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computing and its effects on the Enterprise
Internet community has increased from 15.3 million to 68.6
million in the last two years. We have seen the introduction
of numerous new computing devices from powerful servers, desktops
and notebooks to Java-based network computers, Windows-based
terminals and hand-held information appliances. In addition,
workers are now spread around the world in branch offices,
homes, hotels, customer sites and many other places. The complexity
and cost of delivering business-critical applications to today's
worker at the right times and in the right places have become
of Enterprise-Wide Application Deployment
Faced with an ever-changing computing environment, IT professionals
must improve the efficiency of business critical application
deployment. In order to reduce the total cost of computing
ownership for their organization, they must also leverage
everything in their current computing infrastructure--hardware,
applications, networks and training. All of this must be accomplished
Managing and supporting users in a timely and cost-effective
access to business-critical applications to dispersed
users--regardless of connection, location or device.
exceptional application performance.
tight security for enterprise-level computing.
challenges have made enterprise-wide application deployment
even more daunting because the products developed up to this
point have only addressed one, or possibly two, of the following
From a management perspective traditional enterprise application
deployment is often time-consuming, expensive and difficult
to maintain. Not only do administrators have to physically
distribute applications to every client, but they also have
to deal with version control issues, remote support, multiple
system configurations and data replication. When confronted
with thousands of users, the cost of application ownership
can quickly spiral out of control.
Today's corporate computing landscape comprises a heterogeneous
mix of desktop devices, network connectivity and operating
systems. Access to vital Windows-based applications is difficult
or, in the case of Internet/intranet computing, nonexistent--and
often involves costly upgrades, problematic emulation software
and complete application rewrites.
Most corporate applications today are designed for high bandwidth
networks and powerful desktop computers. This type of application
design puts tremendous strain on congested corporate networks
and yields poor performance over lower-bandwidth, remote connections.
Because of this, many users simply avoid using the vital applications
and data to get their work done. When this happens, redundant
work and significant decreases in productivity are often the
Security is also a challenge, because in traditional client/server
architectures, business-critical applications and data live
on both the server and the client desktops spread throughout
the world. Not only does this increase the risk of unauthorized
access, but it also increases the risk of lost or stolen information.
Better Approach: Server-based Computing
Server-based computing is a model, in which applications are
deployed, managed, supported and executed 100 per cent on
a server. It uses a multi-user operating system and a method
for distributing the presentation of an application's interface
to a client device.
server-based computing, client devices--"fat" or
"thin"--have instant access to business-critical
applications via the server. This, without application rewrites
or downloads. This means improved efficiency when deploying
business-critical applications. In addition, server-based
computing works within the current computing infrastructure
and current computing standards, and with the current and
future family of Windows-based offerings. This means improved
returns on computing investments--desktops, networks, applications
and training. The end result--Server-based computing is rapidly
becoming the most reliable way to reduce the complexity and
total costs associated with enterprise computing.
does Server-based Computing Work?
The server-based computing model employs three critical components.
The first is a multi-user operating system that enables multiple
concurrent users to log on and run applications in separate,
protected sessions on a single server. The second is a highly
efficient computing technology that separates the application's
logic from its user interface, so only keystrokes, mouse clicks
and screen updates travel the network. As a result, application
performance is bandwidth-independent. The third key component,
centralized application and client management, enables large
computing environment to overcome the critical application
deployment challenges of management, access, performance and
computing is made possible by two Citrix technologies: Citrix
Independent Computing Architecture (ICA) and Citrix MultiWin.
A de facto standard for server-based computing, the ICA protocol
shifts application processing from the client device to the
server. MultiWin, the technology licensed by Citrix to Microsoft
to jointly create Terminal Server, enables multiple users
to simultaneously access applications running on a server.
is Independent Computing Architecture (ICA)?
or 3 - Tier
or 2 or 3
Computing Architecture (ICA) is a Windows presentation services
protocol from Citrix that provides the foundation for turning
any client device--thin or fat--into the ultimate thin client.
The ICA technology includes a server software component, a
network protocol component, and a client software component.
the server, ICA has the unique ability to separate the application's
logic from the user interface at the server and transport
it to the client over standard network protocols--the IPX,
SPX, NetBEUI, TCP/IP and PPP--and over popular network connections--asynchronous,
dial-up, ISDN, Frame Relay and ATM.
the client, users see the work with the application's interface,
but 100 per cent of the application logic executes on the
ICA protocol transports keystrokes, mouse clicks and screen
updates over standard protocol to the clients, consuming less
than 20 kilobits per second of network bandwidth.
ICA is highly efficient--it allows only keystrokes, mouse
clicks and screen updates to travel along the network. As
a result, applications consume just a fraction of the network
bandwidth usually required. This efficiency enables the latest,
most powerful 32-bit applications to be accessed with exceptional
performance from existing PCs, Windows-based terminals, network
computers, and a new generation of business and personal information
Computing Compared with Network Computing and Traditional
While all three computing models have a valid role in today's
enterprises, it's important to note the differences between
them. In the network computing architecture as defined by
Sun, Oracle, Netscape, IBM and Apple, components are dynamically
downloaded from the network into the client device for execution
by the client. But with the Citrix server-based computing
approach, users are able to access business critical applications--including
the latest 32-bit Windows-based and Java applications--without
requiring them to be downloaded to the client. This approach
also provides considerable total cost of application ownership
savings since these applications are centrally managed and
can be accessed by users without having to rewrite them.
of the other differences in the three types of architectures
are listed in the following chart:
Basically, the server-based computing approach delivers all
the benefits of both host computing and personal computing.
Computing--Key Features and Benefits
innovative software enables enterprises to:
server-based computing to heterogeneous computing environments
providing access to Windows-based applications, regardless
of client hardware, operating platform, network connection
or LAN protocol
enterprise-scale management tools to allow IT professionals
to scale, deploy, manage and support applications from
a single location
seamless desktop integration of the user's local and remote
resources and applications with exceptional performance
Heterogeneous computing environments are a fact of life in
the enterprise, comprising an installed base of many client
devices, operating systems, LAN protocols and network connections.
However, for the enterprise interested in making Windows-based
applications available to all users, server-based computing
enables an organization to leverage its existing infrastructure,
yet still provide the best application fit for both users
and the enterprise. This type of approach supports all types
of hardware, operating platforms, network connections and
LAN protocols. As a result, organizations can deliver the
same set of applications to virtually any client device, anywhere,
with exceptional performance.
Organizations building application deployment systems will
want the added benefits of server-based computing system software
to gain robust management tools that help scale systems and
support applications and users enterprise-wide. With these
tools, administrators will be able to significantly reduce
the costs and complexities of deploying, managing and supporting
business applications across the extended enterprise.
With server-based computing, end users of both Windows and
non-Windows desktops gain an enhanced computing experience
through broadened application access with exceptional performance
that is bandwidth independent, as well as complete access
to local system resources, even though applications are running
remotely from the server.
Computing Solution Scenarios
server-based computing, customers can increase productivity
and develop a competitive advantage by gaining universal access
to the business-critical applications they need to operate
successfully, regardless of the connection, location, or operating
systems they may be using.
following solution scenarios demonstrate how server-based
computing can help customers overcome the challenges of enterprise-wide
To better serve and support customers, many enterprises are
opening branch offices. However, this is creating many difficulties
for administrators who do not have the resources to adequately
staff these new offices. One such problem is database replication.
Many times, individual LANs are built for each branch office.
Configuring and managing these branch-office LANs--and the
information on them--creates numerous management challenges.
problem is application performance. Since most branch offices
are connected by WAN to headquarters, vital data and applications
must travel back and forth across the network. This type of
setup creates numerous user delays and unacceptable application
response. Previously, the only option was a bigger WAN connection,
which meant increasing costs, not just once, but on an ongoing
Server-based computing is a better solution because it minimizes
network traffic, even for Windows-based, 32-bit applications.
This approach allows applications to be deployed, supported
and managed from a central location.
In today's era of global consolidation, many enterprises are
buying and/or merging new companies into their organizations,
as well as adding their own new employees and locations around
the world. Typically, this has resulted in a widely diverse
set of client devices, operating systems, processing power
and connectivity options across the enterprise.
IT professionals, trying to leverage existing technology investments
while deploying business-critical applications--especially
the latest 32-bit Windows-based applications--to all users
has become more and more difficult. As a result, organizations
have had to resort to using problematic emulation software,
purchasing additional hardware, investing in costly application
Server-based computing is a better, more cost-effective solution
because it enables virtually any existing device in the enterprise
to access Windows-based applications without special emulation
software, changes in system configuration or application rewrites.
This means that enterprises can maximize their investment
in existing technology and allows users to work in their preferred
Web Computing is taking off. But to deploy interactive applications
on an intranet or the Internet, application development is
Java applet "download-and-run" model is not an extension
of any current computing technology. New software and often-new
hardware are required to successfully deploy these solutions.
Every time the application changes, the web-based application
needs to change as well.
Server-based computing enables administrators to launch and
embed corporate Windows-based applications into HTML pages
without rewriting a single line of code. Plus, it eliminates
the need to manage and maintain two separate sets of code.
The changing work environment is allowing more and more employees
to work away from the office--at home, hotels, customer locations,
etc. This means that a wide variety of network connections
are being used to access corporate applications. Unfortunately,
the lower the bandwidth, the lower the application performance.
Because of this, many remote users are avoiding corporate
applications altogether, as they'd rather work than wait.
factor is application management and support for remote users.
Administrators are forced to spend excessive amount of time
trying to diagnose and correct problems over the phone. Unfortunately,
the problems are usually not resolved the first time.
Server-based computing works better for remote users because
it keeps all application processing on the server, meaning
less traffic is sent across the network. Plus, it's optimized
for low-bandwidth connections so user can get LAN-like performance
over analog or ISDN modems, WANs, wireless LANs and even the
eliminating the need for on-site staff, server-based computing
also makes it easier for administrators. They can deploy and
manage vital applications and support remote users, all from
Device Computing Problem
Traditional mini- and mainframe-computing deliver some of
the same "centralized computing" benefits as server-based
computing. The problem is that these types of machines weren't
designed for the thousands of GUI-based Windows applications
that are available today. Furthermore, users on these types
of machines are familiar with the text-based interface and
are typically slow to adopt new operating systems.
many of today's new devices--such as Windows-based terminals,
PDAs, wireless tablets, and information appliances--are not
compatible with the Windows-based, business-critical applications
being used in the enterprise unless rewrites are performed.
With server-based computing, the latest Windows-based programs
can be extended to these thin devices without application
rewrites. This enables users to work in their preferred environments
and still access the Windows-based applications they need
to work successfully. Plus, organizations can reap the benefits
resulting from reduced overhead, lower acquisition costs and
fewer moving parts.
is not a choice, but a requirement.''
Courtesy: Citrix Systems
computing is the new mantra that Citrix Systems is touting
as the most efficient way to maximize an organization's IT
resources, reduce the costs and complexities of application
deployment, management and use and lower the total cost of
ownership. Alan Pettit, vice president, Citrix Pacific, explains
to Network Magazine what this new concept is all about and
why Citrix is upbeat about its solution, particularly in the
pioneered the thin client architecture. What is the focus
Thin client architecture is still the focus. For the first
time ever, we divorced the hardware from the software and
have created the server-based computing model where we say
IT managers need not worry about the hardware. All applications
and data are deployed, managed and executed on the server.
Client devices can be thin or fat and will have instant access
to these applications.
it mean that there is a shift towards the mainframe era where
all activities were concentrated in the centralized system?
No, what we are talking about is greater efficiency using
existing legacy systems; bringing about a marriage of all
technologies to give users access to applications anytime,
anywhere and from any device. By the way, our ICA architecture
offers drivers for over 200 devices.
computing also gives IT managers the flexibility to install/deinstall
applications based on user needs and enables high application
performance. It works with a range of platforms-Windows NT
to Unix to Java. So customers need not replace their existing
systems nor do they have to overhaul their network infrastructure.
are the tangible benefits customers would get using your technology?
The fact that over 80 per cent of Fortune 500 companies are
using our software and solutions is testimony to the versatility
of the concept in a wide range of industries-be it banking,
sales, financial institutions, manufacturing companies etc.
The changing IT landscape is driving the need for server-based
computing. Many enterprises today are realizing that users
want access from many devices without any compromise on performance.
It also offers enhanced benefits to IT managers with a tremendous
amount of control and efficiency. Users can access 32-bit
Windows based applications from virtually any client device
including the legacy 286, 386 and 486 PCs, Pentium computers,
network computers, Windows Terminals, Unix workstations, and
Macintosh systems. Moreover, all information is centralized
on the network and there is no fear of data loss.
is the level of awareness among IT managers as far as server
computing goes and how do you view India in terms of market
It is certainly a new concept and we have to do a lot
of evangelizing and educating the customers. We have been
conducting roadshows and seminars regularly and also highlighted
customer experiences wherever possible. India has a very savvy
IT community and they are well aware of these concepts. We
have over 250 customers using our MetaFrame product.
fact we are setting up what is called the CALC-the Citrix
Authorised Learning Centres where professionals would get
trained on various aspects of server-based computing. We are
associating ourselves with a leading training institution
in India and will set up several such CALCs and offer certification
courses. We will train the trainers who in turn will train
the users in the enterprise.
now, we are seeding the marketplace; the growth is slow but
sure like in Japan. There is a tremendous opportunity for
server-based computing in areas such as banking, call centers
and multinational corporations located in India. We are also
looking at an ASP model for driving growth and bringing down