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OS X Server - Multi user login

2072 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Oct 16, 2013 8:49 AM by John Lockwood RSS
bhanu2217 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Oct 15, 2013 6:43 AM

I have a small Business with 5 people working along with me.

Every user has their own laptop.

I want each user to be able to login(GUI) to server through local LAN or across the internet remotely

So all 5 users should be able to login simultaneously and run their applications as they would do on their local computer.

Do I need to purchase any additional license to perform this task? I know Windows Server 2012 supports only 2 simultaneous remote Login, for more we need to purchase additional CAL License

MacBook Pro, OS X Server
  • Simon Slavin Level 4 Level 4 (1,390 points)
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    Oct 15, 2013 7:31 AM (in response to bhanu2217)

    OS X Server supports lots more users than 5.  You can have hundreds of simultaneous logins at once on OS X Server.

     

    However you do not usually store applications on a server.  And even if you do, the applications run on your individual computers.  And they can check how many simultaneous users they have -- different programmers have different ways of doing this, and some don't care, but there are many ways it should be done.  So they can say things like "Licensee 298374 has paid for two copies but three people are trying to run me at once." and refuse to run.

     

    So using a server does not magically excuse you from buying multiple licenses if you want to run multiple copies at once.  If you need 5 simultaneous users, you have to make sure your license allows for that.  And install the apps on your individual computers: they'll run a bit faster than if they had to keep sending bits of application across your network.

  • cpragman Level 2 Level 2 (425 points)
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    Oct 15, 2013 9:48 AM (in response to bhanu2217)

    It sounds like you're asking if the users can access a virtual session on the server, and whether multiple users can have multiple virtual sessions going at once.

    Multiple users can have command-line sessions going at once (like timesharing on a Unix mainframe), via ssh.  Multiple users can't take control of the GUI simultaneously or run GUI apps simultaneously.  OSX server does not include virtualization of a GUI interface (like XWindows does).

     

    Also, if your users have network home folders on the server which they access from their laptops, they won't be able to sit at the server keyboard/mouse and login to those home folders directly at the server.  Network home folders are strictly for network access from client workstations.

     

    Now if one of your users wants to run some computationally-intensive job on the server, that is possible...  Any ONE user can connect to the server by any number of VNC screen sharing apps, run some program, etc.  That user would have to finish their business and disconnect before another user could do the same thing.

  • infinite vortex Level 7 Level 7 (21,400 points)
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    Oct 15, 2013 10:28 AM (in response to bhanu2217)

    If I'm understanding what you're mean by "each user to be able to login to server" is that OS X Server provides the functionality of having user accounts on the server rather than the local computer. This is what is called a network user account. Most can't tell the difference between a local user account and a network user account other than a network account is bound by the performance of your network… gigabit ethernet is highly recommended. Therefore it's not recommended for use outside of your local network.

     

    That said, another option to a network user account is a network user account with mobile home sync. This is a network user account that is copied to a computer, so that it runs just like a local account, however it is able to sync the local home directory to the network home directory (periodically or at logins and logouts). These are awesome and I actually use one of these accounts as my every day user account.

     

    Netowrk user account are not everyone's cup of tea as there are prerequisites that are needed on both the server and workstation sides that many admins don't want to be hassled with and it does raise the importanace of the server, and its uptime, quite considerably. If you are using desktops it does allow anyone to sit at any computer and have their full, and individual, user login.

  • haykong Level 1 Level 1 (115 points)
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    Oct 16, 2013 12:33 AM (in response to bhanu2217)

    Sounds like you want to run a Windows Terminal Server/ Windows RDP Server. Note the two RDP licenses that comes with the Windows Server are for adminstration purposes. Normal user accounts will not be able to login til you get licensed for a Terminal Server and then get TS CAL licenses per device (not per user). NOTE: TS CAL licenses are different than plain CAL licenses.

     

    As for OS X Server there is nothing equivalent on the Mac side for a Windows Terminal Server.

     

    Currently, are all the 5 users in the business using windows based computers?

     

     

    Also note, there is nothing on the Mac or any other platform besides Windows that's as fast as RDP. VNC is a bit slow... but still useable.

     

    So what kind of applications does the small business run? 

  • John Lockwood Level 5 Level 5 (5,075 points)
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    Oct 16, 2013 1:43 AM (in response to bhanu2217)

    bhanu2217 wrote:

     

    I have a small Business with 5 people working along with me.

    Every user has their own laptop.

    I want each user to be able to login(GUI) to server through local LAN or across the internet remotely

    So all 5 users should be able to login simultaneously and run their applications as they would do on their local computer.

    Do I need to purchase any additional license to perform this task? I know Windows Server 2012 supports only 2 simultaneous remote Login, for more we need to purchase additional CAL License

    This can be done with built-in Apple software.

     

    • Firstly you should for security reasons have a VPN server running at your office, this could be on your Mac server. The remote users would then first connect to the VPN server this would then allow them to access the server securely even remotely
    • Then your remote users must have Macs (this method is only supported by Mac clients)
    • The remote Macs would use Screen Sharing to connect to the Mac server, since Lion it has been possible for multiple Mac clients to connect to different user accounts at the same time and see a different 'screen' and run different applications

     

    Note: If you use screen sharing to connect with an account that is not already logged in it will offer the choice of 'Share Display' or 'Log In' the former is like the old-style remote control, the later is like a Terminal Services system. If you connect with an account that is already logged in it will just take you to that accounts session.

     

    Note: Some applications are not written in a way that would be friendly to running the same copy more than once, also some software licensing woulld mean you would still need to buy multiple copies. If an application checks over the network for the same copy running to enforce licensing you would have a problem. A volume license often helps with that.

     

    If you want to use Windows laptops remotely then the above will not work, in which case you will need to buy either Aqua Connect or iRAPP.

     

    See http://www.aquaconnect.net

    and http://www.coderebel.com/products/irapp-terminal-server

     

    The above support using Microsoft Remote Desktop Client to connect and hence are compatible with Windows clients built-in RDC software.

  • haykong Level 1 Level 1 (115 points)
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    Oct 16, 2013 7:15 AM (in response to John Lockwood)

    Hi John,

     

          I had no idea that such software exited on the mac, then again most of my clients have windows servers. And some of them I actually I got them to be in a mixed enviroment of Mac and windows servers for different purposes. Actually this might help one of my recent project since i'm looking for a the fastest solution for a RDP/VNC type of thing.

     

    Of the two which one would you recommend?

  • John Lockwood Level 5 Level 5 (5,075 points)
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    Oct 16, 2013 7:19 AM (in response to haykong)

    Aqua Connect looks the more polished and would I suspect have better support, the iRAPP team are in Hawaii and the timezone difference makes them unreachable from Europe. iRAPP last time I looked was cheaper though.

     

    Both have trail versions available so test them yourself.

     

    Note: You can't have both installed at the same time.

  • haykong Level 1 Level 1 (115 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 16, 2013 8:25 AM (in response to John Lockwood)

    Unfortunately, iRAPP is still far too slow over  slow WAN for the user experience. Tried the trial version. From what  I read, both irapp and aquaconnect both still use some form of VNC. Still WIndows Terminal Server is the fastest there is on the market as far as I know for user expereince on a slow WAN connection.

     

    Oh well I'll try out Aquaconnect but doubt it'll be much better for slow WAN connections.

  • John Lockwood Level 5 Level 5 (5,075 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 16, 2013 8:49 AM (in response to haykong)

    Both iRAPP and Aqua Connect support standard Microsoft RDP protocol clients and both also have their own proprietary client. RDP is not VNC.

     

    Saying that I did get the impression both were slower than an equivalent Windows Terminal Server and RDC client, at the time (this was a couple of years ago) I got the impression that things like forcing just 256 colours did not work properly and I also go the impression other RDP optimisations were lacking and this would be at the server end since the client is the same standard Microsoft client.

     

    See http://www.coderebel.com/support/faq/How-do-I-make-it-faster which recommends using an RDP client instead of their own proprietary Windows only client (which might be based on VNC). The AquaConnect client does not appear to be based on VNC since it supports audio.

     

    See http://www.aquaconnect.net/aap

     

    In particular "Aqua Accelerated Protocol provides a 2-1 data savings over VNC (including audio, which VNC does not support).  These savings become even more significant when compared to Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol.  Compared to Microsoft's protocol, AAP provides a 10-1 data savings over RDP.  All of this translates into a remote session that feels and acts like a local desktop and OS."

     

    By the way I agree RDP is faster than VNC, I also like the fact RDP supports audio (VNC does not). I have suggested to Apple they switch their Screen Sharing from VNC to RDP as this follows the same reasoning as their switching preference from AFP to now SMB2. Maybe others should send Apple the same suggestion.

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