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Switching to Terminal Server

  • 1.  Switching to Terminal Server

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 18 days ago
    Hello
    We currently are running GP 2018 installed on indiv. devices of 25 users.  We are considering switching to run GP on a terminal server.
    What are the pros and cons of this switch.

    Thanks for any input!



    ------------------------------
    Mary Mallazzo
    Fromkin Brothers
    Edison NJ
    ------------------------------
    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 2.  RE: Switching to Terminal Server

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 15 days ago
    Hi Mary,

    I'd suggest testing it with a few users first.  We did so and found that GP ran too slow over our terminal server.  I was disappointed because it would certainly have made updates/upgrades less painful.

    Be careful of the printer setups though or your users may accidentally print jobs to unexpected destinations on the network.

    Cheers,

    ------------------------------
    Don McCready
    Retired Controller and IT Director
    The Schaefer Group, Inc.
    Beavercreek OH
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 3.  RE: Switching to Terminal Server

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 15 days ago
    Thank you Don.

    ------------------------------
    Mary Mallazzo
    Fromkin Brothers
    Edison NJ
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 4.  RE: Switching to Terminal Server

    Posted 15 days ago
    Hi Mary,

    We've deployed GP in over 100 terminal server implementations, so I can speak a bit to this.

    Pros -
    Much, much easier to update. You only have one or two copies of GP to update.

    Having it on a TS back end can enable you to use things like RemoteApp, so you can deploy just an icon that starts a whole session. Makes it easy for folks as they don't have a separate "logon" to another system.


    Cons -
    Printing. Printing in GP on a terminal server has gotten better over the years, but it can still trip you up if you have older printers. We've been using a product called ThinPrint to fix most of the issues we've run into.

    Resource contention - You'll need to make sure that you spec out your terminal server correctly. 25 users can comfortably sit on a single VM, just give it enough resources. You'll want to be sure that you don't run your SQL server and Terminal server on the same VM. You can get away with it for 5 users or so but with 25, you'll want a dedicated machine.

    Also -- if you're using any third party products, make sure that you check with them to make sure that they will work OK on a terminal server. I haven't run into anything that hasn't worked, but I've had to tweak a few smaller vendors tools to make them work right.



    ------------------------------
    Steven Vallarian
    Information Technology Manager
    Central Service Association
    MS
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 5.  RE: Switching to Terminal Server

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 15 days ago
    Thank you Steven.

    ------------------------------
    Mary Mallazzo
    Fromkin Brothers
    Edison NJ
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 6.  RE: Switching to Terminal Server

    GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 15 days ago
    Hi @Mary Mallazzo,

    In my previous job, we had well over 25 users using Dynamics GP and Sales Pad on one terminal server. Out of the 30 users or so, we had about 15 different printers across 12 locations to print to. You want to allocate a lot of RAM to the server. As far as printing goes, we purchased a piece of software called Terminal Works. It's not very expensive and it will resolve all your printing issues. https://www.terminalworks.com/remote-desktop-printing

    I would definitely recommend that product. ​

    ------------------------------
    Christine Boisvert
    Technical Sales / Report Trainer
    Vivid Reports
    Winnipeg MB
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 7.  RE: Switching to Terminal Server

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 15 days ago
    Thank you Christine

    ------------------------------
    Mary Mallazzo
    Fromkin Brothers
    Edison NJ
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 8.  RE: Switching to Terminal Server

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 15 days ago
    Here are some the pros that I have found:

    1. Applying service packs and doing upgrades will be much easier.  Upgrade the SQL server and terminal server(s) and you are done compared to upgrading 25 individuals workstations.
    2.  Converting to Terminal Server eliminates having to upgrade workstations when they no longer meet system requirements.
    3.  Load balancing can be setup with the Terminal servers, assuming you would have more than one, to help spread the work.
    4.  All that is needed on the individual user desktop is a Remote Desktop Connection thus eliminating the need to load other software.




    ------------------------------
    Jim DelMonte
    Dynamics GP Manager
    Groupe Stahl
    Mentor MI
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 9.  RE: Switching to Terminal Server

    GPUG ALL STAR
    Posted 15 days ago
    Hi Mary,
    All very good answers so far. If I'd have to weight in all the pro's & con's of Terminal Server / Citrix vs. local client, I'd still find more positive points for the TS setup, as it removes so many hassle when it comes to deploy GP clients / apply updates or service packs.

    If you have more than 25-30 users, I strongly suggest to setup more TS server to load-balance the demand over multiple systems. That can be done equally well with Citrix or Microsoft RDP (resource pool).

    There are also other pitfalls you need to be aware when running all the users from a single machine, as GP wasn't meant for a multi-user environment, it doesn't save the settings by individual users, unless you force it to do so. See my blog post from 2014 about that topic.
    https://dyngpgeek.wordpress.com/2014/07/25/using-dynamics-gp-in-a-citrix-ts-environment/

    Hope this helps.

    ------------------------------
    Beat Bucher
    Business Analyst, Dynamics GP SME
    Montreal QC/Canada
    @GP_Beat http://www.gp-geek.com
    Montreal QC GPUG Chapter Leader
    MBS MVP (2015-2018)
    All-Star 2013
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 10.  RE: Switching to Terminal Server

    Posted 14 days ago
    I agree with a lot of what is being said in these replies, especially Beat.

    We upgraded from 2010 to Current release last year and in that upgrade we moved from local clients (and a single 2003 Terminal Server for remote people) to a RDS farm.  We currently have about 25 users in an instance, 18 in another, and will be adding another 4 this year.  We have a single SQL server for the main instance with 2 RDS hosts to serve them.  We are adding 2 more hosts for the 18 users, and will add another host for the 4 so we can support their language pack.

    We have found that is works extremely well and much faster for users than having the fat client installed.  We have Office 365 installed on those servers as well so they can access their files on OneDrive to print to PDF and share between their client and the GP server.  We are using UPDs (User Profile Drives) to keep the profiles able to roam, and have the ability to recreate within a minute (delete the vhdx file, it will recreate on login).  With this approach, we have created a full test environment with similar setup (not as many hosts due to load), but we can also add load pretty easily and can patch a host, and run to make sure there are no issues before patching the other (patching = windows patching, GP updates go on test first and you must upgrade the entire environment at the same time).

    We have our machines as VMs so we can snapshot them and rollback if we find an issue.  We also user GP Power Tools and some other settings to help the user experience be more customized.

    We were able to easily transition to remote work earlier this year because for GP, we were basically making everyone remote in.  SO it was no change for them.

    Some thoughts to consider:
    -If you are looking to get into the game and do not have a remote application solution, I would look into just RDS and not Citrix.  Citrix adds complexity and cost that may not be a benefit.
    -Printing is always going to be an issue in a remote application environment.  I have so far configured the clients to map their client printers so it uses the client to print.  I have been transitioning to network mapped printers so they are on the server, as well as using GPOs to push only certain printers to certain users (helps clean up the view they can choose from and avoid most mistakes).  I have also pushed users to print to PDF and save to a drive (network or OneDrive).
    -With out RDS Farm, we have redundancy on the session hosts only.  The broker, gateway, SQL server, etc are all single servers (aka single point of failure).  We have a backup solution that will allow near instantaneous recovery from a backup so we have accepted that risk in our company.  But if you need higher uptime, you will need to look into a SQL cluster, and RDS high availability options to fail over as needed.

    I am happy to discuss more or answer any questions if you have some with how we setup our environment.  Please feel free to contact me if you need to.

    Thank you.

    ------------------------------
    Dave Magalen
    dmagalen@auroraplastics.com
    IT Manager - Aurora Plastics
    Streetsboro OH
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 11.  RE: Switching to Terminal Server

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 12 days ago
    Thanks to ALL!!  Great info.  Thank you for all sharing your knowledge.

    ------------------------------
    Mary Mallazzo
    Fromkin Brothers
    Edison NJ
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 12.  RE: Switching to Terminal Server

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 5 days ago
    Additional questions regarding move to Terminal Server......any known issues with SSRS reports, EOne Smart Connect Management reporter, GP Power tools?

    ------------------------------
    Mary Mallazzo
    Fromkin Brothers
    Edison NJ
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 13.  RE: Switching to Terminal Server

    Posted 5 days ago
    We have not seen any issues.  SSRS should be a website hosted on the database server.  Smart Connect, Management Reporter, Power Tools, etc just make sure the versions are the same across all the application servers.  Power Tools will complain if the versions do not match.  So when you have a farm the only drawback is when you upgrade anything, you need to upgrade it on all terminal servers (GP patches, Power Tools, Smart Connect, etc.

    ------------------------------
    Dave Magalen
    dmagalen@auroraplastics.com
    IT Manager - Aurora Plastics
    Streetsboro OH
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 14.  RE: Switching to Terminal Server

    GPUG ALL STAR
    Posted 5 days ago
    Mary,
    Remember that SSRS is a web based application... as such, it doesn't really need to run off the TS. However, you may have users that click on SSRS report links within GP and it will open the default browser on the TS. I'm not aware of much issues with SSRS, other than if you want to print or export the report content to a printer or Excel (or CSV), which would default to a local drive probably.
    Same goes for MR, which runs just fine on TS. Issues could arise if users want to export the MR Reports to Excel or any other medium, or even print them (which frankly I haven't see many do).
    SmartConnect: it depends what you mean by that ? SC 2018 is a pretty stable application and can used by multiple users at the same time off a TS. There isn't much to say about it, except that you need to make sure the maps point to proper locations when running them and looking for the source data.
    Now I have resolved this in the past by installing the SC 2018 client locally on some user's workstation, or they use the Excel Add-in to run maps and process data.
    Hope this helps.

    ------------------------------
    Beat Bucher
    Business Analyst, Dynamics GP SME
    Montreal QC/Canada
    @GP_Beat http://www.gp-geek.com
    Montreal QC GPUG Chapter Leader
    MBS MVP (2015-2018)
    All-Star 2013
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 15.  RE: Switching to Terminal Server

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 5 days ago
    We have Smart Connect running without issue.  Same with Management Reporter.  Actually, you can load just the Report Designer and Report Viewer for MR on the Terminal Server.  It works great.

    We have used the built in SSRS reports without issue either.

    I have not used the GP Power Tools so I cannot answer.

    One another note, be sure to load Adobe Writer on the Term Server.  GP uses that to print standard reports and  Word Templates in PDF.  You can have other PDF writers along with it like Cute PDF or PDF 24 for other printing.

    ------------------------------
    Jim DelMonte
    Dynamics GP Manager
    Groupe Stahl
    Mentor OH
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 16.  RE: Switching to Terminal Server

    GPUG ALL STAR
    Posted 4 days ago
    Jim,
    One small correction: you don't need Adobe PDF Writer to send Word Templates in PDF format. GP requires the Adobe PDF Writer only if you want to send standard GP reports in PDF format. When using Word Templates, this is not a requirement.
    But, and this is a big warning: be aware that Adobe PDF Writer cause lots of trouble on a terminal server environment. I've been getting away from it and replaced it with much cheaper tools like CutePDF or PDFCreator, if you ever need to print GP reports in PDF format. This has been true since Adobe upgraded past version 8.x.

    On the newer Windows Server Platforms (2016 & 2019) this isn't even necessary anymore, as Windows has a built-in PDF print driver from Microsoft.

    Mary,
    I forgot to mention GP PowerTools (GPPT), which works very well on a TS. The latest build has several great features which makes it even more a 'must-have' on a TS, like company login filters and launch file filters. You can have multiple GP client configurations setup on a TS and control who can login into which company with which launch file.. Very handy when you have a mix of companies using US Payroll or Canadian Payroll.. or you want only some user accessing some ISV products for specific companies.

    ------------------------------
    Beat Bucher
    Business Analyst, Dynamics GP SME
    Montreal QC/Canada
    @GP_Beat http://www.gp-geek.com
    Montreal QC GPUG Chapter Leader
    MBS MVP (2015-2018)
    All-Star 2013
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 17.  RE: Switching to Terminal Server

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 4 days ago
    To add to what Beat is saying re: Adobe, since they've moved to a named-user model, even using it in general has become a pain.  They've intentionally made it almost prohibitive to use in a shared environment like TS.  I wish there were a good alternative, but our users still like to print to PDF from the client...  Maybe some third-party could negotiate with CutePDF or one of these others to attach to the hooks in GP and provide a simpler and cost-effective solution.

    ------------------------------
    Blair Christensen
    Database Administrator
    Oppenheimer Companies, Inc.
    Boise Idaho GPUG Chapter Leader
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 18.  RE: Switching to Terminal Server

    Posted 4 days ago
    Let me add a little more information as well here since we have this setup and it is running well.

    So the PDF stuff that was stated is all correct.  Printing is a weird thing if you need it.  We have client printers mapped through the RDP Session so they can use their local printers.  We are looking to move to all networked printers and map them to the server as they log in, via GPO.  Sometimes the client printer mapping is an issue so you just need to be careful with some of the printers.

    For viewing PDFs in the Terminal Server, if you do not want to add more software that you need to keep up-to-date, install the latest version of Edge (the Chromium based version) or Chrome and set that is the default viewer.  That worked well for us to just give a viewer.

    For Smart Lists and some of the other tools, we installed Office 365 on the servers so they could use Word and Excel.  When we did the install, Office 365 was only supported on Server 2016, not 2019.  So we are on 2016.  The printer to PDF works well, but you need to provide a place for them to save the files.  We have the local C drive mapped and are currently looking at a way to allow them to access OneDrive/SharePoint.  If you are in the Office applications, you can access those areas already in the Save/Open commands.

    As Beat said, there are many nice features in Power Tools that help in a terminal server setup.  We have it set to not show the last login user and are setting up the auto logout times.  But there are other things to play with like color themes for different companies and such.

    In general when looking at a Terminal Server setup, please make sure you look into auto logoff settings.  We have a big issue with users just disconnecting the sessions and then having some issues down the road with reconnecting and printers and such.  A reboot of the servers periodically or settings to log off the sessions seems to help a lot.  SO we are using a combination of Power Tools to log people out of GP and GPOs to log users out of the RD Servers after idle for hours to keep things clean.

    ------------------------------
    Dave Magalen
    dmagalen@auroraplastics.com
    IT Manager - Aurora Plastics
    Streetsboro OH
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 19.  RE: Switching to Terminal Server

    GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 4 days ago
    We've been running GP in a terminal server environment for 20 years and haven't had any issues (other than needing to restrict users so that when they close their session on the terminal server, they are not shutting down the terminal server and bumping everyone out!).  We have found that printing to a PDF "printer" instead of trying to print a PDF from GP resolved any Adobe issues.

    ------------------------------
    Anne Provost
    Chief Financial Officer
    TNR Technical, Inc.
    Sanford FL
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


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