They say one picture’s worth a thousand words. Check out this screen shot of my QuickBooks Remote Application Server, a QuickBooks multi user terminal server on a shoe string. You can plainly see three users’ remote desktop QuickBooks Multi User sessions and an administrator desktop session simultaneously working on an XP Pro based terminal server. This stuff’s so much fun.
The key to all this fun is a product called Thinstuff, a remarkable tool that changes an XP computer into a multi user terminal server computer. The cost can be as little as $99 for a three user license. Thinstuff uses several license models to help companies save on expense. Try it out by downloading a trial from their product purchase page.
I know you will be as impressed as I am. Thinstuff XP/VS Terminal Server Lite and XP Pro saves me a substantial amount of money over Microsoft Server 2008 Standard Terminal Server or utilizing a hosted QuickBooks solution that averages around $50 per user per month. If you need control or have requirements for faxing, label printers, bar coding or other unusual things, this is the way to go.
To gain access from the Internet, port forward remote desktop through the local firewall to the QuickBooks server or avoid any tricky firewall configurations at all by adding another level of security with LogMeIn Hamachi. Install it on the server and any of your remote users including your CPA.
I’m still amazed at the number of times people inquire about purchasing a new XP Pro computer. I see no reason not to buy an XP Pro computer. I use XP Pro commercial desktop computers to build the Holy Grail of QuickBooks setups, QuickBooks Remote Application Servers, multi user terminal servers. I also use them to build QuickBooks Dedicated Production Servers, the standard QuickBooks multi user client-server deployment that I detail in my book.
The Dell summary worksheet details my computer specs for a new QuickBooks server, a great deal considering it has 2gb memory, 3 year on site service and 3 year anti virus software. As a mater of fact, I will use this computer as a multi session terminal server designed for both local access and remote access from a CPA’s office. The entire project costs typically come in under $1000 plus the QuickBooks license.
If you need a new XP Pro computer, all the major players still sell Windows 7 Pro downgrades to XP Pro. It just takes a bit of effort to configure and purchase them. I continually need a steady supply of XP Pro computers for small businesses. If you want to save a good bit of money, try searching Amazon for off lease desktop or refurbished desktop. Check the specs carefully for memory, hard drive size, dvd burner and the operating system to get a great deal.