Anonymous_User Absent Member.
Absent Member.
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Telecommuting Ideas?

Our company is seriously looking at allowing, possibly even requiring,
office worker to telecommute. I'm all for the idea, but not as
all-encompassing as the owner is picturing. I'd like some feedback on ideas.
Basically, we're replaicing our SQL-Anywhere application for a web based
service. While this is our main application, we still have other
programs on users' computers (Office, GroupWise, GWIM, etc). My thinking
is that if we really expect folks to work telecommute full time, or even
the majority of the time, our one-man IT staff (meaning me) is going to
be unable to keep up. Hiring more IT people would be counter-productive
(the idea is to cut down costs).
Because of this, my thinking is that even though the primary app is
web-based, we'd still be better off if the "computer" the remote user is
using is actually on our premises - Terminal Services, Citrix, or even
Virtual PC's.
I'm actually leaning towards the latter for a number of reasons. Each
"PC" is bascally isolated. A user screwing up his "pc" doesn't affect
the others the way TS or Citrix can. "Repair" would be simplified -
simply copy the original install image back to the virtual PC if there
are problems. All "maintenance" would be local. The only requirements
for the end user is a PC with an RDP client, and a network connection.
Thoughts?
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9 Replies
Anonymous_User Absent Member.
Absent Member.

Re: Telecommuting Ideas?

Herb Parsons <hparsonsat@o2lpmdot.com> wrote in news:aHyXi.1030$7U6.792
@kovat.provo.novell.com:

> I'm actually leaning towards the latter for a number of reasons. Each
> "PC" is bascally isolated. A user screwing up his "pc" doesn't affect
> the others the way TS or Citrix can. "Repair" would be simplified -
> simply copy the original install image back to the virtual PC if there
> are problems. All "maintenance" would be local. The only requirements
> for the end user is a PC with an RDP client, and a network connection.
> Thoughts?


Do it.

It is easy, and the required software can be on a USB stick or Live CD.
It can be very secure if done properly. DO NOT use basic VNC as bots are
actively looking and cracking tcp 5900 all the time.
You have lots of options.

--
Ciao, Dave
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Anonymous_User Absent Member.
Absent Member.

Re: Telecommuting Ideas?

Not every program works well with Citrix or remote PC setup .. some glitxhes
you have to test around...

I would suggest setting up 2 test groups .. get some 180 day licences and
get feedback....

You can of course skew the results anyway you want, but the best option I
found was to have several solutions ...

The web based solution, maybe using ifolder for example willbe much cheaper
than a citrix based solution .. andstill keeps things clean....

With citrix, you will be spending 20 hours a day troubleshooting Citrix
problems ... and printing is a pain in the uknowwhat.


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Anonymous_User Absent Member.
Absent Member.

Re: Telecommuting Ideas?

incognito wrote:

> With citrix, you will be spending 20 hours a day troubleshooting Citrix
> problems ... and printing is a pain in the uknowwhat.


Both of these points were true with earlier Citrix versions, but not so
much for the current versions--especially the troubleshooting part. The
only time I have to do Citrix troubleshooting is when one of the
following two happens:

1) The VMware environment is having issues--and that's not a Citrix problem.

2) Some user is having problems with his/her Internet connection and
believes it's Citrix. Again, that's not a Citrix problem.

And printing is much improved in Presentation Server 4.0... I can only
imagine it's even *better* in 4.5.

--
Joe
"Those of you who think you know everything are annoying to those of us
who do."
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Anonymous_User Absent Member.
Absent Member.

Re: Telecommuting Ideas?

I'd say if you are even considering RDP at all, and the company (meaning
bigshot bosses) may even REQUIRE it, go with Citrix.

If for no other reason, if you do experience problems you can always say "I
went with the very best available software for this. I can only imagine how
bad brand X would have been !!!"




"Herb Parsons" <hparsonsat@o2lpmdot.com> wrote in message
news:aHyXi.1030$7U6.792@kovat.provo.novell.com...
> Our company is seriously looking at allowing, possibly even requiring,
> office worker to telecommute. I'm all for the idea, but not as
> all-encompassing as the owner is picturing. I'd like some feedback on
> ideas.
> Basically, we're replaicing our SQL-Anywhere application for a web based
> service. While this is our main application, we still have other programs
> on users' computers (Office, GroupWise, GWIM, etc). My thinking is that if
> we really expect folks to work telecommute full time, or even the majority
> of the time, our one-man IT staff (meaning me) is going to be unable to
> keep up. Hiring more IT people would be counter-productive (the idea is to
> cut down costs).
> Because of this, my thinking is that even though the primary app is
> web-based, we'd still be better off if the "computer" the remote user is
> using is actually on our premises - Terminal Services, Citrix, or even
> Virtual PC's.
> I'm actually leaning towards the latter for a number of reasons. Each "PC"
> is bascally isolated. A user screwing up his "pc" doesn't affect the
> others the way TS or Citrix can. "Repair" would be simplified - simply
> copy the original install image back to the virtual PC if there are
> problems. All "maintenance" would be local. The only requirements for the
> end user is a PC with an RDP client, and a network connection.
> Thoughts?


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Anonymous_User Absent Member.
Absent Member.

Re: Telecommuting Ideas?

On Mon, 05 Nov 2007 06:25:10 +0000, Herb Parsons wrote:

> A user screwing up his "pc" doesn't affect the
> others the way TS or Citrix can.


Well, while it's possible to screw up a Citrix server, it's still rather
difficult. Especially if you are using Windows 2003 and make them a
member of the Remote Desktop Users group and not Administrators that
should prevent such problems. Depending on how many users you are going
to do you could even contemplate a Citrix farm. Even if your farm is just
two servers, and both are VMs on a single physical box, at least if one
user finds a way to take down one of the Citrix servers you'd still have
the other one up without having to pay for the additional hardware of
another physical box.

--
Joe
"Those of you who think you know everything are annoying to those of us who do."

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kathcarruthers Absent Member.
Absent Member.

Re: Telecommuting Ideas?

VMware has a thing for that too. Virtual desktops on a central server.
I saw it working with a USB security/access thingy when I was doing
consulting. We were mostly trying to sell the USB thing, but it could
hook up to a desktop or vmware virtual desktop with a single password.

Kathryn Carruthers
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Anonymous_User Absent Member.
Absent Member.

Re: Telecommuting Ideas?

If the laptop that is given to staff is locked down well, is set up to
be managed by ZENworks for software, and uses a VPN tunnel to connect
to the office the only increase in support calls would be related to the
VPN connectivity wouldn't it? Besides the network connection there isn't
much difference between a home laptop and a work desktop I don't think. I
find home internet connections to be less reliable due to cheap hardware
which needs to be powered off and on and the wiring in some neighbourhoods
have problems in rain, ice storms, and with vehicles hitting telephone
poles. I would try and put as much of the software onto the laptops as
possible for uptime reasons or have a place at the office to plug in when
the home network is down.

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Anonymous_User Absent Member.
Absent Member.

Re: Telecommuting Ideas?

John Yorke wrote:
> If the laptop that is given to staff is locked down well, is set up to
> be managed by ZENworks for software, and uses a VPN tunnel to connect
> to the office the only increase in support calls would be related to the
> VPN connectivity wouldn't it? Besides the network connection there isn't
> much difference between a home laptop and a work desktop I don't think. I
> find home internet connections to be less reliable due to cheap hardware
> which needs to be powered off and on and the wiring in some neighbourhoods
> have problems in rain, ice storms, and with vehicles hitting telephone
> poles. I would try and put as much of the software onto the laptops as
> possible for uptime reasons or have a place at the office to plug in when
> the home network is down.


We didn't plan on laptops. The owner's original plan was to provide the
users with workstations. My experience is that no matter how
emphatically you tell a user that this computer is for work only, it
just doesn't happen. Rather than bring laptops in, or make housecalls to
workstations, my plan is to have virtual PC's running at the office. The
user logs in using their own computer (and we don't care what it's got
on it, as long as it can run the appropriate client).

That means we don't get their viruses, spyware, or their junked up
favorites. It also means we don't have to worry about their kids
downloading the latest pirated music files, or hosing up the system we
provided them with. More than anything else, it means "repairing a
system" amounts to copying the image file back to the virtual host, and
starting it up.

All we have to worry about is whether or not they have an internet
connection (we're going to have that issue no matter what we do), and
whether or not they can run the client software.

All of our programs would be installed on the virtual PC they're running.

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Anonymous_User Absent Member.
Absent Member.

Re: Telecommuting Ideas?

What software will you use to provide telecommuters remote desktops?

Regards
Carlos



>>> Herb Parsons<hparsonsat@o2lpmdot.com> 05/11/2007 04:48 p.m. >>>

John Yorke wrote:

> If the laptop that is given to staff is locked down well, is set up to
> be managed by ZENworks for software, and uses a VPN tunnel to connect
> to the office the only increase in support calls would be related to the
> VPN connectivity wouldn't it? Besides the network connection there isn't
> much difference between a home laptop and a work desktop I don't think. I
> find home internet connections to be less reliable due to cheap hardware
> which needs to be powered off and on and the wiring in some neighbourhoods
> have problems in rain, ice storms, and with vehicles hitting telephone
> poles. I would try and put as much of the software onto the laptops as
> possible for uptime reasons or have a place at the office to plug in when
> the home network is down.


We didn't plan on laptops. The owner's original plan was to provide the
users with workstations. My experience is that no matter how
emphatically you tell a user that this computer is for work only, it
just doesn't happen. Rather than bring laptops in, or make housecalls to
workstations, my plan is to have virtual PC's running at the office. The
user logs in using their own computer (and we don't care what it's got
on it, as long as it can run the appropriate client).

That means we don't get their viruses, spyware, or their junked up
favorites. It also means we don't have to worry about their kids
downloading the latest pirated music files, or hosing up the system we
provided them with. More than anything else, it means "repairing a
system" amounts to copying the image file back to the virtual host, and
starting it up.

All we have to worry about is whether or not they have an internet
connection (we're going to have that issue no matter what we do), and
whether or not they can run the client software.

All of our programs would be installed on the virtual PC they're running.
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