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Advice please - VAS, WebConnect, PDFs

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  • Advice please - VAS, WebConnect, PDFs

    Hello to all.
    We are a business (90 users) in Western Australia which has resulted from merging two companies that previously competed in the property sector. We provide property advice (valuations) to financial institutions. The two companies have existed for over 15 years. The new merged company launches soon.
    4 offices spread out over 300 kilometres, all on a Tier 1 Managed VPN, but with 5 or 6 home users (and increasing numbers will work from home via ADSL). Three of the offices are limited to 1.5Mb AD SL due to lack of telco infrastructure. That said, the managed VPN highly optimises the ADSL.
    We have two IT Admins (ie one from each company). Separately, neither of the companies has relied in the past on extensive use of Terminal Services, but we have used TS a small scale via MS Server 2003. For the new merged company, we have built a dual blade server using the Intel Modular Server system, running MS Server 2008. All users will use Terminal Services.
    In other words, we are moving from fat clients to thin clients and want the transition to be as painless as possible for our users. We cant afford Citrix, but we can probably afford Provision Networks VAS or Ericomm WebConnect Enterprise. There is so much happening right now (literally, this month!) in the areas of virtualization and terminal services that our brains are about to burst just trying to assimilate the possible options…..
    Our users comprise property valuers who use PDAs to collect valuation data (proprietary web connected software). Valuation reports are then completed in the offices. Workflows involve dictation, transcription and printing. We can change the dictation platform from fat clients to the PDAs, but that doesn’t resolve the issue of transcription (ie typing). So audio, typing and PDA Sync are big issues for us. File transfer between offices is also important.
    I have reduced our options down to three:
    1. MS TS 2008 with the free WebConnect,
    2. MS TS 2008 with WebConnect Enterprise or
    3. MS TS 2008 with Provision Networks VAS.
    I’m leaning heavily towards Provision Networks VAS. Any suggestions, tips or pointers to comparative info would be really appreciated. Sales proposals are very welcome – please email me via diggo[at]
    Sean Diggins
    PS We have a particular issue with respect to PDF workflows. We need all users to be able to create PDFs. In our testing, the fastest tool with the best compression (very important) has been FinePrint PDF Factory. However, we need full PDF Editing (with secure signature features and electronic form design) for 5 or 6 users. We cant really afford Acrobat and are struggling to assess alternatives. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: Advice please - VAS, WebConnect, PDFs

    Based on a reply I received in another forum, I should add that we dont need VDI. In that respect, maybe we should be looking at less potent TS addons (ie not VAS or WebConnect)? No point in using elephants to squash fleas....

    Essentially, we are looking for the best way to deploy TS 2008, given that we need reliable USB redirection (including bi-directional audio if possible), low latency typing, excellent print optimization (as per Thinprint, for example), ActiveSync for PDAs, easy file transfer....and (hopefully) optimized graphics. Some of the portals our staff have to use have flash and javascript animations which arent mere window dressing - blocking web animations in squid for the sake of optimal browser performance in TS is something we'd prefer to avoid if at all possible. Application publishing would be very nice to have, but not essential.

    So I guess that means we are looking for a way to add some steroids to TS 2008 without breaking our bank balance. We fully costed Citrix and decided we couldnt stretch that far. I guess that makes us one of the many small businesses looking for affordable alternatives to Citrix....
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.