Author Topic: Windows Server as a desktop OS?  (Read 14553 times)

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Offline Ampera

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #50 on: January 14, 2017, 08:51:25 pm »
The only issues I have had are with problems with Windows 10 anyways over 7.

Examples: DSR doesn't work on Windows 10

Touhou 6 doesn't want to work Either  :(

Yes there are a lot of issues with Windows 10, especially when it comes to GPU drivers. For the DSR issue, nVidia fixed that in their drivers for Windows 10. I can't verify this as I don't currently own any nVidia cards.

The latest issue I have had with Windows 10 (latest insider preview) is that some native win32 applications with built in memory protection does not work. Get Memory Acces Violation error. :-D

Anyone still on Windows 7 should stay there if it works great, until Windows 10 matures a bit ( maybe in 1-2 years, or never ;-) )  :-DD

I'd go straight back to Windows 2000 if I could.
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Offline rrinker

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #51 on: January 14, 2017, 09:03:58 pm »
 The backup in 2016 Essentials is MUCH improved, although the one in 2012 should be pretty much like the one in WHS, which I find to be totally transparent, I never see it, yet all my machines are backed up. And I sometimes am awake at odd hours so it's not just that I happen to always be away when the machine is backed up. I haven't used Essentials in any version, but for WHS, you can just pick any of the backups and mount it as a drive to copy files off - also doesn't matter that the backups are all differential, it automatically retrieves all the files as of the date of the backup you are trying to restore from. It also does an automatic dedupe, so that 15GB of Windows system files on each of 5 desktops doesn't consume 45GB of backup space.

 And remote access is slow? Over what sort of like? RDP is pretty darn fast with almost no lag over the connection speed most people can get these days. Locally, as in over a LAN connection, it's utterly seamless. I probably do 80% or more of my job via RDP so I'm not constantly driving around to client locations (or flying, since I support clients as far away as Las Vegas, and I live near Philadelphia).

 Granted I've been working with this since before Windows 3.1, but the WHS (and I can't imagine Essentials is any worse - it was designed for use by non-IT people) is absolutely hands off. Once in a while I may peek in on it to see how it is running, but the client will notify me if anything goes wrong, so there really is no reason for me to log in to it unless I want to add another drive.

 

Offline slicendice

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #52 on: January 15, 2017, 01:10:10 am »
The backup in 2016 Essentials is MUCH improved, although the one in 2012 should be pretty much like the one in WHS, which I find to be totally transparent, I never see it, yet all my machines are backed up. And I sometimes am awake at odd hours so it's not just that I happen to always be away when the machine is backed up. I haven't used Essentials in any version, but for WHS, you can just pick any of the backups and mount it as a drive to copy files off - also doesn't matter that the backups are all differential, it automatically retrieves all the files as of the date of the backup you are trying to restore from. It also does an automatic dedupe, so that 15GB of Windows system files on each of 5 desktops doesn't consume 45GB of backup space.

 And remote access is slow? Over what sort of like? RDP is pretty darn fast with almost no lag over the connection speed most people can get these days. Locally, as in over a LAN connection, it's utterly seamless. I probably do 80% or more of my job via RDP so I'm not constantly driving around to client locations (or flying, since I support clients as far away as Las Vegas, and I live near Philadelphia).

 Granted I've been working with this since before Windows 3.1, but the WHS (and I can't imagine Essentials is any worse - it was designed for use by non-IT people) is absolutely hands off. Once in a while I may peek in on it to see how it is running, but the client will notify me if anything goes wrong, so there really is no reason for me to log in to it unless I want to add another drive.

 :-+

RDP is fast enough, there are however some screen transfer protocols that require much less bandwidth due to much better compression. I use RDP daily over LAN, WLAN and LTE, and in some rare cases over some slow HSDPA, no issues at all. Sometimes I use VNC and Teamviewer too, all 3 perform essentially the same.
 

Offline orin

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #53 on: January 15, 2017, 06:56:49 am »
The backup in 2016 Essentials is MUCH improved, although the one in 2012 should be pretty much like the one in WHS, which I find to be totally transparent, I never see it, yet all my machines are backed up. And I sometimes am awake at odd hours so it's not just that I happen to always be away when the machine is backed up. I haven't used Essentials in any version, but for WHS, you can just pick any of the backups and mount it as a drive to copy files off - also doesn't matter that the backups are all differential, it automatically retrieves all the files as of the date of the backup you are trying to restore from. It also does an automatic dedupe, so that 15GB of Windows system files on each of 5 desktops doesn't consume 45GB of backup space.

 And remote access is slow? Over what sort of like? RDP is pretty darn fast with almost no lag over the connection speed most people can get these days. Locally, as in over a LAN connection, it's utterly seamless. I probably do 80% or more of my job via RDP so I'm not constantly driving around to client locations (or flying, since I support clients as far away as Las Vegas, and I live near Philadelphia).

 Granted I've been working with this since before Windows 3.1, but the WHS (and I can't imagine Essentials is any worse - it was designed for use by non-IT people) is absolutely hands off. Once in a while I may peek in on it to see how it is running, but the client will notify me if anything goes wrong, so there really is no reason for me to log in to it unless I want to add another drive.

 :-+

RDP is fast enough, there are however some screen transfer protocols that require much less bandwidth due to much better compression. I use RDP daily over LAN, WLAN and LTE, and in some rare cases over some slow HSDPA, no issues at all. Sometimes I use VNC and Teamviewer too, all 3 perform essentially the same.


I've written an RDP client and server.  Unfortunately, I've not had the opportunity to implement the latest version... as shipped with Windows 10, it's an order of magnitude better than the version I wrote!  I know the compression was improved* and they've done something with fonts as they are much clearer when connecting to a Windows 10 machine compared to connected to a Windows 7 machine.

Certainly, I can now work at home over RDP and barely notice the difference.  At work, I have a test virtual machine (running on a different computer) and occasionally get confused as to which machine I'm on - my real PC or the virtual machine over RDP.


*my implementation of the original RDP bitmap compression actually did better than Microsoft's for one of the fist bitmaps that was usually sent.  Unfortunately, the Microsoft client didn't like it and I had to detune my code if I knew I was talking to a Microsoft client!
 

Offline Howardlong

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #54 on: January 15, 2017, 09:33:33 am »
And remote access is slow? Over what sort of like? RDP is pretty darn fast with almost no lag over the connection speed most people can get these days. Locally, as in over a LAN connection, it's utterly seamless. I probably do 80% or more of my job via RDP so I'm not constantly driving around to client locations (or flying, since I support clients as far away as Las Vegas, and I live near Philadelphia).

 Granted I've been working with this since before Windows 3.1, but the WHS (and I can't imagine Essentials is any worse - it was designed for use by non-IT people) is absolutely hands off. Once in a while I may peek in on it to see how it is running, but the client will notify me if anything goes wrong, so there really is no reason for me to log in to it unless I want to add another drive.

I'm not sure anyone said RDP was slow, but I may have missed it. It can be in edge cases, with graphical monitorig tools for example which continually update lots of chrome (I am thinking Spotlight for SQL Server as one that immediately comes to mind which can almost kill a 10Mbps RDP connection over a WAN).

My history of RDP goes back to Citrix over VPNs in 1997. That really was bleeding edge, running VPN global links over the internet with unbonded ISDN as backup. I didn't even know RDP existed prior to Citrix. What I didn't like about the remote access solution is that despite the wizards it's fiddly to set up and over-complicated for a home remote access solution. In fact I can't remember ever getting its gateway solution to work properly, perhaps it was the old GRE protocol routing problem that's pervaded PPTP since the year dot.

What is slow is the Windows client backup on WSE, I don't know if it's improved since 2012 though. The product I use uses VSS and can do an incremental backup of a drive in a couple of seconds if nothing's changed. It doesn't scan the whole disk, it uses VSS to identify changes. Even running a full backup it's three or four times faster than WSE client backup. You can either restore a full volume, or mount the backup at any point (I take half hourly incrementals, weekly full).

I wanted it to work, I much prefer to use products in the way they're designed and leverage their native features, but I'm afraid I found that WSE fell very short of what can be achieved with other means. I does make a fast file server though, but then I could use a headless Windows desktop OS for that in my home office.
 

Offline rrinker

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #55 on: January 16, 2017, 12:57:22 am »
 Someone said slow remote access.

 RDP didn't exist before Citrix - my history with this goes back to the days of having a rack mount chassis with multiple single board systems in the backplain each running DOS and Windows 3.1 connected to a similar rack chassis full of modem cards, using stuff like PC Anywhere. And then the very first Citrix product, WinView - which was OS/2 based. Stuck with Citrix through the years, I even was at their Florida HQ for training when Winframe (that one used NT Server) was beta. At the time, it would sell itself - we build a demo box good for 5-10 users and would loan it out as a trial to prospective clients. I built a new one probably a dozen times as once most clients had it that just wanted to buy it and not give it back. We also did joint presentations with Citrix people where we had a WAN simulator with selectable speed from 9600 all the way up to full T1 to like the two routers, and compared Citrix client to a normal fat client.
 The came Microsoft with their own version of the Citrix ICA protocol - RDP. It was a bit of an unsure period until Microsoft and Citrix joined in cross licensing agreements and the end result was you had RDP included for free (but had to pay for licenses) if you wanted just the basic functionality, but if you really wanted the better protocol plus better management of multiple users  - you added Citrix (and still had to pay Microsoft for the remote user client CALs...). That's pretty much the way it still is, native RDP and the Remote Desktop role on the servers is usualy equivalent of a version or 2 back on Citrix, Citrix meanwhile has greatly expanded into other areas like virtual desktops and content delivery.

 

Offline orin

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #56 on: January 16, 2017, 05:11:01 am »
Someone said slow remote access.

 RDP didn't exist before Citrix - my history with this goes back to the days of having a rack mount chassis with multiple single board systems in the backplain each running DOS and Windows 3.1 connected to a similar rack chassis full of modem cards, using stuff like PC Anywhere. And then the very first Citrix product, WinView - which was OS/2 based. Stuck with Citrix through the years, I even was at their Florida HQ for training when Winframe (that one used NT Server) was beta. At the time, it would sell itself - we build a demo box good for 5-10 users and would loan it out as a trial to prospective clients. I built a new one probably a dozen times as once most clients had it that just wanted to buy it and not give it back. We also did joint presentations with Citrix people where we had a WAN simulator with selectable speed from 9600 all the way up to full T1 to like the two routers, and compared Citrix client to a normal fat client.
 The came Microsoft with their own version of the Citrix ICA protocol - RDP. It was a bit of an unsure period until Microsoft and Citrix joined in cross licensing agreements and the end result was you had RDP included for free (but had to pay for licenses) if you wanted just the basic functionality, but if you really wanted the better protocol plus better management of multiple users  - you added Citrix (and still had to pay Microsoft for the remote user client CALs...). That's pretty much the way it still is, native RDP and the Remote Desktop role on the servers is usualy equivalent of a version or 2 back on Citrix, Citrix meanwhile has greatly expanded into other areas like virtual desktops and content delivery.


When I came in, it had been standardized as ITU-T T.128 - which dates back to 02/98.  It's the document I used to implement a client when the Microsoft documentation was insufficient.  And in fact, was the document I used to implement the bitmap compression (Section 8.17.2 in the version you can currently down load for free).  Eventually Microsoft produced better documentation.  There's an awful lot of lower level setup going on to get a T.128 connection up and running and a lot of it was hard-coded in Microsoft RDP, a fact admitted to in later documentation.  The worst thing they did was embed an RSA key in the RDP application.  Of course, the bad guys could find it and implement a man in the middle attack.  My client still runs, though for Windows 8 onwards, I had to disable 32bpp - they came up with a new compression scheme for 32bpp bitmaps and as far as I was concerned, didn't do it in a backward compatible manner.
 

Offline Nomsot

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #57 on: January 16, 2017, 09:16:12 am »
It is interesting. I also want to do so.
 

Offline slicendice

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #58 on: January 16, 2017, 09:29:49 am »
It is interesting. I also want to do so.

Then first download a trial of Windows Server 2016 Essentials (180day trial free of charge)

Install it, configure it for your needs, and install all apps you need and verify that all works as expected.

If all is good, purchase it ( ~$500 for dual core licence and ~$800 for unlimited core license, not sure what the price is if you have 2 CPUs, I guess it's 2 x $800 then, Essentials won't run on a Quad CPU system).

Make sure that the computer you are going to install the Server OS on will not be replaced anytime soon. You have to purchase a new licence if you build a new computer, the purchased licence can not be transferred to a new computer.

Alternatively you could test out the Standard edition of Windows Server, but be aware that the price goes up and you also have to pay CAL licences once you purchase it.
 

Offline Howardlong

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #59 on: January 16, 2017, 10:42:59 am »
We also did joint presentations with Citrix people where we had a WAN simulator with selectable speed from 9600 all the way up to full T1 to like the two routers, and compared Citrix client to a normal fat client.

Citrix WinFrame was pretty groundbreaking, although nowadays things have moved on to VDI. Having said that there seems to be increasing noise from container style sandboxed virtualisation.

The biggest problem we found back then with Citrix were:

o Lack of sandboxing
o Amount of regression testing and tweaking to get your application to work reliably
o Memory restrictions in the x86 32 bit regime

However it was the difference between being able to provide the service, or not.

I fondly remember having to jet around the world in November and December 1999 to Y2K patch all those systems. Jacksonville FL, Frankfurt, Milan, Singapore and Tokyo in three weeks.
 

Offline rrinker

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #60 on: January 16, 2017, 03:33:21 pm »
 The biggest problem with Citrix back in the day were applications that INSISTED on writing to the Windows\System folder instead of the user's profile folder. Even single user applications (which most things were) that did that were already violating Microsoft's design guidelines. Even worse were all the HP printer drivers that did the same. The only other issue I had was an early deployment where the business used a custom dBase IV application (DOS) to run everything - most DOS programs use a simple loop when waiting for keyboard input and on a multitasking system like Windows this makes a mess of things - it worked great for the first pilot site, but as soon as the second site went live, it stopped working.  An old utility called TAME fixed it and we were able to get the expected number of users on each CItrix server.

 As to licensing - the new licensing is all core-based, which is how Microsoft decided t make up the revenue as processors gained more and more cores, liek some of those 18 core server CPUs. Most of the per core licenses are for 2 cores - if you have a server with a quad core processor, you technically need 2 of the core licenses, or one processor license. If you have a 12 core CPU - that's 6 core licenses or 1 processor license. 2 CPUs, each with 4 cores, is 4x core licenses or 2x processor licenses. On some products, like SQL Server, you can adjust how many of the cpu cores it actually uses, and thus license appropriately.

 
 

Offline slicendice

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #61 on: January 16, 2017, 03:49:17 pm »
Core licenses are sold in packs of 4 so no matter if you have 1 or 4 cores you still need to buy a 4 core license. But that is only for Datacenter and Standard Servers, for the other server versions it's still CPU based. And the cheaper servers meant for small businesses and home use only support 2 physical CPUs, where Datacenter supports almost unlimited CPUs (not completely true, but you get the picture).
 

Offline rrinker

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #62 on: January 16, 2017, 03:57:48 pm »
 No, Core licenses for 2016 and SQL and most of the other servers are 2 packs. Per current Microsoft licensing documentation.
 Essentials is different, it's a special server licensing model.
 

Offline slicendice

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #63 on: January 16, 2017, 05:48:34 pm »
Aah, sorry my mistake, 2-packs, but the point stays the same. And yes the other servers are special servers. You don't need a CAL or even pay anything at all for SQL and you have the right to use it for your business. Only some advanced features regarding fail over and such are missing (others too, that a normal SQL mortal don't really need). :-)

EDIT: I talk about the free SQL server, there's no need to buy the most expensive one if a small business.
 

Offline slicendice

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #64 on: January 16, 2017, 06:23:10 pm »
We were both a bit off, here's the latest Server 2016 terms in PDF.

A minimum of 8-cores has to be purchased PER CPU, so this means at least 4 x 2-packs has to be purchased for single CPU computers and a minimum of 2 x 4 x 2-packs for a dual CPU system. So for a Dual CPU system you need a total of 16-core licence and 8-core for a single CPU. This was the part that confused me the first time. :-)

EDIT: I still got it wrong, a minimum of 16-core licences is required for each Server.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2017, 06:40:48 pm by slicendice »
 

Offline rrinker

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #65 on: January 17, 2017, 01:59:42 am »
 It changes daily, too. Or it seems like it. I don't know that we have anyone properly licensed for 2016 at this point, because it's rather unfair to have to buy 8 cores worth of licenses for a CPU that only has 4 cores. Not every client needs the latest 18 core monstrosity. But then again, even many smaller clients are going virtual. I'm pretty sure you don't need 4x 2 packs for a Server 2016 VM that gets assigned 2 cores from the hypervisor host pool.
 There used to be some crazy loopholes in SQL licensing that they closed, but still not nearly as onerous as Oracle. Back in the day there were plenty of applications that had a middleware server that made ONE connection to the free version of SQL (which has a 5 connection limit and also a limited DB size) and then allowed hundreds of clients to access the system. That is now definitely against the license terms. But for many people - SQL Express is actually plenty. Especially now that (for the past few versions) there is a management studio for it - there didn't used to be, and to install the full management studio required a regular SQL license.
 One of the real reasons they gave up on a lot of the per user licensing (the 'official' line is more like everything is cloud based now and why manage users you can't even count, just license the server!) is that they apparently never got it to work right. For RDP with or without Citrix, if you set the licensing to per user, it never checked. You could have 100 licenses but 200 users connect. There was a per workstation option with terminal services - the idea being that a company with 100 workstations running 3 shifts could use 100 licenses, not 300 because only 1/3 of the users could connect at a time. That setting DID work, you try to connect the 101st workstation and it would fail.  Even regular server CALs worked this way, set a server in per user mode and you could just type in any number you wanted, there was absolutely no validation. The terminal services licenses DID verify the number you had, it's just that the access to the system was not limited to the number of installed licenses. Ah those were the days.

 

Offline slicendice

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Re: Windows Server as a desktop OS?
« Reply #66 on: January 17, 2017, 06:22:35 am »
That's the thing... if you buy Standard Server, you get the rights for running 2 Servers, 3 if you run it as a host, but the host may only be used as Hyper-V if running 2 VMs, nothing else. So you need to buy the 16-cores minimum, no matter where you stick the OS. For Datacenter you get the right to run unlimited VMs and there is no other difference in Standard and Datacenter capabilities. It's a licensing thing only. Because of the capabilities of the 2 versions, it makes really no sense to install neither just as one single instance on a 2-core VM. You need at least 2 VMs to do anything useful with the servers, 4-20 servers if you actually have something that contains AD, SQL, IIS, and greater systems. For small server systems the specialty servers are more than enough. The new MS licensing since the updated terms, actually makes sense, and is not that expensive.
 


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