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BonoMan
Feb 20, 2002


Jade Ear Joe

I have a question about centralized computing. Really just trying to wrap my head around the concept before getting too granular.

We are a 40 person ad agency and are currently working in office. We're working with Teradici to get some remote workflows going for our higher end workstations (VFX and graphics work) and at the same time have closed a satellite office but kept the employees. So naturally they'll go remove too.

We have an MSP starting this year who is going to redo our infrastructure and get a proper VPN for those remote employees from the satellite office.

But then I got to thinking, instead of just VPN access which will still be bogged down by their slow internet speeds... why not also have them on the Teradici workflow. We'd essentially house their iMacs here and they could remote in via the zero client on their machines at their home. That way there is no slowdown from transferring large files over the VPN.

Then I took the thought a step further and was starting to wonder about centralizing a lot of our compute power here. I think smaller VMs would be fine for a lot of the task oriented employees around here, but does anybody have any experience with centralized computing for heavier graphic design level work? Rather than just some iMacs sitting in an array (which is certainly an option), I'd love a power clean rack mounted system.

Or does the price to scale a centralized system big enough to handle large amounts of RAM/GPU needs/etc just become way more expensive than just buying separate computers?

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Internet Explorer
Jun 1, 2005


Most of my career has been what you described. Some flavor of Citrix, Remote Desktop Services, VDI, etc. Not on the heavy graphics front, but virtualized GPUs seem pretty much like a solved problem these days.

I will tell you this. It will not be any cheaper than buying individual computers, so if that is your goal, walk away now. If you're looking to work with very large files over slower internet, or working with applications that don't behave well across a WAN, then what you are describing can be a compelling solution.

I'm not well informed on how Macs get virtualized like you're describing. I am sure there are solutions out there. My advice would be to not worry about building or hosting your own and start looking at cloud providers. For example, in the Windows world, you can spin up an Azure VM with a graphics card and use it in Azure Windows Virtual Desktop.

Start with a proof of concept and test extensively. Keep in mind that if these are persistent VDIs, you will need to maintain them just like you do physical computers. Apply updates, install apps, etc.

BonoMan
Feb 20, 2002


Jade Ear Joe

Internet Explorer posted:

Most of my career has been what you described. Some flavor of Citrix, Remote Desktop Services, VDI, etc. Not on the heavy graphics front, but virtualized GPUs seem pretty much like a solved problem these days.

I will tell you this. It will not be any cheaper than buying individual computers, so if that is your goal, walk away now. If you're looking to work with very large files over slower internet, or working with applications that don't behave well across a WAN, then what you are describing can be a compelling solution.

I'm not well informed on how Macs get virtualized like you're describing. I am sure there are solutions out there. My advice would be to not worry about building or hosting your own and start looking at cloud providers. For example, in the Windows world, you can spin up an Azure VM with a graphics card and use it in Azure Windows Virtual Desktop.

Start with a proof of concept and test extensively. Keep in mind that if these are persistent VDIs, you will need to maintain them just like you do physical computers. Apply updates, install apps, etc.

Thanks for that info! And I wouldn't be the one to do this because it's way beyond my knowledge - just was a thought experiment I was running to (maybe) inform a conversation with our MSP when that gets kicked off later next month.

Definitely seems like the best option would be to keep individual computers here (especially since we're a small company and we're talking ... like... 4 or 5 macs at most) and just use a Teradici or HP ZCentral style remote workflow.

Still, though, as just a nerd I'm kind of curious and might go down some rabbit holes later just to get some more info.

Internet Explorer
Jun 1, 2005


I think that's a reasonable approach. Lots of people start off with a similar route. The one thing I would keep in mind is how yo handle hardware failure. Just like a normal device in a user's hands, you'll want to be able to swap out hardware and restore the user's environment as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Also, I think there are colos out there that provide hardware like Macs and handle racing them, replacing them, etc. I'd look into see if that's possible to use, so you're not responsible for swapping hardware or dealing with power/internet/AC in the office server room.

BonoMan
Feb 20, 2002


Jade Ear Joe

Internet Explorer posted:

I think that's a reasonable approach. Lots of people start off with a similar route. The one thing I would keep in mind is how yo handle hardware failure. Just like a normal device in a user's hands, you'll want to be able to swap out hardware and restore the user's environment as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Also, I think there are colos out there that provide hardware like Macs and handle racing them, replacing them, etc. I'd look into see if that's possible to use, so you're not responsible for swapping hardware or dealing with power/internet/AC in the office server room.

Well if we do it here with the macs, it'd literally just be in the room next door (our "design den") and I would be here to handle any hardware quick fixes. But the idea of a colo that handles macs is interesting. Instead of virtualizing it... just a place where we could lease the hardware/software and insure it's up to date would be nice and a welcome departure from me just yelling down the hall "who has the oldest mac here that needs updating?"

edit: But they'd still need, in any situation, a decent monitor to match the Retina monitor. Hmm.

GreenNight
Feb 19, 2006
Turning the light on the darkest places, you and I know we got to face this now. We got to face this now.

We have a rack of CAD desktops that engineers Teamviewer into for Solidworks work. Great times.

Thanks Ants
May 21, 2004

Bless You Ants, Blants



BonoMan posted:

edit: But they'd still need, in any situation, a decent monitor to match the Retina monitor. Hmm.

We used to plug these into Mac minis that didn't have a display connected to be able to use a decent resolution when connecting to them remotely, as well as kicking the video acceleration on

https://www.amazon.com/fit-Headless-GS-resolution-emulator-game-streaming/dp/B01EK05WTY

Internet Explorer
Jun 1, 2005


BonoMan posted:

Well if we do it here with the macs, it'd literally just be in the room next door (our "design den") and I would be here to handle any hardware quick fixes. But the idea of a colo that handles macs is interesting. Instead of virtualizing it... just a place where we could lease the hardware/software and insure it's up to date would be nice and a welcome departure from me just yelling down the hall "who has the oldest mac here that needs updating?"

edit: But they'd still need, in any situation, a decent monitor to match the Retina monitor. Hmm.

If excellent visual clarity is a concern, that can also be an issue as, unless you go crazy out of your way, you are dealing with lossy compression when it sends the visuals across the WAN.

BonoMan
Feb 20, 2002


Jade Ear Joe

Internet Explorer posted:

If excellent visual clarity is a concern, that can also be an issue as, unless you go crazy out of your way, you are dealing with lossy compression when it sends the visuals across the WAN.

Yeah this is why we're going the Teradici or HP ZCentral route (most likely Teradici). They specialize in this kind of workflow for visually critical roles.

NevergirlsOFFICIAL
Apr 24, 2004



Internet Explorer posted:

I will tell you this. It will not be any cheaper than buying individual computers, so if that is your goal, walk away now.

I want to learn more about this because I'm looking at a 200-endpoint job where horizon+dumb terminals ends up about $100k cheaper, back of the cocktail napkin.

SamDabbers
May 26, 2003




It's pretty hilarious that we've come full circle back to the mainframe computing model. What's old is new again.

NevergirlsOFFICIAL
Apr 24, 2004



SamDabbers posted:

It's pretty hilarious that we've come full circle back to the mainframe computing model. What's old is new again.

I don't think we have really. Most of the places I work with (small shop, remember) are doing local computing, laptop + 365.

SamDabbers
May 26, 2003




Sure it's not one-size-fits-all, but VDI is applicable and used in many situations across all sizes of enterprise. I don't work in small shops anymore but when I was MSPing I did work with a few who went all in on VDI for <100 users.

Internet Explorer
Jun 1, 2005


NevergirlsOFFICIAL posted:

I want to learn more about this because I'm looking at a 200-endpoint job where horizon+dumb terminals ends up about $100k cheaper, back of the cocktail napkin.

Hey, sorry, got real busy at work and now my brain is mush.

Without looking at your numbers, I would say most people underestimate the soft costs.

My first question would be $100k cheeper, amortized over how long? My next question would be to make sure you are not underestimating the hardware needed. Most VDI solutions are going to need some serious IOPs. Are you doing persistent VDIs or non-persistent VDIs, because both come with their drawbacks. If persistent, you are going to need all the tools to deploy software updates and manage updates as you would with PCs. If non-persistent, you are going to need a lot more knowledgeable engineering building, admin, maintaining, and even supporting users on that infrastructure. Even something as simple as, you can no longer rely on Event Logs on individual VDIs, you are going to have to aggregate them somewhere. Then, consider any video streaming needs, video conferencing needs, scanning needs, home printing needs. All of that gets way more complicated in VDI.

I have been a Citrix architect/engineer/admin most of my life. Started with Metaframe XP on Windows 2000 servers, up to XenDesktop 7.8 on Win10 non-persistent VDIs using Citrix Provisioning Services and everything in-between. The last place I worked was a 100 person law firm, so generally a fairly ideal use of VDI due to the knowledge-worker type needs. Before I left there, I was trying to get us to laptops with modern SaaS apps. It's too hard to find someone knowledgeable with that type of enterprise setup who also wants to work at a 100 person company, let alone a law firm. They really lucked out when they hired me, because their poo poo was a mess and I fixed it all up, but from a business continuity perspective it was a ticking timebomb waiting for me to leave or get hit by a bus.

[Edit: I would strongly, strongly consider something like Azure Windows Virtual Desktop over setting up your own VDI infrastructure.]

Internet Explorer fucked around with this message at 18:06 on Feb 4, 2021

codo27
Apr 21, 2008



I'm so loving tired of loving with printer IP addresses. Last I did any research I thought I read there was no way to disable this new windows WSD port that ruins everything, anyone have any tips to stop computers from losing contact with a printer who's IP hasn't changed at all?

NevergirlsOFFICIAL
Apr 24, 2004



Internet Explorer posted:

Hey, sorry, got real busy at work and now my brain is mush.

Without looking at your numbers, I would say most people underestimate the soft costs.

My first question would be $100k cheeper, amortized over how long? My next question would be to make sure you are not underestimating the hardware needed. Most VDI solutions are going to need some serious IOPs. Are you doing persistent VDIs or non-persistent VDIs, because both come with their drawbacks. If persistent, you are going to need all the tools to deploy software updates and manage updates as you would with PCs. If non-persistent, you are going to need a lot more knowledgeable engineering building, admin, maintaining, and even supporting users on that infrastructure. Even something as simple as, you can no longer rely on Event Logs on individual VDIs, you are going to have to aggregate them somewhere. Then, consider any video streaming needs, video conferencing needs, scanning needs, home printing needs. All of that gets way more complicated in VDI.

I have been a Citrix architect/engineer/admin most of my life. Started with Metaframe XP on Windows 2000 servers, up to XenDesktop 7.8 on Win10 non-persistent VDIs using Citrix Provisioning Services and everything in-between. The last place I worked was a 100 person law firm, so generally a fairly ideal use of VDI due to the knowledge-worker type needs. Before I left there, I was trying to get us to laptops with modern SaaS apps. It's too hard to find someone knowledgeable with that type of enterprise setup who also wants to work at a 100 person company, let alone a law firm. They really lucked out when they hired me, because their poo poo was a mess and I fixed it all up, but from a business continuity perspective it was a ticking timebomb waiting for me to leave or get hit by a bus.

[Edit: I would strongly, strongly consider something like Azure Windows Virtual Desktop over setting up your own VDI infrastructure.]

great info thank you!!!!

redeyes
Sep 14, 2002
I LOVE THE WHITE STRIPES!

codo27 posted:

I'm so loving tired of loving with printer IP addresses. Last I did any research I thought I read there was no way to disable this new windows WSD port that ruins everything, anyone have any tips to stop computers from losing contact with a printer who's IP hasn't changed at all?

I have no idea what you are on about but you can type add a new 'Port' which is set to the IP you need. Then you select this port on the printer in question and you get the goods.

BonoMan
Feb 20, 2002


Jade Ear Joe

redeyes posted:

I have no idea what you are on about but you can type add a new 'Port' which is set to the IP you need. Then you select this port on the printer in question and you get the goods.

Yeah can you just... not use WSD and manually add TCP/IP ports? that's what I do

codo27
Apr 21, 2008



Thats exactly what I do but then after a while Windows inevitably replaces the IP port with this WSD poo poo

redeyes
Sep 14, 2002
I LOVE THE WHITE STRIPES!

codo27 posted:

Thats exactly what I do but then after a while Windows inevitably replaces the IP port with this WSD poo poo

Whats likely happening is after an update Windows is re-adding the printer. I don't have problems anymore, in the early days of Windows 10 it was worse because updates would trigger it to re-add all the printers.

bolind
Jun 19, 2005




Pillbug

Is there a simple SaaS issue tracker that'll let my users authenticate with their Google G Suite Basic accounts?

Me and my partner-in-crime have been using Github's Issue tracker for a few months, and that functionality would be perfect, but I'd rather not maintain Yet Another Account System.

Thanks Ants
May 21, 2004

Bless You Ants, Blants



Freshdesk is free for (very) basic functionality, and you can sign in with Google accounts.

Also it's pretty good, which helps.

NevergirlsOFFICIAL
Apr 24, 2004



Google forms

mllaneza
Apr 28, 2007


Veteran, Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force, 1993-1952





BonoMan posted:

Well if we do it here with the macs, it'd literally just be in the room next door (our "design den") and I would be here to handle any hardware quick fixes. But the idea of a colo that handles macs is interesting. Instead of virtualizing it... just a place where we could lease the hardware/software and insure it's up to date would be nice and a welcome departure from me just yelling down the hall "who has the oldest mac here that needs updating?"

Fun fact: you can fit two Mac Minis into a 1U rack, this explains the form factor change from taller and lower footprint to lower and wider.

https://www.sonnettech.com/product/rackmacmini.html

Internet Explorer
Jun 1, 2005



I just saw this today. Does Google Workspace have a ticketing system..? I could not find anything else about it at all.

https://support.google.com/a/answer/150561?hl=en

NevergirlsOFFICIAL
Apr 24, 2004



no

BonoMan
Feb 20, 2002


Jade Ear Joe

We are a 40 person ad agency with a few remote employees.

One of the new employees is trying to convince my bosses to stop using our internal NAS and instead move everything to a paid Google Drive.

This is about 7-10TB of data and are heavy files (large movie, photoshop, XD files that reference 100 other files, etc).

Not only do we have plans to put a big new server in place - but this is just a bad idea in general right? I can't imagine using Google Drive for a "working" file server for thousands of large files, etc.

What other ammo can I use other than speed (I mean this means that in house folks are having to access the files via internet now instead of our NAS right there)?

Spring Heeled Jack
Feb 25, 2007


I bet you will have hella file conflicts for the larger files. And then there’s performance problems. You change a file like that, it will have to sync to Drive and then down to everyone’s PC who is using that file.

It may make sense for some smaller operational stuff like office docs and PDFs.

What problem is he trying to solve with Drive? That’s the real thing. Is he proposing this as some sort of solution to a problem or just wants to switch to Drive ‘because’?

Thanks Ants
May 21, 2004

Bless You Ants, Blants



The Adobe documentation has said “lol we support nothing except local storage” for years now but that’s just not practical. I wouldn’t say Google Drive is the ideal service for this, maybe you could use that for all your general file storage and something like Frame.io for media.

BonoMan
Feb 20, 2002


Jade Ear Joe

Spring Heeled Jack posted:

I bet you will have hella file conflicts for the larger files. And then there’s performance problems. You change a file like that, it will have to sync to Drive and then down to everyone’s PC who is using that file.

It may make sense for some smaller operational stuff like office docs and PDFs.

What problem is he trying to solve with Drive? That’s the real thing. Is he proposing this as some sort of solution to a problem or just wants to switch to Drive ‘because’?

I don't even know. I mean right now we have 3 people working remote and don't have a great solution. They just access our internal servers via a web interface. Not great but serviceable since we have our new MSP installing a real VPN finally.
But even then our real solution - which I have proposed twice already - is going to be the Teradici/ZCentral style remote access. Since the only people that really need remote access are designers and potential VFX stuff later.

We have a robust infrastructure for our high end video production (100tb central storage fed to our machines via 10gbe) that we're going to mimic for our print/web/interactive design groups.

I have a whole masterplan and a MSP to implement it. And even still someone goes "why not use G Drive for everything" and I want to go kick a loving trashcan because then the bosses are like "yeah why DONT we just use G Drive for all of our incredibly intensive and incredibly large media projects?"

I think I finally talked them off the ledge just pointing out how dumb it is. I mean it's something a small startup would do for their office files. Not a massive media operation. Jesus.

Thanks Ants posted:

The Adobe documentation has said “lol we support nothing except local storage” for years now but that’s just not practical. I wouldn’t say Google Drive is the ideal service for this, maybe you could use that for all your general file storage and something like Frame.io for media.

I think Adobe actually technically supports network storage with this latest CC release. But even so that's just for local storage and not using G Drive as a solution. But as I was saying above... we actually *have* an infrastructure. But the new guy gets inconvenienced with the hobbled remote workflow and suddenly wants to move the entire agency to g drive... it's just mind boggling. We also use Frame.IO in our production department but that's just for client revisions/feedback/etc.

MF_James
May 8, 2008
I CANNOT HANDLE BEING CALLED OUT ON MY DUMBASS OPINIONS ABOUT ANTI-VIRUS AND SECURITY. I REALLY LIKE TO THINK THAT I KNOW THINGS HERE

INSTEAD I AM GOING TO WHINE ABOUT IT IN OTHER THREADS SO MY OPINION CAN FEEL VALIDATED IN AN ECHO CHAMBER I LIKE


I was going to say Datto workplace is pretty decent but with the amount of data and file sizes you're talking about it's probably not a good fit.

BonoMan
Feb 20, 2002


Jade Ear Joe

MF_James posted:

I was going to say Datto workplace is pretty decent but with the amount of data and file sizes you're talking about it's probably not a good fit.

No we're good - we have a solution. It's just me trying to convince the higher ups who chase shiny objects that Google Drive is *not* the option ha.

MF_James
May 8, 2008
I CANNOT HANDLE BEING CALLED OUT ON MY DUMBASS OPINIONS ABOUT ANTI-VIRUS AND SECURITY. I REALLY LIKE TO THINK THAT I KNOW THINGS HERE

INSTEAD I AM GOING TO WHINE ABOUT IT IN OTHER THREADS SO MY OPINION CAN FEEL VALIDATED IN AN ECHO CHAMBER I LIKE


BonoMan posted:

No we're good - we have a solution. It's just me trying to convince the higher ups who chase shiny objects that Google Drive is *not* the option ha.

Yeah I don't think ANY cloud storage is going to fit the bill unless you pay $texas$ (comparatively speaking) for WAN and storage costs

Thanks Ants
May 21, 2004

Bless You Ants, Blants



There's also a huge data security bonus that comes with using PCoIP in that assets likely covered by an NDA with your clients aren't sat on a PC in someone's house, and you aren't having to ship workstations around and manage servicing them in the field.

NevergirlsOFFICIAL
Apr 24, 2004



BonoMan posted:

We are a 40 person ad agency with a few remote employees.

One of the new employees is trying to convince my bosses to stop using our internal NAS and instead move everything to a paid Google Drive.

This is about 7-10TB of data and are heavy files (large movie, photoshop, XD files that reference 100 other files, etc).

Not only do we have plans to put a big new server in place - but this is just a bad idea in general right? I can't imagine using Google Drive for a "working" file server for thousands of large files, etc.

What other ammo can I use other than speed (I mean this means that in house folks are having to access the files via internet now instead of our NAS right there)?

I think looking at a cloud storage solution is a good idea. Google Drive nah but in general, look into it. Here's what I would do if I were you

1. have the new employee lead pilot group for this. use just one project as a pilot test.
2. see how it goes lol

The biggest problem you're gonna have is the links but also users syncing locally and then suddenly carrying 10tb of local storage which they almost certainly don't have.

I have a few creatives to support and a lot of them use https://www.photoshelter.com/. I haven't used it myself but they all like it enough to pay for it so... might be worth a check. Also... look at adobe creative cloud.



Either way: you don't want to look like the rear end in a top hat sysadmin that's shooting down the new employee with new ideas.

Thanatosian
Apr 16, 2013

Angrier, Bitterer Man


Grimey Drawer

Thanks Ants posted:

There's also a huge data security bonus that comes with using PCoIP in that assets likely covered by an NDA with your clients aren't sat on a PC in someone's house, and you aren't having to ship workstations around and manage servicing them in the field.

I'm with Thants. You should look at something like Citrix or Microsoft's new virtual desktop. Leave all of your processing power on the same physical network as your storage, should speed things up a lot, and you don't get any surprise bills for massive cloud storage/processing. Plus the data security bonus. Only downside is your users need a reliable internet connection for this, but honestly, most virtual desktop software is more reliable over a bad connection than most database front-ends, or even file transfers over poo poo connections. It's win-win. Plus, you can ship out thin clients or minimalist thick clients to users, or even let them use their personal devices if they want to.

Thanatosian fucked around with this message at 03:31 on Feb 18, 2021

BonoMan
Feb 20, 2002


Jade Ear Joe

Yeah sorry I think I must have worded it confusingly... We aren't looking for a solution. We have it already. This guy just came in somehow wanting to upend it with his suggestion to use google drive and I was just venting at how stupid it was.

Thanks Ants
May 21, 2004

Bless You Ants, Blants



Technical explanations tend not to scare C-levels away from bad ideas, but security concerns and the chance of lawsuits or losing clients seems to do the trick.

bolind
Jun 19, 2005




Pillbug

Any idea why I'm seeing only 2-300 mbits to GCP Belgium, while both I and an instance in GCP Belgium can test close to a gigabit towards the same (3rd party) iperf3 server?

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Thanks Ants
May 21, 2004

Bless You Ants, Blants



What happens if you go from GCP to you? Do you have the traceroutes?

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