Feeds

IBM throws weight behind server-managed clients

Thick client bad, thin client bad?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

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

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
Sin COS to tan Windows? Chinese operating system to debut in autumn – report
Development alliance working on desktop, mobe software
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?