Chart: Thin-Client Software Compared

Here's how several different thin-client systems stack up.


Thin-Client Software

Windows 2000

Terminal Services

MetaFrame XP Tarantella Enterprise 3.1 X Window System
Vendor Microsoft Corp., Redmond, Wash. Citrix Systems Inc., Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Tarantella Inc., Santa Cruz, Calif., Menlo Park, Calif.
What it runs on: Windows 2000 Server and Advanced Server Windows 2000 application servers (must also be running Windows Terminal Services) Unix middleware server that sits between clients and application servers Supported by virtually all Unix distributions
Application servers it supports: Windows 2000 Server Solaris, AIX, HP/UX, Windows NT, Windows 2000 Windows, Unix, AS/400, IBM 3270 and Web-based applications Unix
Clients it supports: Any Windows client; Internet Explorer with Remote Display Protocol Active X control. Windows, Mac, X Window, OS/2, Linux, any Internet Explorer browser-enabled device that supports a plug-in. X Window emulator, or any Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer browser with Java applet support. X terminal or Unix or GNU/Linux workstation with X emulation software.
What it will cost: Included in Windows 2000 client access license Enterprise version starts at $300 per concurrent user. MetaFrame for Unix 1.1 is $4,995. Server license includes 15 users, additional users start at $200 each $499 per concurrent user, plus $69 per user for AS/400 or IBM S/390 support Some emulation software available for free; X terminal and commercial emulation software prices vary
Key points: Terminal Services now integrated into the Windows 2000 code base, which should increase reliability and application compatibility Now supports NDS and Active Directory Requires no changes to back-end servers or client systems The standard for Unix thin-client computing
Improved RDP protocol is faster over low-bandwidth connections No longer limits MetaFrame server farms to one subnet   X is not as efficient as Tarantella over low-bandwidth connections
  Nfuse Web front end can present each users' applications on a personalized Web page.    
Best for: Small to mid-size installations Large enterprise implementations, where sophisticated load- balancing and management tools are important Offices where users also need access to Unix or mainframe applications Access to X Window applications over local-area networks or other high-bandwidth connections

Copyright © 2002 IDG Communications, Inc.

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