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January 8, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:19pm


By CBR Staff Writer

The server-centric thin-client architecture market – which enables thin clients to run ‘thick’ applications like Windows applications – is more of a hot-bed of attacks and rebuttals than you might think. Coral Lakes, Florida-based Citrix Systems Inc has hit back at the accusations made by Exodus Technologies Inc in December last year (CI No 3054). Bellevue, Washington-based Exodus claimed that its own thin client software, NTerprise, was more scalable and more adaptable than Citrix’s competitive product, WinFrame. According to Exodus’ chief executive, Stephen Kangas, NTerprise is an object-oriented C++ program, which he argues makes it easier to upgrade, scale and tinker with than the Citrix-based Ntrigue, pieces of which he claimed are written in assembly code. But Citrix begs to differ, saying that it is Exodus’ offering that will be hard to scale. WinFrame benefits from each client being given its own address space, unlike Exodus’ approach, according to director of product marketing at Citrix Dave Weiss: Without a separate address space a particular user can become dominant because you can’t do things like load balancing or setting the amount of memory which each device can access, as well as offering various security features, he says. Weiss also argues that the only part of the architecture which is written in assembly code is the DOS client, and says this is actually beneficial to the prospective hardware vendors who need everything to be as, fast and like machine code as possible. Citrix’s technology is being used by Wyse Technologies Inc, and Sun Microsystems Inc is working on making its JavaStations compatible with the ICA protocol to enable them to run Windows applications. While Weiss says that WinFrame can already cope with around 25 users per processor, he says there is also work underway on being able to cluster the server side, enabling a number of servers to be ‘tied together’. A user would log in and would then be routed to the least busy machine, without having to know anything about it, says Weiss. I think Exodus will be unable to do this.


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