Anybody using Citrix to present an MS Access app to users?


P

(PeteCresswell)

Some guy just finished using one of my PCs to read his email at
his home office in the UK.

Looked to me like he was seeing a plain old MS Outlook screen
wrapped in a web browser window.

Is this possible?

If so, it sounds like a promising way to share an MS Access app
over the web without resorting to SQL Server.

If I'm on the right track so far,
----------------------------------------------------------------
- Could an MS Access app have just as well appeared in that
window?

- Would the window be hooked into some kind of virtual PC on the
Citrix server - i.e. could many users hit that same application
on the same server concurrently? (my apps all download a copy
of the front end to the user's "Temp" directory as defined by
Windows XP).
 
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R

Rick Brandt

(PeteCresswell) said:
Some guy just finished using one of my PCs to read his email at
his home office in the UK.

Looked to me like he was seeing a plain old MS Outlook screen
wrapped in a web browser window.

Is this possible?

If so, it sounds like a promising way to share an MS Access app
over the web without resorting to SQL Server.

If I'm on the right track so far,
----------------------------------------------------------------
- Could an MS Access app have just as well appeared in that
window?

- Would the window be hooked into some kind of virtual PC on the
Citrix server - i.e. could many users hit that same application
on the same server concurrently? (my apps all download a copy
of the front end to the user's "Temp" directory as defined by
Windows XP).
----------------------------------------------------------------


The newer versions of Citrix do support using a web browser as the client.
I assume that some sort of plugin is required, but I don't know the details.
Might even be one of those "only works in Internet Explorer" things.

Once the setup is functioning then any app should be usable within the web
browser since it is merely acting as a terminal server client. As with any
Citrix situation you should have the option of serving only a specific
application or a windows desktop.
 
R

Rick Brandt

(PeteCresswell) said:
Some guy just finished using one of my PCs to read his email at
his home office in the UK.

Looked to me like he was seeing a plain old MS Outlook screen
wrapped in a web browser window.

Is this possible?

If so, it sounds like a promising way to share an MS Access app
over the web without resorting to SQL Server.

Just thought I would respond separately to this point. In my opinion
setting up and maintaining a Citrix server for more than a handful of users
is MORE trouble than switching to SQL Server would be.

The 100 or so users that I have running Access apps over Citrix are running
Access apps with SQL Server back ends so I don't consider it an either/or
choice at all. Terminal Server (Citrix) is about reducing network traffic
between client and server and that is true regardless of whether you use Jet
or SQL Server for the back end. There is a reduction of traffic with SQL
Server alone, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to using Terminal
Server.
 
D

David W. Fenton

Just thought I would respond separately to this point. In my
opinion setting up and maintaining a Citrix server for more than a
handful of users is MORE trouble than switching to SQL Server
would be.

The 100 or so users that I have running Access apps over Citrix
are running Access apps with SQL Server back ends so I don't
consider it an either/or choice at all. Terminal Server (Citrix)
is about reducing network traffic between client and server and
that is true regardless of whether you use Jet or SQL Server for
the back end. There is a reduction of traffic with SQL Server
alone, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to using Terminal
Server.

I would *never* propose an app with a SQL Server back end run across
the Internet. I'm not sure I'd propose it even with a VPN. With a
WAN, I'd consider it, but it would depend on whether or not that was
just a VPN connection across the Internet or a dedicated connection.

The other issue is that Terminal Server vastly reduces
administrative problems, since you don't have to maintain working
Access installations on all the desktops. That is a huge win from my
point of view.
 
D

David W. Fenton

Some guy just finished using one of my PCs to read his email at
his home office in the UK.

Looked to me like he was seeing a plain old MS Outlook screen
wrapped in a web browser window.

Is this possible?

If so, it sounds like a promising way to share an MS Access app
over the web without resorting to SQL Server.

Good heavens, YES!!!!

The guy you saw was probably using GoToMyPC or some such, which is a
service provided by Citrix (or is it LogMeIn.com that's Citrix?
Can't remember). All of them are dependent on Windows Terminal
Server support that is provided in all server versions of Windows
from 2000 on and in all desktop versions from XP on.

Before that was the case, I used VNC to remote control clients' PCs.
I still use it for clients who have Win2K. It's not as fast as
Remote Desktop Protocol-based solutions, since it sends a bitmap of
the screen, rather than the primitive graphics commands.
 
T

Tony Toews [MVP]

David W. Fenton said:
I would *never* propose an app with a SQL Server back end run across
the Internet. I'm not sure I'd propose it even with a VPN.

Why not?

Tony
--
Tony Toews, Microsoft Access MVP
Please respond only in the newsgroups so that others can
read the entire thread of messages.
Microsoft Access Links, Hints, Tips & Accounting Systems at
http://www.granite.ab.ca/accsmstr.htm
Tony's Microsoft Access Blog - http://msmvps.com/blogs/access/
 
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D

david

- Could an MS Access app have just as well appeared in that
window?
Yes

- Would the window be hooked into some kind of virtual PC on the
Citrix server - i.e. could many users hit that same application
on the same server concurrently?

Yes. The server will run out of memory if you have too many users
per server.
(my apps all download a copy of the front end to the
user's "Temp" directory as defined by Windows XP).

Have your app download a copy of the front end to the
user's "Temp" directory as defined by Citrix...

You want to run the application on the Citrix server, not through
the Citrix Server back to the workstation back to the server
for the Back End. Citrix configuration requires someone who
know a little bit about Citrix. You have to get the printers
right too.

(david)
 
T

Tony Toews [MVP]

(PeteCresswell) said:
- Could an MS Access app have just as well appeared in that
window?

- Would the window be hooked into some kind of virtual PC on the
Citrix server - i.e. could many users hit that same application
on the same server concurrently? (my apps all download a copy
of the front end to the user's "Temp" directory as defined by
Windows XP).

Yes, or by using Terminal Server. A client has been running Citrix
for at least five years. (Or rather former client. I fired them.)

Tony
--
Tony Toews, Microsoft Access MVP
Please respond only in the newsgroups so that others can
read the entire thread of messages.
Microsoft Access Links, Hints, Tips & Accounting Systems at
http://www.granite.ab.ca/accsmstr.htm
Tony's Microsoft Access Blog - http://msmvps.com/blogs/access/
 
G

Guest

(PeteCresswell) said:
Some guy just finished using one of my PCs to read his email at
his home office in the UK.

Looked to me like he was seeing a plain old MS Outlook screen
wrapped in a web browser window.

Is this possible?

If so, it sounds like a promising way to share an MS Access app
over the web without resorting to SQL Server.

If I'm on the right track so far,
----------------------------------------------------------------
- Could an MS Access app have just as well appeared in that
window?

- Would the window be hooked into some kind of virtual PC on the
Citrix server - i.e. could many users hit that same application
on the same server concurrently? (my apps all download a copy
of the front end to the user's "Temp" directory as defined by
Windows XP).
 
D

David W. Fenton


Well, for the first, because it means opening your SQL Server port
to the wild Internet.

For the second, I just don't like the idea of an app having as one
of its crucial components a network that is not under my control.
 
P

(PeteCresswell)

Per Rick Brandt:
Just thought I would respond separately to this point. In my opinion
setting up and maintaining a Citrix server for more than a handful of users
is MORE trouble than switching to SQL Server would be.

That's different from my (totally unencumbered by any knowledge)
hope.

I was thinking it would be the best of both worlds: minimal
network traffic, usability with WiFi NICs, yet easy access (no
pun intended) to the database for ad-hoc development.

I figure the sky's the limit on how fast a box I could put it on
bc the groups I work for are in a situation where their costs are
a miniscule slice of a very, *very* large pie.

I wouldn't go so far as to say "money is no object".... but
they're willing to spend within reason to mitigate our
currently-heinous response times.

We've put some significant man hours into trying to improve them
by optimizing code - but they still run miserably over the LAN,
yet offer sub-second response times locally.

I've got to think that widespread use of streaming video and VOIP
phones in the client's environment has at least something to do
with that.

My combined user base for the half-dozen or so applications I'd
put on it is much smaller than 100... less than a dozen at the
moment. Long-run less than 30.

My understanding is that of all the wonders inherent in SQL
Server, significant response time improvements, although
possible, are not among the guaranteed.

OTOH, if I could get a box that offered response time for a
half-dozen concurrent users over a local LAN that equaled my
desktop PC running solo over VPN/Remote Desktop through my 5mb
Verizon fiber optic connection that would be like heaven for
these guys.

Do you think Citrix or some other server is still a contender for
me?

What're the administrative headaches with Citrix? Are they
something that would be transparent to me if the server were
administered by some sort of dedicated "Citrix Group"? Or would
that just be adding to the pain by interposing a middleman?
 
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P

(PeteCresswell)

Per david:
The server will run out of memory if you have too many users
per server.

Can you ballpark the number of users for the average Citrix
server in your environment?

More than a dozen?

More than fifty?

More than a hundred?

More than a thousand?
 
R

Rick Brandt

(PeteCresswell) said:
OTOH, if I could get a box that offered response time for a
half-dozen concurrent users over a local LAN that equaled my
desktop PC running solo over VPN/Remote Desktop through my 5mb
Verizon fiber optic connection that would be like heaven for
these guys.

Half a dozen users over a local LAN? Why is Citrix even being considered?
Why not just a standard split app setup?
Do you think Citrix or some other server is still a contender for
me?

What're the administrative headaches with Citrix? Are they
something that would be transparent to me if the server were
administered by some sort of dedicated "Citrix Group"? Or would
that just be adding to the pain by interposing a middleman?

Terminal Server / Citrix don't have to be a pain to administer, but there
are times when things simply don't work and they are not as easy to figure
out as problems in a traditional setup. We are coincidentally in the fifth
day where one of the two servers in our Citrix farm is not recognizing any
of the user's printers and none of us has been able to figure out the
problem.

Access is somewhat unique in that not having access to a printer doesn't
just mean no hard copies. It means no previewing, no file output, and no
emailing of attachments and all of that combined can be pretty crippling for
a lot of apps.

Our two servers usually have close to 50 users each concurrently.
 
T

Tony Cottle

(PeteCresswell) said:
Per Rick Brandt:

That's different from my (totally unencumbered by any knowledge)
hope.

I was thinking it would be the best of both worlds: minimal
network traffic, usability with WiFi NICs, yet easy access (no
pun intended) to the database for ad-hoc development.

I figure the sky's the limit on how fast a box I could put it on
bc the groups I work for are in a situation where their costs are
a miniscule slice of a very, *very* large pie.

I wouldn't go so far as to say "money is no object".... but
they're willing to spend within reason to mitigate our
currently-heinous response times.

We've put some significant man hours into trying to improve them
by optimizing code - but they still run miserably over the LAN,
yet offer sub-second response times locally.

I've got to think that widespread use of streaming video and VOIP
phones in the client's environment has at least something to do
with that.

My combined user base for the half-dozen or so applications I'd
put on it is much smaller than 100... less than a dozen at the
moment. Long-run less than 30.

My understanding is that of all the wonders inherent in SQL
Server, significant response time improvements, although
possible, are not among the guaranteed.

OTOH, if I could get a box that offered response time for a
half-dozen concurrent users over a local LAN that equaled my
desktop PC running solo over VPN/Remote Desktop through my 5mb
Verizon fiber optic connection that would be like heaven for
these guys.

Do you think Citrix or some other server is still a contender for
me?

What're the administrative headaches with Citrix? Are they
something that would be transparent to me if the server were
administered by some sort of dedicated "Citrix Group"? Or would
that just be adding to the pain by interposing a middleman?
 
D

David W. Fenton

Per Rick Brandt:

That's different from my (totally unencumbered by any knowledge)
hope.

I don't know about Citrix, but setting up and maintaining Windows
Terminal Server is completely trivial.
I was thinking it would be the best of both worlds: minimal
network traffic, usability with WiFi NICs, yet easy access (no
pun intended) to the database for ad-hoc development.

Yes, it's all those things, along with centralized admin of your
database, no mucking about with making sure the workstations have
the properly patched version of Access and so forth.

[]
Do you think Citrix or some other server is still a contender for
me?

Why mess with Citrix? If you've got a Windows server, you can test
it for yourself, as all Windows servers come with two Windows
Terminal Server logons (for administrators only). Install your app
and test it.
 
D

David W. Fenton

Per david:

Can you ballpark the number of users for the average Citrix
server in your environment?

I've always used 128MBs per simultaneous user as a rule of thumb. My
experience is that this is a pretty generous allowance.
 
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P

(PeteCresswell)

Per Rick Brandt:
Half a dozen users over a local LAN? Why is Citrix even being considered?
Why not just a standard split app setup?

If by "standard split app" you mean separate front/back ends with
the front end running solo on each user's PC, that's what we
have.

What I'm looking for is something that:
------------------------------------------------------------------
- Gives the same or better response with 5 users logged on as
I get running in solo/development mode on my PC's hard drive

- Allows reliable use if somebody's laptop is connected to the
LAN via a WiFi card.

- Let's the guys in London get to my app here near Philadelphia
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Seems to me like the second two are definitely available via
Remote Desktop.... so I'd think some implementation of that
approach (just sending screens/keystrokes/mouse movements) would
be a logical solution.

Are we headed back to thin clients as in mainframe days of yore?
 
P

(PeteCresswell)

Per David W. Fenton:
Why mess with Citrix?

Good segue....-)

What does Citrix do that terminal server does not?

App-in-a-browser-window sounds like it might be one.
 
T

Tony Toews [MVP]

David W. Fenton said:
Well, for the first, because it means opening your SQL Server port
to the wild Internet.
VNC

For the second, I just don't like the idea of an app having as one
of its crucial components a network that is not under my control.

How much of the IT network is under your control? Next to none
likely.

Tony
--
Tony Toews, Microsoft Access MVP
Please respond only in the newsgroups so that others can
read the entire thread of messages.
Microsoft Access Links, Hints, Tips & Accounting Systems at
http://www.granite.ab.ca/accsmstr.htm
Tony's Microsoft Access Blog - http://msmvps.com/blogs/access/
 
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T

Tony Toews [MVP]

(PeteCresswell) said:
Good segue....-)

What does Citrix do that terminal server does not?

App-in-a-browser-window sounds like it might be one.

Citrix handles printers much better than TS. So what I did was give
the users the ability to email themselves all reports as PDF files.
Citrix also handles other things, but what they are I have no idea.

Tony
--
Tony Toews, Microsoft Access MVP
Please respond only in the newsgroups so that others can
read the entire thread of messages.
Microsoft Access Links, Hints, Tips & Accounting Systems at
http://www.granite.ab.ca/accsmstr.htm
Tony's Microsoft Access Blog - http://msmvps.com/blogs/access/
 

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