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Looking for some Advice about running a desktop app across the internet

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  • Looking for some Advice about running a desktop app across the internet

    I have developed and modified an application which has been in use now for over twenty years. The application is running across a LAN at one site, Runtime Shadowed, with probably 5-6 users all on at the same time, with two sites currently running the application each on a single computer.

    The company wants to have all software at it's new facility on it's own in house servers. I have been doing some reading on this board to see if a desktop application can be set up to run this way. Speed is important and there is a lot of data entry, local printing and emailing of reports as .pdf files. We have a gigabit network and performance is very good. It was not very good with a 100 mbps network, especially on the Win XP machines.

    I believe that the WEB solution is probably the way to go, but I do not have the expertise needed to redesign a desktop application into a WEB application. The desktop application has over 65 .DBF tables, 26 forms, 19 browses, 77 reports, 224 scripts/functions/toolbars. WEB based would require some form of SQL which I have almost no experience with.

    I see where a number of people use terminal services. I've heard of terminal services but do not quite know what it is. I'm looking into T/S now.

    In our situation, I could see where we would have possibly a total of 10 people logged in at a time. One locally, 1 each at two sites and 5-6 at the fourth site. There is to be a VPN connecting all the facilities.

    One site is in Florida and the others right know are in MA. In the future, we could be adding some additional sites. This is probably a lot to ask, but is this doable and still have good performance? Or would we be better off going WEB.
    Alpha 5 Version 11
    AA Build 2999, Build 4269, Current Build
    DBF's and MySql
    Desktop, Web on the Desktop and WEB

    Ron Anusiewicz

  • #2
    Re: Looking for some Advice about running a desktop app across the internet

    Terminal Services will work fine for this given a reasonable internet speed at the sites.

    Since you'll have multiple users at the 'central site' you may want to have a 3 tiered approach.

    1. local machine - each user connects to terminal services
    2. application machine - at central site that holds the Alpha software and runs for multiple users. This level may have multiple machines that you would have users assigned to. Add machines at this level as indicated by performance.
    3. data machine - at the central site that holds the data files that are shared by each application machine.

    An alternative to MS terminal services is here. http://tsplus.net/
    Al Buchholz
    Bookwood Systems, LTD
    Weekly QReportBuilder Webinars Thursday 1 pm CST

    Occam's Razor - KISS
    Normalize till it hurts - De-normalize till it works.
    Advice offered and questions asked in the spirit of learning how to fish is better than someone giving you a fish.
    When we triage a problem it is much easier to read sample systems than to read a mind.
    "Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler."
    Albert Einstein

    http://www.iadn.com/images/media/iadn_member.png

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Looking for some Advice about running a desktop app across the internet

      You can also use RemoteApp as a similar alternative to full terminal services.

      Essentially it's terminal services but without showing the users another full desktop in a window.

      RemoteApp can virtualize your Alpha Desktop App into what "looks like" a native desktop app... except under the hood it's the is using terminal services (RDP)

      Make sure you have Windows Server 2012 or greater, if you decide to try RemoteApp

      http://msgboard.alphasoftware.com/al....php?110740#20

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Looking for some Advice about running a desktop app across the internet

        I have several clients running on T/S on 2008R2 - have been for several years. However, ALL users are accessing thru T/S - no shadow. Even if they are 2 feet from the server.
        Cole Custom Programming - Terrell, Texas
        972 524 8714
        martin_w_cole@msn.com

        ____________________
        "A young man who is not liberal has no heart, but an old man who is not conservative has no mind." GB Shaw

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Looking for some Advice about running a desktop app across the internet

          Ronald,
          If you have a VPN, can't your remote users access the servers in the same way as local users? If so, you probably don't need T/S at all, and just have a runtime shadowed application at the remote sites mapping the server as a local drive. Maybe I'm way off base, b ut if it is possible, I recommend using as few extra layers of software as possible.

          Tom

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Looking for some Advice about running a desktop app across the internet

            Originally posted by Tom Henkel View Post
            Ronald,
            If you have a VPN, can't your remote users access the servers in the same way as local users? If so, you probably don't need T/S at all, and just have a runtime shadowed application at the remote sites mapping the server as a local drive. Maybe I'm way off base, b ut if it is possible, I recommend using as few extra layers of software as possible.

            Tom
            Yes they can, but should they? Probably not. Alpha (and many other systems) run much better on a local machine and the remote machine sees only the image of what is going on.

            This is a case where the extra steps/layers are well worth it.
            Al Buchholz
            Bookwood Systems, LTD
            Weekly QReportBuilder Webinars Thursday 1 pm CST

            Occam's Razor - KISS
            Normalize till it hurts - De-normalize till it works.
            Advice offered and questions asked in the spirit of learning how to fish is better than someone giving you a fish.
            When we triage a problem it is much easier to read sample systems than to read a mind.
            "Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler."
            Albert Einstein

            http://www.iadn.com/images/media/iadn_member.png

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Looking for some Advice about running a desktop app across the internet

              I agree with Al - using T/S and no shadow is a much better option
              Cole Custom Programming - Terrell, Texas
              972 524 8714
              martin_w_cole@msn.com

              ____________________
              "A young man who is not liberal has no heart, but an old man who is not conservative has no mind." GB Shaw

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Looking for some Advice about running a desktop app across the internet

                Thank you for your suggestions. I haven't commented as I have nothing to add, other than to listen to what board members have to say. I'm not sure where we are going with this yet, but I need some ideas when the time comes.

                Ron
                Alpha 5 Version 11
                AA Build 2999, Build 4269, Current Build
                DBF's and MySql
                Desktop, Web on the Desktop and WEB

                Ron Anusiewicz

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Looking for some Advice about running a desktop app across the internet

                  I would suggest going with either MS Terminal Services (MSTS)
                  or perhaps even cleaner, configure your Alpha front end to be published as a RemoteApp (almost the same thing as MSTS, without giving people a full additional desktop on the server, inside a window on their workstation).

                  May need a reasonably grunty server depending on how many MSTS RDP sessions you are handling at once (plus need to buy enough MS user licenses for the server).

                  The VPN idea might work well with mapped drive, but it depends if your VPN is fast enough in both directions.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Looking for some Advice about running a desktop app across the internet

                    When running T/S, can you print locally? Printing is a high priority in our business. Anywhere from a single page to a 50 page + invoice. Also, we need to be able to save reports as pdf's for emailing to customers. This is being done every day on our LAN.
                    Alpha 5 Version 11
                    AA Build 2999, Build 4269, Current Build
                    DBF's and MySql
                    Desktop, Web on the Desktop and WEB

                    Ron Anusiewicz

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Looking for some Advice about running a desktop app across the internet

                      printing to the default printer for the workstation is the default - thus you can also print/save to a pdf
                      Cole Custom Programming - Terrell, Texas
                      972 524 8714
                      martin_w_cole@msn.com

                      ____________________
                      "A young man who is not liberal has no heart, but an old man who is not conservative has no mind." GB Shaw

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Looking for some Advice about running a desktop app across the internet

                        Yes you can print to a local printer. With my experience with Server 2008, you had to install the printer driver (for the local printer) onto the remote server, to enable local printing from the RDP session (RemoteApp in my case).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Looking for some Advice about running a desktop app across the internet

                          incorrect
                          that was true for 2003 but not for 2008R2
                          not sure where you are getting your information from
                          Cole Custom Programming - Terrell, Texas
                          972 524 8714
                          martin_w_cole@msn.com

                          ____________________
                          "A young man who is not liberal has no heart, but an old man who is not conservative has no mind." GB Shaw

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Looking for some Advice about running a desktop app across the internet

                            first hand experience

                            EDIT: can't remember if it was 2008 or 2008R2

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Looking for some Advice about running a desktop app across the internet

                              Well - I have 3 clients using Server 2008R2, and have been for a few years, and they all are printing to their desktop default printer. Maybe your version of 2008 R2 is different in Australia. The US version handles it automatically. You don't have to install drivers on the server. But the US version of 2003 did require the drivers.

                              Just imagine - two countries have different versions of the same program!!
                              Cole Custom Programming - Terrell, Texas
                              972 524 8714
                              martin_w_cole@msn.com

                              ____________________
                              "A young man who is not liberal has no heart, but an old man who is not conservative has no mind." GB Shaw

                              Comment

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