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Need to run a Windows application remotely

Since it'd be too costly to rewrite a whole application for just a couple of customers who need to run our stand-alone app remotely... I'm thinking of those three solutions:
1. A good remote control application, either NetSupport Manager or Radmin (but the latter seems out of business; their web site hasn't answered for several days now)
2. Windows Terminal Services
3. Citrix metaframe on NT Terminal Server
4. Other?

Could anyone with good experience with this kind of tool tell me which to choose, considering the two locations are on ADSL (1024/256Kbps where the app will run, and 512/128Kbps from where the user will drive the app), and the customer is running Win2K servers at the main location? Thank you.

Fred
Thursday, March 11, 2004

How about VNC?

http://www.realvnc.com

K
Thursday, March 11, 2004

> remote control application

I've used pcAnywhere.

"Symantec pcAnywhere, the world's leading remote control solution*, ..."

*Source: 2002 IDC Worldwide Remote Control/Remote Access Software Product by Vendor by Market Share report

Christopher Wells
Thursday, March 11, 2004

For the record, I just spend half a day checking the different remote apps that were recommended here in past discussions, and the vast majority either sucked (web based, too slow, ugly video), where not available for trialware, or were too expensive.

VNC has to be the worst when it comes to performance, so there's no way a customer will work 8 hours a day through this thing.

PCAnywhere: I can't find how to download a trial version on this page:

http://nct.symantecstore.com/0001/pca11_trialware.html

Anybody with good experience with TS or Citrix?

Fred
Thursday, March 11, 2004

I second the suggestion of VNC, but take a look at the various VNC programs before deciding on one. Besides RealVNC there is:

http://ultravnc.sourceforge.net/
http://www.tightvnc.com
http://perso.wanadoo.fr/samfd/esvnc/
http://www.btinternet.com/~harakan/PalmVNC/ - A VNC Viewer for the Palm OS! Don't laugh it works. http://www.uk.research.att.com/vnc  -  the original VNC (the original developers now work on RealVNC, however)


As to PC Anywhere, I try to stay away from it. Depending on the system, I use VNC, PC Anywhere, Citrix and Terminal Services to connect to work for support duties. Bwtween VNC and PC Anywhere, VNC is the winner - hands down. Citrix and Terminal Services are nice too, but looking at cost/benefit/support issue, I still like VNC better.

RocketJeff
Thursday, March 11, 2004

PCAnywhere, VNC, gotomypc, and CarbonCopy all function as single user software - that is, they work as if a single user was sitting at the desktop, using the computer directly. As such, the computer would be unusable for other work (you actually see what the user is doing directly on the monitor)

Both Terminal Services and Citrix would be the better solution. Actually, Citrix is the best solution, because it is higher performing then terminal services, and can deal better with the higher latency you will see on a DSL line. Citrix is particularly better if your client is not using XP Professional, as there are significant differences between the remote desktop client with XP and terminal services clients on 95/95/Me/NT/2000.

It is more expensive, but in my mind, it is the best tool for the job.

Wayne Earl
Thursday, March 11, 2004

Check out: http://www.remoteworkplace.com
(secure VPN solution)

Try the demo link where you can test drive some MSFT applications that reside on their server.  I don't work for them but a friend of mine does.

QA911
Thursday, March 11, 2004

By the way...I do a lot of consulting work with companies that have distributed offices. If you want to discuss things further, feel free to email me through the forum.

Wayne Earl
Thursday, March 11, 2004

if PCAnywhere is slowed than VNC, this is scary :-)

Wayne: Any idea about the price for a single user for Citrix or TS, and how easy it is for a complete newbie to those things it is to set up?

Fred
Thursday, March 11, 2004

> PCAnywhere: I can't find how to download a trial version on this page

It seems you click on the "Buy now" link: their idea of a 'trial' is that you pay $20 for a 30-day license.

Christopher Wells
Thursday, March 11, 2004

Single user licenses for Terminal services are relatively cheap.  For Citrix, you need to purchase a 5-license pack with the media. Prices differ - you want to go to www.citrix.com, where they will refer you to a local reseller.  Citrix XPs (the standard edition) should be fine for a single server with little load.

Wayne Earl
Thursday, March 11, 2004

Thx Wayne. I'll see how to set up Citrix or Windows to act as Terminal Server (I assume "Terminal Services" means the same thing?), and give that remote control app a try.

Fred
Thursday, March 11, 2004

Fred,

What kind of connection are you using VNC with?

We have use it for remote support of our clients for the last two years over ADSL with no problems.

Canuck
Thursday, March 11, 2004

Standard 512/128. I tried RealVNC, UltraVNC, and TightVNC. The former seems OK, but all feel pretty sluggish, ie. I certainly wouldn't work 8h a day through this thing.

Fred
Thursday, March 11, 2004

You might try "Remote Office", some fairly new remote terminal software that's made available to Delphi developers for incorporation into Delphi apps, but which also has fully capable prepackaged versions.

I've heard good things about it.  You can try it out for free at: http://www.deltasoft.hr/remote/

Herbert Sitz
Thursday, March 11, 2004

I use PCA,  / RDP / TS / CITRIX and TightVNC on a daily basis on the LAN and via residential DSL over VPN.

* PCA is utter and complete crap.  Don't bother.  there is a flaw in that software in which it will overwrite the default MS Login screen (MSGINA / AWGINA)  It killed one of my machines.

* VNC is decent but too definitely too slow.  The only plus is that it's a bit lighter on system resources than the others.

* RDP / TS / Citrix is the way to go, we moved all our remote machines from PCA to TS and couldn't be happier.

Sassy
Thursday, March 11, 2004

Windows XP has built-in support for RDP, so you wouldn't need to install Terminal Server on Windows 2k.  And the client is free.  I don't think it's encrypted though and neither is VNC.  But you could tunnel over a VPN for that too.

Jeremy
Thursday, March 11, 2004

I'll throw in for TS (or Citrix).  VNC, PCA etc feel "average", to put it mildly, if you're used to TS. 

BTW it is ordinarily encrypted.

Motown (AU)
Thursday, March 11, 2004

  http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/termserv/termserv/remote_desktop_web_connection.asp 

Windows Terminal Server and Remote Desktop Web Connection. Pretty fast, in my experience. (Being ActiveX, its as good as a "client".). You can roll out your own access point over the web, and your clients can use your application from anywhere.

I use it heavily to access my colo box, both from work and home and on the move.

Regards

KayJay

KayJay
Friday, March 12, 2004

The RDC client is a free download and works on Windows 2000, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows NT, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP and Windows XP Media Center Edition.
It works extremely well, even over "bad" connections. I have used VNC also, and really there is no comparison. VNC feels like stone age tech compared to RDC.

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=a8255ffc-4b4a-40e7-a706-cde7e9b57e79&displaylang=en

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, March 12, 2004

Thx everyone for the tip about TS :-)

For those interested, XP comes with the TS server. All you have to do, is activate this part on the XP host, and download the RDC client here:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/downloads/recommended/tsac/

Fred
Friday, March 12, 2004

Fred,

I've rercommended/installed/used Terminal Services at several clients and at my own workplace, starting with Win NT 4.0 Terminal Server Edition and now using WIn2K3 TS.

It works very well. For what you are trying to do, that would probably work great.

TS is a dumbed-down version of the Metaframe technology that Microsoft has licensed from Citrix.  Citrix gives better load balancing, server farming, remote printing, and the ability to copy files between the host and remote computer (I can see an option to connect local drives in RD setup, but I don't see how it works).

Citrix also costs about $5,000 to buy on top of your Windows Server license.  With Win2K and Win2K3, TS is built-in and licenses are about $100 each.

For your needs, I don't see that Citrix will be necessary.

HTH,

Karl Perry
Friday, March 12, 2004

Thx Karl :-) I'm so glad we seem to finally have found a solution, short of rewriting the app to make it low-latency-compatible. We'll try to test the connections over the two ADSL lines this week.

Fred
Friday, March 12, 2004

Has anyone tried Tarantella's Canaveral iQ? Supposed to be cheaper then Cytrix.

Mark
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Canaveral iQ *IS* cheaper than Citrix, by A LOT.  CiQ has been described by some as "80% the functionality of Citrix, at about 50% of the cost."  I was able to get a 5-user license for much less than Citrix would have cost. 
Citrix seemed onerous with regard to the support contract.  So far, I'm impressed with CiQ; it's got its idiosyncracies, but the newsgroup support and the documentation is pretty good.  I opted to run it in a production setting without additional support.  I figured that I'd be able to handle most of the problems.  Though I've dabbled in TS, I was unfamiliar with CiQ.  I found it to be fairly straight-forward.  Tarantella has a public newsgroup to which one can post, and a number of the respondents are qualified Tarantella/CiQ engineers.  They have a downloadable, fully-functional trial program (it's really just their program with a 30-day trial time built-in.  Once you decide you want it, just install the license you buy and you're up and running).   

Jim Graue
Tuesday, April 13, 2004

We are running a software application remotely with a 5-license TS. Users can generate a report with this software and it will display the results in a new application window.
Here lies the problem, sometimes the report shows up on a different users' remote desktop display, as if the session tracking made an error. Am I to blame the TS session tracking, or the application software?
I figured any software could be run remotely since it was based on the user who is logged in using it, but that seems to not be true. Any ideas would be appreciated.

I am not a windows user so if you have experience using TS on W2003 Server, with WinXP RDP clients, I would appreciate it.

Thanks.

Brian P Bohnet
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

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