Now, depending on your age, this next task may be more difficult for some than others. Take your mind back to the days of mainframe computers. Those green screen systems with nothing but text on the monitors.
These systems were essentially the first “terminal servers” of their day. All the brain functions of the system were accomplished on the server and fed to each terminal screen over the network. The terminals themselves really didn’t do much of anything except display information from the server.
Nowadays it’s nearly the same, except those terminals now have colorful screens, a mouse, sound and more. The servers have become insanely more powerful, faster, smaller and more efficient. The concept really hasn’t changed, however.
The servers still do nearly all of the work while the terminals (your desktop, laptop, mobile device etc) simply connect to the server and bring you all the applications you need to do your job.
So will a terminal server help your business?
That’s a question only you can answer but here are some of the advantages that a terminal or remote desktop server will bring to your organization:
Work from anywhere – Yes, that’s right! Because everything you need is installed on the server instead of on your computer, you can connect from anywhere with an internet connection and be up and running. Great for your mobile work force or staff working from home.
Work from any device – You can use a Mac, Windows PC, iPad, and even your smartphone if you can deal with such a small screen. Because the server has everything you need, the operating system on the device you’re connecting from is irrelevant. As long as it has a remote desktop client program (they all do) then you’re good to go.
Spend less money on your computers – The bean counters in your company will love this! Since your computers are no longer doing all the work, or have to be upgraded constantly with newer versions of software, you can replace them less frequently. When you do replace them, you can purchase less expensive ones, too.
Save on software costs – You only need to purchase the software and licensing for the server, instead of all the computers. Note you will still need to purchase licenses for the number of users connecting but that can cost less in many cases.
Save on IT costs – Being an IT business owner I don’t always like to mention this part but you’ll actually save money on IT costs with a terminal server. Since all your programs are in one place, it means we only have to update one system instead of all the computers at your office individually. If something isn’t working right, we fix it once and it’s magically fixed for everyone.
OK so by now you’re probably running to the phone or to your computer to contact your IT company to get going on this. Wondering why you didn’t do this years ago. Congratulations! You’ve just made a great decision for your business!
So is there anything bad about using a terminal server in your office? Well… not really, but there is a wee little problem that can be addressed by spending some extra dollars to get a good server and hiring an even better IT company to set up and manage it…
If something goes wrong with the server, EVERYONE is affected. Productivity basically comes to a standstill. This is why you must spend a bit more money to get a very reliable and beefed up server to handle the load of all your staff using it simultaneously and to ensure it stays running 24/7/365.
You (or your IT company) also need to make sure that all of the software you use from day to day will actually work on a terminal server. Some software just isn’t written to work in a multi-user environment and simply won’t function.
This is something you need to discuss with the vendor for your particular software package. Most of the major software vendors out there do support this and pretty near every Microsoft product will, including of course Microsoft Office.