Step 4: Categorize Users

Published: February 25, 2008


At this point, the list of users as well as their applications that will be hosted by Terminal Services has been validated. In order to properly size the Terminal Services environment, the load that users will place on it needs to be understood.

The implementation of Terminal Services will involve a significant change to the way that an end user’s applications are run. The applications will execute in a shared environment on a remote server rather than on the user’s dedicated local workstation. In planning for such a change, it’s unrealistic to expect to calculate the precise resources required. Instead, try to estimate them as closely as possible and provide some additional capacity in the system to compensate for any spikes in usage that may occur.

In order to do that, place users into one of three categories: Heavy, Normal, or Light, based on their general usage behavior in their applications.

This categorization will be used in step 7 to provide the user load on each application as input to determining the size of the terminal server farm.

Assign each user, or group of users, to only one category since the categorization is reflective of behaviors that are likely to be the same in all applications.

Place users into the following categories:

  • Heavy user. Spends most of the day working in one or more applications, often in two or even three at the same time. Uses advanced features of the software and can quickly find new features and employ them. These users could be developers, engineers, graphic artists, research assistants, or project managers. Many of their applications deliver high resolution graphics that are frequently updated, perhaps with animation. They may copy large multimedia files from application to application. May log on and off applications several times a day, or work in them for extended periods of time. These users are likely to save their files frequently as they work in an application.
  • Normal user. Uses the computer frequently, but also performs other work tasks that do not involve the computer. Normal users may know advanced features, but often they need assistance to perform a new or infrequent task. Sometimes exchanges data between their different applications. Their job titles might be administrative assistant, salesperson, doctor, or producer. When leaving their computers to complete other work, they probably will not log off; rather they will leave the application running.
  • Light user. Has the computer switched on, but uses it for only a few minutes an hour. Uses only the applications they need to do their jobs, probably not more than one application. They may leave the application running for many days at a time without logging off. Could be a baker, hospital volunteer, corporate fitness expert, cashier, or electrician.

Decision Summary

Users have now been categorized according to the intensity with which they use the applications to be hosted. Each user has been marked as Heavy, Normal, or Light intensity based on the way they use applications. This categorization, and the number of users falling into each one of the categories, will be used in step 7 to provide the user load on each application as input to determining the size of the terminal server farm.

The next step is to determine how many terminal server farms are required to deliver the applications.

This accelerator is part of a larger series of tools and guidance from Solution Accelerators.


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