Ideas for setting up a network in my clinic [closed]

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QUESTION :

I have a clinic with 6 machines connecting to a server. All these machines use Windows XP. It’s a desktop application for recording patient activities.

5 machines are active throughout the day, but all they do is just enter records into the server. All these machines have a CPU which takes up power resources.

I want to make these machines thin clients with just an interface and all processing should take place on the server. How can I make this possible, involving least costs?

ANSWER :

Your 5 data-entry machines are already sunk costs, and they already have processors that are central to their operation, and there’s no way around that. Even if you made them into a kind of virtual terminal using Citrix or something, they’d still be running their processors. And honestly, the extra layer of abstraction would probably make them use more processor power rather than less.

I don’t see a way to save money here until these systems reach the end of their lifecycle. Then you could replace them with the cheapest, lowest-power, dumbest terminals your patient-activity-recording software can support. Until then, I doubt that the electricity cost savings would outweigh the cost of replacing the PC hardware with thin clients or dumb terminals that use less power. On the other hand, going to a non-Windows-PC solution could probably save administrative costs (less sysadmin work and no malware or other security worries/costs with diskless dumb terminals that don’t run a well-known, often-attacked OS). But does your patient activity recording software run on anything other than Windows?

There’s plenty of new thin-client solutions available (again) these days.

It’s being referred to as Desktop Virtualization. This is provided/supported by your “VDI” (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure).

The “easiest” is going to be a basic RDS (Windows Remote Desktop Services). I say “easiest” based on you saying you already have “a server” and “Windows”, and thick clients. You can replace most of the thick clients with pretty cheap ‘thin-clients’ these days, on a need-to basis.

Your program has to be multi-user aware (so people’s settings don’t get mixed upon the server), and it’s graphical needs would need to be considered.

If you need (or software requires) separation of machines, then you may need to consider Virtual Machine solutions along with Virtual Desktop.

Check out VMWare’s View (with PCoIP), as well as MS’s MultiPoint solutions and various “Zero Client” options (clients with no CPU). Windows 2008R2 with an advanced RDS setups will get you most of the way as well. Let’s also not forget Citrix.

Then remember all your peripherals. All printers, label printers, and scanners (etc.) will need to be network attached, especially as the clients get ‘thinner’.

Costing will vary on what you need, have, and want. 😉

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