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Novell OnDemand Services Simplifies the Delivery of eProvisions

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Linda Kennard

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Posted: 11 Oct 2001

Version: Novell OnDemand Services 1.5

Check out this great article from Novell Connection magazine. Come find out how Novell OnDemand Services 1.5 makes your thin-client computing environment precisely what it should be: an environment that saves you time (and your company money).

Over the past few years, several trade journals have suggested that "thin is in"--even for network computing. In fact, this catch phrase has become the cheer for the thin-client computing paradigm. Thin-client computing refers to a model in which workstations running little more than lightweight client software launch applications that are running on remote servers. In other words, in a thin-client computing model, servers house applications, and thin clients simply display those applications, forming a relationship reminiscent of that between mainframes and dumy terminals.

As a network administrator or IS manager, you probably know the professed point of thin-client computing: Thin-client computing is supposed to make your work life easier. The logic to this claim is convincing: If you enable workstations to launch applications that are stored on servers, you will likely reduce the amount of time (and money) required to maintain these workstations. After all, you won't need to upgrade workstation hardware as frequently, nor will you have to upgrade software on hundreds of workstations distributed throughout your enterprise. (For more information, see "Thin-Client Computing: Why Bother Losing Weight?")

All of this may be true, but many thin-client computing environments today trade a reduction in workstation maintenance for an increase in network maintenance. For example, suppose you have deployed farms of servers running Microsoft Windows NT 4.0, Terminal Server Edition (TSE); Windows 2000 (with Terminal Services enabled); or Citrix MetaFrame (on top of Windows terminal services). Whatever your specific case, for users who require access to your terminal server farm, you have little choice but to manually create and maintain user accounts in either NT Domains or Active Directory (or maybe even both)--even though these users may already have accounts in Novell eDirectory.

In addition, before you can enjoy the convenience of thin-client computing, you have to install client software on users' workstations. If you are running Windows terminal servers, you have to install the Terminal Services Access Client (TSAC), which uses the Remote Display Protocol (RDP) to establish sessions between thin clients and terminal servers. If you are running Citrix MetaFrame, then you have to install the Independent Computing Architecture (ICA) client. If you have users who need access to both your Windows terminal servers and your Citrix servers, then you have to equip these users' workstations with both the TSAC and ICA clients.

Thin-client computing is not supposed to be this hard. Deploying a model that eases the burden of maintaining workstations makes no sense if that same model increases the burden of maintaining the network.

To restore the logic underlying the thin-client computing model, Novell has developed Novell OnDemand Services 1.5, which is Net services software. Released on April 16, 2001, Novell OnDemand Services 1.5 integrates thin-client computing technology with directory technology, or more specifically, with eDirectory. By directory enabling thin-client computing environments, Novell OnDemand Services 1.5 ensures that these environments do what you expect them to do--that is, make your work life easier.

Read the whole article in Novell Connection magazine.

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