Updated: Server-Based Computing Software Roundup

Gabe Knuth and I wrote our first server-based computing software round-up almost a year ago. Due to the popularity of this paper, we decided to update it in August 2004 to include the most recent versions of each vendor’s products.

Gabe Knuth and I wrote our first server-based computing software round-up almost a year ago. Due to the popularity of this paper, we decided to update it in August 2004 to include the most recent versions of each vendor’s products.

For years, Citrix has been the only choice for software to power server-based computing environments. Sure, Microsoft's Terminal Server products were out there, but their features paled in comparison to those of Citrix MetaFrame Presentation Server.

However, as Terminal Server continues to gain ground as a standalone solution, many people wonder whether they need to spend money on Citrix or if Terminal Server is enough on its own. Additionally, people often wonder whether any of the smaller, third-party vendors’ products are worth looking into.

This article will help you answer these questions. In it, we're going to look at the features of Microsoft's newest Terminal Server offering and Citrix's newest MetaFrame Presentation Server offering. We'll also look at several smaller vendors—Jetro Platforms' CockpIT and BoostIT products, Tarantella's Secure Global Desktop Terminal Server Edition, DAT Panther, PowerTerm WebConnect, and HOBLink JWT.

The Contenders

This article compares the following products:

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Terminal Services 
  • Citrix MetaFrame Presentation Server 3.0
  • Jetro Platforms' CockpIT /  BoostIT
  • Tarantella Secure Global Desktop / Terminal Server Edition
  • DAT Panther
  • Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect
  • HOBLink JWT

Before we get into the side-by-side comparison of all the products, let's take a quick look at an overview of each one.

Terminal Services for Microsoft Windows Server 2003

I wrote a full review of Terminal Server on Windows 2003 when it was released in April 2003. (Click here to read it.) What's interesting about Terminal Server is it's an absolute requirement if you want to use any of these products. Your real decision is whether you want to use Terminal Server by itself or whether you want to use a third-party product in addition to Terminal Server.

Terminal Server has come a long way since Microsoft released the first version of it in 1998. From a pure protocol standpoint, Terminal Server's RDP protocol of today is just as good as Citrix's ICA protocol. They both support virtually any client platform and they both support access to all local client resources (ports, printers, audio, and the clipboard). Additionally, the new version of RDP supports 24-bit color and very high resolutions.

This protocol equality does not mean that there is no longer a need for third-party products. It just means that there are other things you need to look for when deciding which products are best for your server-based computing solution.

For example, Terminal Server still has some major weaknesses, including:

  • Load-balancing is limited to 32-nodes. Furthermore, the load-balancing algorithm is based on network traffic—not user or processor load.
  • Applications cannot be accessed "seamlessly." This is not a problem if you only plan to run full remote desktops, but the integration of local and remote applications is not that great.
  • Terminal Server does not offer application publishing. Users must access a server to access an application. For example, third-party software allows a user to request an application by name (i.e. "Excel"). Terminal Server requires that an administrator manually set up shortcuts to each application. Again, this is less of a problem if the server is to be used exclusively for remote desktop access instead of remote application access.
  • In Terminal Server environments, each server must be available outside the firewall for external access to applications. It does not include any kind of proxy for the RDP protocol.

The bottom line with Terminal Server is that it can stand on its own in certain environments where users will be accessing full remote desktops, but it cries out for third-party tools in larger and more complex environments. If you do choose to build a Terminal Server-only solution, check out our latest book, “Terminal Services for Windows Server 2003: Advanced Technical Design Guide.”

Citrix MetaFrame Presentation Server 3.0

Citrix is the company that essentially invented modern day Microsoft Windows server-based computing. MetaFrame Presentation Server 3.0 (MPS 3) offers dozens of features, including the all-important application load-balancing, application publishing with seamless windows, and a web interface user portal.

In addition to the core features of MetaFrame, the license fee includes rights to use applications such as "MetaFrame Secure Gateway" (MSG). MSG lets you funnel all of your users, completely encrypted, through a single port on a single IP address. (Check out this article for full details about all the new features of MPS 3.)

While not included with the core product, Citrix also offers a number additional products that further extend MetaFrame's capabilities. Example include MetaFrame Conferencing Manager (a product that enables real-time application sharing and collaboration between users anywhere in the world) and MetaFrame Secure Access Manager (which provides secure and personalized information via a web portal).

The downside to MetaFrame is the price. While it clearly offers the most features and capabilities, it’s also the most expensive, with per-user MSRP prices starting at almost $100 more than the next most-expensive competitor.

Jetro CockpIT 3.0 / BoostIT 3.0

Jetro Platforms' current server-based computing product is CockpIT 3.0. Jetro does not view themselves as a direct competitor to Citrix, Microsoft, or Tarantella. Instead, they focus on creating a "management platform" that allows you to manage your existing environments whether they're Terminal Servers, Citrix MetaFrame servers, or a combination of both.

Jetro uses its own client software that contacts a Jetro server which maintains application lists, server load, user policies, and permissions. Once it determines which server a user should connect to, the Jetro client passes the connection information to the user's standard RDP or ICA client and the session is launched.

Jetro sells two products: CockpIT and BoostIT. These products are technically 100% identical with the only difference being how they are licensed. CockpIT adds all of Jetro's capabilities to Terminal Server and RDP environments. BoostIT supports ICA sessions in addition to RDP. Now, here's where it gets interesting. BoostIT is much cheaper than CockpIT. That's right. The product that supports RDP and ICA is much cheaper ($40 per user) than the product that supports RDP only ($160 per user). Jetro's reasoning behind this is that if you need the ICA version, you've already spent enough money on thin client computing licenses, so they give you a break. (Think of it as a "competitive upgrade.") The catch, of course, is that you have to have previously bought a Citrix ICA license for each BoostIT license that you buy, and they require proof of this upon ordering.

Jetro adds some impressive features onto native Terminal Server. In addition to the now "standard" third-party offerings of seamless windows, application publishing, a slick web interface for application access, and application level load-balancing, Jetro's products also allow you to seamlessly publish and manage applications to users regardless of whether they access them via ICA or RDP. 

In addition, Jetro provides some basic system monitoring functionality from their admin interface. Metrics shown include: Load Degree, % Processor Time, % User Time, Available Mbytes of memory, Handle Count, Pages/Sec, and Thread Count.  While not as robust as Citrix’s Resource Manager or Lakeside Software’s SysTrack, it does provide some indication of the current state of the server from a centralized location. There is also a reporting feature that allows an administrator to generate reports showing server activity by user, server, or application.

The current version of CockpIT/BoostIT is 3.0, which was released in May 2003. Jetro claims that an update to 3.5 is imminent, although they wouldn’t show it to us since we’re not a partner.

More information about Jetro CockpIT and BoostIT, is available via the Jetro Platforms website at http://www.jp-inc.com.

Tarantella Secure Global Desktop 2.1 - Terminal Services Edition

Tarantella’s Secure Global Desktop 2.1, Terminal Server Edition wins the award for the longest product name. (TSGD2.1TSE?) It’s built from the framework laid out by New Moon that Tarantella bought back in 2003. Tarantella’s goals with this product are simple: to bring to market a less expensive alternative to MetaFrame Presentation Server. The Terminal Server Edition of Secure Global Desktop offers about 80% of the functionality of MetaFrame Presentation Server for about 20% of the price. (At least when compared to the initial price. Subscription renewal / maintenance for the Tarantella product is about 66% of renewal for MetaFrame Presentation Server Advanced Edition.)

Note: Tarantella has two “editions” of Secure Global Desktop: an Enterprise Edition and a Terminal Services Edition. Everything we’re talking about here is the Terminal Services Edition. The Enterprise Edition is the “other” stuff that Tarantella is known for, primarily used to hook together Windows Terminal Servers and UNIX x-windows and x-desktops.

Secure Global Desktop - TSE can run on Windows 2000 or Windows 2003. It has all the "major" features of a third-party application server, including application publishing, seamless windows, a web interface, and application-level load-balancing.

Load balancing is accomplished independent of Windows through the use of load balancing services installed on at least one server. This operates in much the same way as the Citrix Load Manager to achieve a load-balanced environment. This fact alone can save a company several thousand dollars in a farm with several servers when compared to using pure Terminal Server since Tarantella’s load-balancing doesn't require the Enterprise Edition of Windows 2003.

One of the features of Secure Global Desktop – TSE that sets it apart from the rest of the pack is the ability to publish applications to specific terminals or groups of terminals rather than simply to users and groups. This is very beneficial in a kiosk or shop floor environment where terminals have one dedicated purpose.

Tarantella is one of the few companies that officially licensed Microsoft's RDP technology, and therefore they provide their own version of Microsoft’s Terminal Services Advanced Client (TSAC). While using the RDP protocol at its core, the Secure Global Desktop client also provides access to additional services like seamless windows and the web interface. Tarantella offers SGD clients for 32-bit Windows, Windows CE, Linux, and Java.

The feature set of Secure Global Desktop 2.1 – Terminal Services Edition, albeit less robust than MetaFrame Presentation Server, is significantly more rich than Windows Terminal Services. Tarantella has succeeded in adding the most used features of Citrix MetaFrame to Windows Terminal Services and has made their product available at a fraction of the cost of MetaFrame.

Tarantella is working on version 4 of Secure Global Desktop 2.1 – Terminal Services Edition, and they’re planning on a 4th quarter 2004 release. New features are said to include certificate-based server authentication, ticketing, SSL encryption and tunneling of all RDP traffic with a MetaFrame Secure Gateway-like relay server, better printing performance, and additional system monitoring and reporting capabilities.

More information about Secure Global Desktop 2.1 can be found on Tarantella’s website.

Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect

Of all the products tested, Ericom’s WebConnect is the newest entrant into the SBC arena. In addition to providing a web interface to Ericom’s other software products (mostly legacy connectivity solutions), Webconnect allows for web-based connectivity to Windows 2000/2003 Terminal Servers.

The main feature of WebConnect is seamless windows, into which they’ve put a lot of work to make it competitive with the other products out there. In conjunction with seamless windows, WebConnect also offers the ability to publish applications. Another important feature is the secure gateway feature, which lets a user access Ericom’s entire suite of WebConnect applications through a single external presence, including their RemoteView RDP client.

The RemoteView client, like other RDP clients, is built on top of the Microsoft Terminal Server Advanced Client (TSAC). RemoteView adds the ability to contact the WebConnect server for connection-specific parameters (server address, display settings, etc.) before connecting to the server. One drawback, however, is that RemoteView only works on Win32 platforms, although they claim support for other platforms is in development.

From a technical standpoint, a user contacts a web server to enumerate the applications to which he/she has access. Based on what the user selects, the appropriate client is launched (legacy, RemoteView, etc.). The client application then contacts the WebConnect server for the application parameters and uses those parameters to launch the actual application. 

One drawback is that there is no application-based load balancing for Terminal Servers. Terminal servers could be configured in an NLB cluster to afford some redundancy, although it would be strictly network-based. Another drawback is that for seamless windows to work, the Terminal Server must be a Windows 2003 server.

While WebConnect isn’t the most advanced Terminal Server add-on on the market, it could prove extremely useful to enterprises that currently have a lot of legacy systems and a light to moderate demand for Windows-based terminal services. Even though the topic of legacy systems goes beyond the scope of this article, it’s safe to say that given Ericom’s legacy-oriented products, there could be a place for it in a highly legacy environment.

You can learn more about Ericom PowerTerm Webconnect RemoteView at their site.

HOBLink JWT

HOBLink JWT has been popular in Europe for quite a while and it’s just now starting to show a presence in the US. There are two versions of HOBLink JWT—a standard version simply called HOBLink JWT, and an enterprise-oriented version called HOBLink JWT EA (Enterprise Access). In addition to these products, HOB also has a product called HOBLink Secure that acts as a secure gateway using the HOBLink JWT client.

HOBLink JWT uses a fully-functioning Java client that enables an organization to centralize the client used to access RDP sessions. The client features are equal to the 32-bit RDC client from Microsoft in that it offers local drive and printer access, clipboard mapping and audio mapping. Additionally, HOBLink JWT adds on several features to help leverage Windows Terminal Services, including application publishing, seamless windows, and application-based load balancing. 

HOBLink JWT EA adds several management features such as user policies, a centralized management console, and AD integration.  Also, HOBLink JWT EA has full read/write LDAP support which allows users to authenticate against different types of LDAP-compliant directories (not just Active Directory).

HOBLink JWT can provide effective, centralized access to Windows Terminal Servers and has been designed to scale easily with the growth of an enterprise’s SBC farm.  While Java might not be the answer for all SBC client problems, this is certainly a step in the right direction. 

A drawback of HOBLink JWT is that in order to have a secure gateway feature, you have to buy another product from them called HOBLink Secure. This product provides SSL encryption of the RDP traffic similar to the other secure gateway-like products included with other vendors.

For more information on HOBLink JWT, HOBLink JWT EA, and HOBLink Secure, visit HOB’s website.

DAT Panther Server 2002

The DAT Group is a large UK-based Microsoft partner that is primarily known for their customized mobile applications. DAT Panther Server 2002 adds some basic functionality on top of Terminal Server. Leveraging the RDP protocol, Panther adds seamless windows, application publishing, and application-level load balancing to Terminal Server environments.

While it lacks a web application interface and some of the other features of the competing software packages, DAT Panther adds basic functionality to Terminal Server for a reasonable cost.

Server-Based Computing Software Feature Comparison Matrix

In addition the basic information about each vendor's offerings, this chart provides a side-by-side comparison of the features and capabilities of each product.


The green check indicates that this feature is explicitly part of this product.
The gray check is for the products that run on top of Terminal Server that inherit this functionality from Terminal Server.
(1) A number in parenthesis after a check indicates that a footnote contains more information. Click on the number to view the footnote.


Basic Information Terminal Server MetaFrame 3
Jetro Tarantella SDG / TSE
DAT Panther Ericom WebConnect
HOBLink JWT
min. Terminal Server version required n/a 2000(1) 2000 NT4 2000 Advanced
2000
2000
Remote Session Protocol RDP ICA ICA/RDP RDP RDP RDP
RDP
Cost per user (US$)(3) Baseline(2) $250-350 $40-160  $60(18) $80 $150
$150
Maintenance cost per user / per year Baseline(2) $40-50 First year free / $16 after 2 yrs free (18) n/a

15%
License Type (concurrent or named user) either conc. conc. conc. conc. conc.
either
Major Features Terminal Server MetaFrame 3
Jetro Tarantella SDG / TSE
DAT Panther Ericom WebConnect
HOBLink JWT
Application Publishing
Seamless Windows
Application Load Balancing
Advanced  Ed (4)
Web Application Interface


Other Features Terminal Server MetaFrame 3
Jetro Tarantella SDG / TSE
DAT Panther Ericom WebConnect
HOBLink JWT
Content Publishing


Content Redirection


with TW
Publish applications to specific workstations
(via policies)


EA
Connect to single application (instead of a full desktop)
Print driver mapping
Print driver replication (5)
Universal Printing


Server load-balancing (15) Advanced Ed (4)
Server availability scheduling




Session Shadowing (6)
Dynamic Session reconfig




Client Features Terminal Server MetaFrame 3
Jetro Tarantella SDG / TSE
DAT Panther Ericom WebConnect
HOBLink JWT
Web-based client install
Auto client update (7)

Local Drive Access
Local Printer Access
Local / Remote Clipboard Mapping
Local COM/LPT Port Access
Audio Mapping W2k3 only
W2k3 only W2k3 only W2k3 only W2k3 only
Client Desktop Integration (automatically place application icons in Start Menu, etc.)

Have it's own client
24-bit color, high resolution W2k3 only W2k3 only W2k3 only W2k3 only W2k3 only
Client multi-monitor support




Client Platforms Terminal Server MetaFrame 3
Jetro Tarantella SDG / TSE
DAT Panther Ericom WebConnect
HOBLink JWT
32-bit Windows (19)
16-bit Windows



DOS (8)



Macintosh


(19)
Linux/Unix (9)

(19)
Java (10)

Windows CE / PocketPC

Security Features Terminal Server MetaFrame 3
Jetro Tarantella SDG / TSE
DAT Panther Ericom WebConnect
HOBLink JWT
SSL Encryption
TLS Encryption
Proxy Support
SSL Gateway Support

NIAP Certification EAL 4+ (11)




EAL 2
Pass-through authentication

Management Features Terminal Server MetaFrame 3
Jetro Tarantella SDG / TSE
DAT Panther Ericom WebConnect
HOBLink JWT
Delegated administration (12)

Remotely push server install


settings only
User policies

EA
Centralized Mgmt Console EA
Clone Server



System Monitoring (13) Ent Ed. (14)
Detailed Usage Reporting
Ent Ed. (14) (16)
Application packaging & delivery
Ent Ed. (14)




Full Active Directory Integration
(17) (17)
(17) EA
LDAP Support






EA

notes
This chart only provides an overview of the basic features. Each vendor believes that their product is better than the rest, and each vendor is able to provide you with a more complete list of features.

(1) Citrix MetaFrame XP with Feature Release 2 and newer require Windows 2000 or Windows 2003. MetaFrame XP with Feature Release 1 and older also run on Windows NT 4.0 Terminal Server Edition.
(2) Microsoft Windows Terminal Server pricing is listed as "baseline" because you need to but these licenses no matter what. (i.e. The other three vendors' pricing is in addition to the Microsoft pricing.) Plus, the Microsoft pricing and licensing has too many options to fit in this little chart.
(3) These prices or the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices. You actuall pricing may vary depending on your reseller. Also, when we asked for MSRP information from the vendors, every vendor pointed out that they offered discounted pricing for larger purchases, and that they offered special pricing for public sector and education markets.
(4) This feature requires the "Advanced" version of MetaFrame (formally known as "XPa"). The US MSRP of MetaFrame XP Advanced Edition is $300 per user, and maintenance is $45 per user per year.
(5) Print driver replication requires a free utility called "Print Migrator." If you want to automate the replication process, you'll have to script it and use the command scheduler.
(6) An addition to standard admin shadowing, Citrix offers "user-to-user" shadowing, which allows users (with appropriate permissions) to shadow other users via a specialized shadowing tool. This is very cool.
(7) Auto-client update capabilities are not included with Terminal Server. However, Microsoft likes to point out that you can use SMS, IntelliMirror, and/or MSI technologies to automatically update RDP client software. Still, this is not as easy to use as Citrix's out-of-the-box auto client update capabilities.
(8) DOS client support is available via a third-party client from
(9) Linux / Unix client support is available via a free, open source client
(10) Java client support is available via a third-party client from
(11) Microsoft Windows 2000 is EAL 4 + Flaw Remediation certified. Check out this link for details. As of this writing, Windows Server 2003 is not yet certified.
(12) Citrix delegated administration
(13) Win sys monitoring and analysis
(14) This feature requires the "Enterprise" version of MetaFrame (formally known as "XPe"). The US MSRP of MetaFrame XP Enterprise Edition is $350 per user, and maintenance is $50 per user per year.
(15) Requires the "Enterprise" edition of Windows 2003 to fully use server load-balancing.
(16) DAT Panther does not include a built-in reporting engine. Rather, it makes all its information available for export to Excel, Crystal Reports, etc.
(17) New Moon's and Jetro's products do integrate with Active Directory. However, rather than extending the AD schema, they maintain their own database that contains a replica of the AD information that they need.
(18) Tarantella Secure Global Desktop - TSE has no base price. Instead, you simply pay for two years of maintenance. That's a fancy way of saying it costs $60 per user.
(19) The only HOBLink client is Java. Therefore, you can get Win32 / Mac / etc. access by running the Java client on that specific platform.

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This message was originally posted by itSide on March 8, 2004
Thanx for a greate overview
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This message was originally posted by salvisberg@salvisberg.ch on April 4, 2004
In your otherwise superb article there's some information missing:
http://www.brianmadden.com/content/content.asp?ID=98
>>(8) DOS client support is available via a third-party client from
from who?
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This message was originally posted by roger.baerts@xtenso.be on April 8, 2004
In Europe, certainly in Germany, HOB is very popular!. How does it position to MS TS & Citrix (and the others)
thx for your comments
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This message was originally posted by ClaudioR on May 27, 2004
That is my DOSRDP XP product! Check http://www.terminal-services.net.
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This message was originally posted by Owen Dukes on June 29, 2004
Tarantella now changed the pricing policy and is giving the producy away free. You just need to commit to 2 years maintenance which is $59.00. This must be the best product for the price on the market.
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This message was originally posted by Frank on July 9, 2004
Very good article. Can you make a new comparison with the new Jetro release v3.5 and Citrix Presentation Server 3.0?
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This message was originally posted by Gabe Knuth on July 27, 2004
I'm working with Jetro right now on evaluating the new version 3.5. It will be included in the Round-Up when it is released to the public. It is currently only released to partners.
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This message was originally posted by Keith D. on August 2, 2004
I would like to take a serious look at these products but my two concerns are support and company stability. I know that there are many levels of support available from numerous sources for Citrix products, and I have a pretty good feeling that Citrix will be around. What about these companies?
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This message was originally posted by Brian Madden on August 2, 2004
If you look at all the "other" third-party companies, Tarantella is the absolute leader in terms product functionality and price. However, Keith raises a really good point. Why isn't Tarantella kicking everyone else's butt? Their stock price is $1.45 (currently trading on the Pink Sheets market). They only do about $12M per year in revenue (Citrix does more than that in a WEEK), and they've been losing money quarter after quarter. However, they have a great product and $16M in assets, so let's keep our fingers crossed!
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This message was originally posted by Tom H on August 4, 2004
What I am trying to decide now is whether or not to move away from Citrix and just use Terminal Services by itself. I am very used to the ease of administration that Citrix offers, not to mention the application publishing, seamless windows, NFuse, etc. Plus, the users would have to go through a learning curve. So, is it worth switiching after the initial investment in Citrix is already made?
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This message was originally posted by an anonymous visitor on August 10, 2004
Overall, Citrix still provides the best enterprise solution, for big companies with a lot of capitol. If Citrix would create a water-down of version of MPS 3.0 like Brian mentioned in the past they would do better. I think this is where Tarantella looks attractive, the bottom line for a lot of companies is $$$ and many smaller companies would like to use TS/Citrix but simply can't afford it. It's a matter of time before they all have the same functionality. Once a solution is rolled out companies usually stick with it.
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This message was originally posted by Tom McD on August 10, 2004
The more I read about Tarantella, the more convinced I become that this is an exceptional product that offers great value and is easy to administer. Using Tarantella's product allows you to protect your investment in Microsoft enviornment without overpaying for Citrix Metaframe. There still a small company, but they have a great clientele list including the National Security Administration, Oracle, and Bank of America. I would like to see Tarantella forge new alliances in the marketplace.
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This message was originally posted by French Reader on August 9, 2004
Thanks to update with the new functionality of TSE third-party and Citrix MF PS.
Again!!! (on next update) :-)
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This message was originally posted by an anonymous visitor on August 11, 2004
You know if Tarantella got the same consideration and evaluated as much as Citrix maybe Citrix would not be the percieved as the market leader!!!!
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This message was originally posted by PaulH on August 16, 2004
In reference to Tom H's question. If you have already spent a lot of cash on a Citrix solution and want a good value way to add more users check out Jetro's BoostIT product. if you are thinking of spending a lot of cash on a Citrix solution - Wait. Check out Tarantella SGD it is becoming a genuine alternative. To answer some of the other comments Tarantella have just had a cash boost and I have used ther support and it is OK - But not wonderful. However who has had wonderful support from any of the vendors? The best TS support I have had was from Microsoft UK and that just about says it all. 8-)
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This message was originally posted by an anonymous visitor on August 24, 2004
'Tarantella Secure Global Desktop 2.1 - Terminal Services Edition' ALREADY allows the tunneling of all the RDP traffic through one, or more, relay server/s, with a Metaframe Secure Gateway-like mechanism.
There's no need to wait for the next version, as you state at the end of the product description.
The other thing which should be considered by your comparison is the 'application availability' issue.
I know that Tarantella's SGD2.1TSE can grant the application availability in the 'business critical' environments with minimal or no efforts (no need to acquire cluster solutions, which would dramatically increase the total price of ownership), because all its software components can be redundant on different servers. What about the other contenders?
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This message was originally posted by an anonymous visitor on August 23, 2004
I agree with Paul. Tarantella SGD is now a real alternative. A strong balance sheet and a new management team focused on customers, has convinced me to switch. My level of support has been fairly good. Tarantella is partnering with IBM, so theres your stability.
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This message was originally posted by Brian Madden on August 23, 2004
This is a Microsoft Terminal Server website, so that's why I didn't add that name to the title. More importantly, how are VMware and Netraverse competitors to Terminal Server? Feel free to email me offline at brian@brianmadden.com.
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This message was originally posted by an anonymous visitor on August 22, 2004
It's a nice overview but the title should be:
Microstoft terminal server based Computing Software Roundup!
That's because alternative MS windows terminal servers from VMware and Netraverse (win4lin) are not mentioned in this article although they are in most cases a much better option at a much better price.
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This message was originally posted by Mexican connectivity expert on August 25, 2004
This comparison is not to bad, but is still incomplete, and also is a Tarantella oriented comparison.
I tested several months on my own company the Citrix, tarantella and also HOB Enterprise access and HOB has more features than you menitioned.
E.g, HOB has th HOB Enhaced Terminal Server, wich is an add-on to the TS to improve the Local drive mapping to the win2k3 server, wich adds antivirus protection, policy of use of files and resources of the mapping, Load balancing more efficent based on configured flags like, cpu load, memory load, etc, and also a own monitor. This package, also provides drive mapping to windows 2000 and NT4.0 TSE.

And you said that HOB doesn't support NT4, and this is incorrect. HOB JWT / EA supports NT4 Terminal Server Edition.

Talking of High disponibility, hob is strongest resistent to the 'fail over' than tarantella and you didn't say it.

And the last one BIG feature, HOB is prepared to work with strong encriptyon SSL/TLS up to 256bit and it comes with the JWT or EA inside, and also with is own PKI Certificate Generator, you can enforce the security, and this is chaper than any other solution, because this one only pay for the program, not for wich third party certificate as Citrix and tarantella does.

I think that the people that maked this comparison table not tested very well all the products. :-(
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This message was originally posted by Jochen Stiepel on September 22, 2004
It would be nice if you could enhance your table with the NX Product of
NoMachine (http://www.nomachine.com/)
There you only have to pay per server not per user and the client is
available for many OS's.


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This message was originally posted by Propero Propero on September 23, 2004
Brian, How many users have any of these products got? I agree with some of your writers, how come Tarantella hasn't whipped Citrix's ****.....especially since they are now giving the product away. There is a product in the UK that has grown more users than Tarantella, yet has been in operation for less than 4 years, and that is Propero. It has some very interesting prospects, and has the backing of IBM which will surely give it some clout in this growing marketplace. I would suggest you include it in your next survey!
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This message was originally posted by julesman on October 4, 2004
2003 TS doesn't support concurrent licensing as the table indicates. It suports per user and\or per device licensing models.
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This message was originally posted by Brian Madden on October 16, 2004
You are correct in that you can use NLB on any version of Windows 2003. However, the Terminal Server session directory capabilities (which allow users to reconnect to their existing sessions in NLB environments) are only available in W2K3 Enterprise Edition, and most people view this is a necessary component of TS load balancing. I'll update the article so that it's more clear.
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This message was originally posted by an anonymous visitor on October 15, 2004
You wrote:

"Load balancing is accomplished independent of Windows through the use of load balancing services installed on at least one server. This operates in much the same way as the Citrix Load Manager to achieve a load-balanced environment. This fact alone can save a company several thousand dollars in a farm with several servers when compared to using pure Terminal Server since Tarantella’s load-balancing doesn't require the Enterprise Edition of Windows 2003."

But according to Microsoft the Windows 2003 Standard edition includes NLB.do I need the Enterprise edition or not?

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/evaluation/features/compareeditions.mspx
(http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/evaluation/features/compareeditions.mspx).
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This message was originally posted by Michel van Eeuwen on October 21, 2004
Brian, thanks a lot for your clear explenation as repsond to my question about NLB
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This message was originally posted by CMan on October 28, 2004
In response to Mr Propero, I was uner the impression that the Propero solution was not a 'packaged or shrinkwrapped' solution, and although based on open source products is a solution tailored specifically for any environment. For this reason it would be difficult to make any direct comparison with the above products. That said, I spent some time talking to the Propero people, and they're the smartest bunch of guys (and gals) you are ever likely to meet!!
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This message was originally posted by MartinW on November 8, 2004
I would like to see a similar evaluation done on ThinWorx, with its inclusion in your matrix.

Also, it is understood that the thin client industry (including Citrix) has, to date, still got deficiencies when looking at managing applications that misbehave, and flaws and complexities when looking at transmitting print jobs over WAN links. Tools that are on the market to address these functional deficiencies include:
- UniPrint (for printing)
- ThinPrint (better: "driverless" printing, compression of print jobs, etc)
- AppSense (application mgmt: throttle application resource utilisation, block execution of specific exe's, etc)

Do any of the SBC platforms available on the market incorporate some of the features presented by these tools?

Lastly, thank-you for this article and others on this site. They are very informative and present Citrix alternatives confidently and independently for consideration - it is quite difficult to find material on the internet that documents these alternatives in any way.

Keep up the good work!

MW
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This message was originally posted by an anonymous visitor on November 17, 2004
Tom McD states that Bank of America uses Tarantella, which is not true. BOA is a heavy Citrix user and are a key provider of customer feedback to Citrix.
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This message was originally posted by ChrisH on December 10, 2004
When you build a SBC solution for a large organisation (say 10.000+ clients) then Citrix will be your only option deu to the 32 node limitation, I think else your support and adminisration becomes to complex.
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This message was originally posted by an anonymous visitor on December 10, 2004
Perhaps you could include Graphon Corp's GoGlobal Software in the matrix as well.
I ran the 30 day demo, and it is by far the easiest to set up, manage and run.
No printing or driver issues either. you can get a demo at http:\\www.graphon.com

If I could dump my TS/Citrix licenses & go with this, I would.
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Hob is currently not very popular in Germany. The most customers with more than 200 Users have farms based on Metaframe.
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Your feature set comparison talks about two different features: server load-balancing and application load balancing. What's the difference between these two?
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I looked at the article with great interest and talked about the pros and cons of TS vs Citrix on an enterprise envirnoment, but for SMB's that requires secure, fast remote access, thin client environment, and leaving the initial investment aside, would Citrix still be a much too complicated and costly environment to run and maintain on-going ? We do need to have remote users to access our home server for doing simple photoshop finishing work on jpg digital pictures which could be about 400K size per picture, is this a viable type of work to perform on remote basis ?
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I guess it depends on what we mean by remote - are we talking about lan or wan, and what latency? 31ms dsl is good, but deploying overseas 300ms latency is a no go. Are they all in the same office or are they working from home -each with their own dsl line? and how big is the isp pipe from the citrix servers? I have not deployed photoshop on citrix, only on powerful graphics workstations. Usually p4, 2-4gb ram, $600 video cards, and crazy expensive monitors. I think photoshop users would be a very hard crowd to please on citrix. but it sounds like your users are not as complex as the normal photoshop guru. that might be doable if there was a guarantee on the file size at max 400k. I would check photoshop memory usage and cpu when you open these 400k files. they might have a bigger footprint than you think. Citrix would give you a performance gain over remote network files, but obviously you would take a hit compared to local execution. it's an interesting question though. You should also look at the scratch file location per user and how that would be configured. this would be a job for a separate physical container, 15k rpm scsi raid striped with no parity. Giving the user some real juice on the scratch file might help make up for not running locally. I'm just blowing smoke here though - I think you'll need to find a citrix consultant who has deployed photoshop many times and have them give you the price tag.

-Mark
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Honestly if you're talking 50 users running PhotoShop on 1 server I'd say you'd be better served to invest in a decent clientless VPN and let them use a local copy of Photoshop to edit the network based JPG files. Better yet, put in some type of web-based file repository like a SharePoint or Groove Networks (I guess it's now Microsoft's Groove) solution and allow the users to perform library-style check-in/check out functions. The only problem with this solution is that you're still dealing with supporting end users local installations of Photoshop. My personal opinion though is that your PhotoShop users are going to be pretty pissed off trying to edit their images smoothly if you do this via TS/Citrix.

Shawn
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Bzzzzt. Wrong. They are a Tarantella customer. Maybe they just use both products in different project arenas.
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Hi, all,

I haven't understood the meaning of "User Policies" which results not to be checked on the Tarantella SGD/TSE column.
I would like to point out that Tarantella SGD/TSE v.4 has a WEB console page from which the administrators can define how to set the main AD group policies involved in the application publishing from a server. If this is what you meant, then Tarantella TSE/SGD has got it.

Regarding the "Dynamic Session reconfig", It could be interesting to put a note on this page for explaining what it is.
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ORIGINAL: Shawn Bass

Honestly if you're talking 50 users running PhotoShop on 1 server I'd say you'd be better served to invest in a decent clientless VPN and let them use a local copy of Photoshop to edit the network based JPG files. Better yet, put in some type of web-based file repository like a SharePoint or Groove Networks (I guess it's now Microsoft's Groove) solution and allow the users to perform library-style check-in/check out functions. The only problem with this solution is that you're still dealing with supporting end users local installations of Photoshop. My personal opinion though is that your PhotoShop users are going to be pretty pissed off trying to edit their images smoothly if you do this via TS/Citrix.

Shawn
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Interesting comment! Shows that somebody has no clue at all.
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