week with a fraction of the clients will be a solid barometer for things to come.

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