Dedicated VNC server for another server

Michael Ossmann michael.ossmann "at"
Thu, 31 Jan 2002 00:12:13 +0000

On Wed, Jan 30, 2002 at 06:19:15PM -0500, Alex Angelopoulos wrote:
> Michael - correct me if I'm wrong - it sounds like you're saying that in
> neither case was the Tier3 system a Windows box running WinVNC and
> simply exporting to the Tier 2 system.

True, although you could certainly run vncviewer on tier 2, connecting
to WinVNC on tier 3, giving you a chained VNC connection.  If you are
running a VNC server on tier three, however, it would probably be easier
and more efficient to simply have the 2nd tier forward ports to tier 3.

>  I am curious about how such a system could improve performance.  The
> only way I could see it doing it for a Windows Tier 3 system is if the
> Tier 2 server had a high-speed connection to Tier 3 and if Tier 1 was on
> a slow link - then the communication transactions between Tier 2 and
> Tier 3 would all happen quickly.

That's how I've had it set up: tiers 2 and 3 are on an internal LAN and
tier 1 clients are roaming.  RDP (the Windows Terminal Services
protocol) is pretty heavy on the wire (but getting lighter).  It works
great on a LAN, but it is best to gateway it into a VNC connection (or
Tarantella, or Citrix) if you want to provide access over the Internet.
Performance is definitely an advantage of using an RDP/RFB gateway
because WinVNC doesn't perform as well as Terminal Sevices.  A gateway
also allows you to provide true multi-user access to a Windows server
via VNC.  I've been using rdesktop inside Xvnc, but it would be more
efficient on the 2nd tier server to use a direct RDP<->RFB gatewaying
process like rdp2vnc:

If you have a low bandwidth connection between tiers 2 and 3, then you'd
have to use RFB (VNC), ICA (Citrix), or AIP (Tarantella) over that link.
RDP will probably join this category within the next year, which will
make it much more attractive, although probably not enough to outweigh
the licensing issues.  :-)

Mike Ossmann, Tarantella/UNIX Engineer/Instructor
Alternative Technology, Inc.
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