Technology Positioning Statement Report

4.2.3 Remote Access Clients for Portable Platforms

Description: Remote access clients for notebook and hand-held computers.

Category: 4 - Client Platforms   Subcategory: 2 - Hand-held Client Platforms
Old Category: none




Industry UsageSC Usage

Performance Metrics

Security; platform scope; speed; ease of implementation.

Usage and Dependencies

Industry Usage: Disconnected use continues to be extremely common among power users and executives the decision-making crowd. Giga has regularly asked its clients and conference audiences how important disconnected use is, and almost without fail, managers, IT architects, CIOs and CEOs continue to rely on this mode of computing. Until there really is reliable, accessible and fast bandwidth everywhere on airplanes, in hotel rooms in the Swiss Alps, on trains, in airports, on the beaches of the Caribbean (this is an extreme example, but people do work there at times) disconnected computing will remain a necessity.

Citrix cannot fulfill this need; thus, its opportunities are not absolutely limitless with MetaFrame. Although Citrix has added Unix flavors of MetaFrame to its portfolio this year, it continues to be very Microsoft-centric. Citrix has never escaped the scrutiny of investors and skeptics who question how long Microsoft will leave the lion's share of a growing market alone. Every MetaFrame license sold on a Windows server also means a sale for Microsoft, but it has historically added functionality to its operating system over time that displaces third-party tools vendors. Citrix is constantly working to stay two steps ahead of the features in Terminal Services, potentially at the expense of other initiatives, such as MetaFrame for Unix or Project Vertigo. For example, it released new features for its MetaFrame 1.8 for Windows server platforms, but it has not yet released those same features to its MetaFrame for Unix products. Microsoft's recent agreement with Citrix competitor Tarantella suggests that Redmond sees opportunities for the Terminal Services platform beyond what Citrix can offer.

Additionally, Citrix faces competition from the "Webification" of applications. This trend has the potential to make MetaFrame obsolete over a period of years, and MetaFrame accounts for close to 75 percent of Citrix's sales. There has been a tremendous focus recently on "Webifying" the back-end systems for a variety of enterprise applications, including customer relationship management (CRM) software, supply-chain management and financial software. -- Market Leader Citrix Faces Challenges, David Friedlander, Giga, Nov. 22, 2000.

SC Usage: Client ease-of-use is a universal support goal for remote users. Sheltering the end-user from configuration issues is most evident in remote session environments such as Citrix MetaFrame. Furthermore, initial installation requires little client-side disk space and takes only a few minutes and little effort by the user. Wireless access requires infrastructure support similar to that of a LAN client. Dial-up continues to require high levels of back-end support.

SC now also provides direct access to MS Exchange e-mail and associated facilities (contact list, personal calendar, etc.) through the SC-server-based BlackBerry System from Research In Motion. Web-based remote access to e-mail is also available to SC users through the MS Exchange service Outlook Web Access (OWA). The SC Terminal Server will continue to be upgraded to offer SC applications for use via the Web.

SC Application Impacts: The Flexiplace and SCIP projects, which require remote access to general functions such as e-mail and most IMSC applications will be impacted. Decisions must be made about whether reduced functionality must be implemented for remote access, and which subset of functionalities will be implemented for remote users. Security concerns at the network and OS level are paramount.

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