Linked by Nik Tripp on Mon 2nd Mar 2009 21:40 UTC
SuSE, openSUSE IT solutions companies have been generating lots of buzz regarding thin clients basically since the early 1990s, but have yet to really penetrate into many suitable environments. These relatively cheap computer appliances carry broad promises like energy efficiency, space efficiency, and centralized maintenance and data storage. These claims could sound like the computer industry equivalent of snake oil. Kiwi-LTSP, a combination of KIWI imaging technology and Linux Terminal Server Project, is one open source solution for thin client servers.
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Each PC connects to the server and boots his snapshotted cloned Windows XP over the network via iSCSI. No hard drive needed.

We looked into doing something similar when we first embarked on our thin-client setups. However, we gave up on the idea of network booting Windows stations, as you still need a full install of Windows for each computer (or each class of hardware anyway). And all the management tools still required Windows. And all the licensing costs involved. We stopped looking at Windows solutions very early on, as we could not afford the licensing or hardware costs to run Windows XP.

We do use FreeBSD + ZFS for our backups server, though, for all the data safety and snapshotty goodness that ZFS provides. Rsync + ZFS snapshots makes for an amazing backup system for Unix. We backup 85 Linux and FreeBSD servers every night to our FreeBSD box, take a snapshot of it, and transfer the snapshot off-site during the day to another FreeBSD box. So far, we have 6 months of daily backups for all those servers, with the individual files easily accessible via the shell. ZFS just makes life so much simpler. ;)

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