Feeds

IBM throws weight behind server-managed clients

Thick client bad, thin client bad?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

To understand the logic behind IBM's latest strategy announcement - centering on the concept of server-managed clients - you've first got to look at the downside of both thick and thin clients.

Thick clients are bad because of the challenges with distributing code, the high cost, both to IT and the end-user, of management and maintenance, and the fact that the solution is limited to PCs.

Thin clients are bad because they do not provide the rich user experience that can be developed on a thick client. Add to this conundrum the fact that more and more business users will want to move between different client types during a working day - high specification desk top in the office, tablet in the client, voice activated PDA in the car...

Key to IBM's server-managed clients concept is the idea being that any application, data, user interface, transaction or message on the client can be managed from the server. This means that the user does not have to worry about anything but their business problems. Data created on the client will automatically be synchronised with a copy at the server. Applications can run in the client or the server depending on the form of the client and the type of connection. The application and data will be provisioned when needed (on demand). All of this with the TCO profile of a thin client.

It is an appealing vision: TCO of thin client, richness of the thick client and flexibility to run across any client. Can IBM deliver on the vision? It has a strategy for doing so, backed with products to drive the process.

The company recently announced WebSphere Studio 5.1.2 which provides support for three new Java specifications: Java Server Faces, Service Data Objects and Portal Tools. All of which assist the development of rich function on a thin client, for example they can include dynamic graphs that reflect changes put in by the user without having to round trip to the server.

To accompany the strategy, IBM has announced new versions of Workplace Client, Rich Edition to support a thick client PC, and Workplace Client, Micro Edition to support a variety of small forms factor devices.

The rich edition provides the support for dynamic provisioning, data synchronisation, and a set of component such as calendaring and a word processing editor. Together they should supply a productive workplace for the user, which can be used on any thick client operating system, Windows, Linux and even Mac/OS.

The micro edition provides support for micro version of the database, transaction and messaging across 20+ operating environments. This is a fascinating announcement because it has to be seen as IBM going head-to-head with Microsoft to win the corporate user interface. For the enterprises who buy into IBM's strategy, Microsoft will become the supplier of one of the possible operating systems, and a supplier of some productivity applications.

I expect to see more initiatives from the Java community this year which will directly take on Microsoft and provide an open alternative. Microsoft and the .NET community will react. So let battle commence.

© IT-Analysis.com

Related stories

IBM bangs drum for client middleware
IBM and Cisco feel the networking love
IBM to assault users with virtualization technology

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
Whoah! How many Google Play apps want to read your texts?
Google's app permissions far too lax – security firm survey
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
OpenWRT gets native IPv6 slurping in major refresh
Also faster init and a new packages system
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.