Thin-Client Solutions CIS484 Sherman Hui Yuen Hung Poon
Outline • What is a thin-client? • Examples of thin-client products. • Terminal Server Edition System Requirement. • What these products are and what they do? • Who uses these products? • What are some advantages to use these products? • What are some disadvantages to use these products? • Major problem with thin-client machines.
What is a Thin-Client • "Thin client" is a synonym for the Net PC or the network computer (NC), personal computers for businesses that are designed to be centrally-managed, configured with only essential equipment, and devoid of CD-ROM players, diskette drives, and expansion slots (and therefore lower in cost). Poon
What is a Thin-Client (Con’t) The term "thin client" seems to be used as a synonym for both the Net PC and the network computer (NC) , which are somewhat different concepts. • The Net PC is based on Intel microprocessors and Windows software. (Intel was a leader in defining the Net PC specification.) • The network computer (NC) is a concept backed by Oracle and Sun Microsystems that may or may not use Intel microprocessors and would use a Java-based operating system. Poon
Current Thin Technologies • Thin Client is a generic term used to describe a group of rapidly emerging technologies that provide a reduction in total cost of ownership (TCO) through a combination of reduced hardware costs, reduced maintenance and support costs, reduced LAN/WAN bandwidth requirements, reduced down time, improved performance and enhanced security. • Today there are more than one million users of Thin Client solutions. Poon
Current Thin Technologies (Con’t) These technologies currently fall into four categories • Network Computers (NCs) • NetPCs • Windows Terminals (Citrix WinFrame/MetaFrame and Microsoft Hydra) • Direct Connect technologies Poon
Current Thin Technologies (Con’t) Why “Thin”? • The term "Thin" in Thin Client refers to the (very small) size of the client operating system. In contrast, traditional PC operating systems (DOS, Windows 95, etc.) are considered "Fat" Clients due to their large size and resource requirements. Poon
Current Thin Technologies (Con’t) Thin Capabilities? • Despite the fact that the Thin Client operating systems are thin, the capabilities of Thin Clients are robust. • Thin Client solutions are deployed today in mission critical environments and they are providing reliable and responsive access to a myriad of applications. Poon
Examples of Thin-Client products • Citrix WinFrame Solution • Citrix MetaFrame Solution • Sun Solution • Microsoft Windows Terminal Server (WTS) • Wyse Winterm Windows Terminals Poon
Terminal Server Edition System Requirement • Base Requirements • Processor, Memory, and Bus Architecture Requirements • Other Peripherals • Client System Requirements Poon
Base Requirements Hardware • 32-bit x86 microprocessor or Alpha. • VGA or higher-resolution monitor. • One or more hard disks, with 128 MB minimum of free hard disk space on the partition that will contain the Terminal Server system files. • For x86-based computers, a high-density 3.5-inch disk drive plus a CD-ROM drive. Poon
Base Requirements (Con’t) Memory • 32 MB of RAM, plus 4-8 additional RAM (per user) to support users running their applications on the server Network Protocol • Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). Poon
Processor • Requires a Pentium or higher processor. • Processor and memory requirements scale linearly (up to four processors). For example, you can support double the number of users on a multiprocessor-capable Pentium system by doubling the number of processors and doubling the amount of memory. For this reason, purchasing a multiprocessor system, even if you initially purchase only one processor, allows you to add capacity more easily as your requirements Poon
Bus Architecture Requirements • ISA (AT Bus) Architecture • The bus architecture in single and multiprocessor systems also affects system performance. The ISA (AT bus) architecture becomes the bottleneck to good system performance and is not recommended for Terminal Server. • EISA, MCA, & PCI • Use a higher-performance bus, such as EISA, MCA, or PCI, for best performance. All of these support the highly sustained data-transfer rates typically desired when running Terminal Server Poon
Other Peripherals • SCSI disk drives and adapters • Hard disk throughput also affects performance. SCSI disk drives and adapters, especially devices compatible with Fast SCSI and SCSI-2, have significantly better throughput than ST-506, IDE, or ESDI disk drives and adapters. • SCSI RAID controller • For highest disk performance, consider using a SCSI RAID controller. RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) controllers automatically place data on multiple disk drives and can increase disk performance and improve data reliability. Poon
Client System Requirements There are two versions of the Terminal Server Client software that are available: • 16-bit (Windows for Workgroups) • 32-bit (Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT) Poon
Client System Requirements (Con’t) 16-bit Terminal Server Client: • Personal computer with an 80386 or higher microprocessor • Windows for Workgroups • 8 MB of RAM • 4 MB of available hard disk space • VGA or higher-resolution video adapter • High-density 3.5-inch disk drive • Network interface card (NIC) using the Microsoft TCP/IP protocol • Microsoft serial mouse or 100 percent compatible Poon
Client System Requirements (Con’t) 32-bit Terminal Server Client: • Personal computer with an 80386 or higher microprocessor (80486 or higher for Windows NT) • Windows 95 or Windows NT • 8 MB of RAM for Windows 95, 16 MB for Windows NT • 4 MB of available hard disk space • VGA or higher resolution video adapter • High-density 3.5-inch disk drive • Network interface card (NIC) using the Microsoft TCP/IP protocol • Microsoft serial mouse or 100 percent compatible Poon
What these products are and what they do? • MetaFrame is the name for the Citrix thin-client/server system software for Microsoft Windows Terminal Server for Windows NT Server 4.0. • MetaFrame system software, which incorporates Citrix’s Independent Computing Architecture (ICA), provides a complete Server-based Computing solution for multi-user NT 4.0 environments.
Products (continued) • MetaFrame delivers a comprehensive Server-based solution to the enterprise by extending Windows Terminal Server with additional client and server functionality. • MetaFrame also delivers thin-client/server computing to the enterprise by extending access to any device, at any location through any connection.
Products (continued) • Metaframe provides universal application access from virtually any type of client device. • Overall, Metaframe transforms the way organizations deploy, manage and access business applications by providing improved application manageability, access, performance and security.
Products (continued) • WinFrame is a software product from Citrix that, together with a Windows NT operating system, allows a computer server to provide Windows applications and data for attached computer workstations. • With Winframe, a company can install all applications and data at the server, simplifying administration, and possibly saving on application software cost.
Products (continued) • WinFrame is a server-side software product based on Windows NT Server 3.51. When you install WinFrame on a server system, you are actually installing both the Citrix software and a modified version of NT Server 3.51 (you cannot install WinFrame on top of an existing NT Server 3.51 installation).
Products (continued) • The modifications Citrix made to NT Server 3.51 enable basic multi-user functions in the operating system itself, so multiple users can log on to the same system and run applications separately from one another.
Products (continued) • The low-cost workstations are known as thin clients because they are minimally-equipped and because they contain client software that interacts with the server. • To the user, the applications and data appear to be running on the workstation.
Products (continued) • Overall, WinFrame server executes the applications on behalf of the clients and only passes I/O (screen and keyboard) information to the Thin Clients.
Who uses these products? • Enterprises around the world that want to achieve a lower cost of application ownership • Some companies include AT&T Wireless Services, Bell Mobility, OshKosh B’Gosh, Honeywell Europe and Mott’s North America.
What are some advantages to using these products? • Cost effective • A significant advantage of WinFrame is that it can make newer Windows applications available to older PCs. • Everything can be done from a single point. • WinFrame can also handle users who dial in to the server (for example, mobile users and those working at home or in branch offices).
What are some disadvantages to using these products? • Not every IS manager is a thin-client proponent. In a recent survey by InternetWeek, more than 85% of respondents said they're not considering thin clients over PCs for Internet or intranet access.
Major Problem to Thin-client machines. • They don't give users more capabilities than PCs do. • Also, with functional PCs now selling for less than $1,000, the supposed cost advantage of thin clients is open to question.