What is Terminal Server / Application Server Computing?

What is Terminal Server / Application Server Computing?
Application server computing is a Server Architecture that enables applications to be deployed, managed and supported 100 percent from a server, and accessed by users anywhere using existing devices and networks. This computing approach delivers key business benefits including faster time to value for new and updated applications, cost savings and greater IT efficiency.

How Does Application Server Computing Work?
Application server computing incorporates a multi-user operating system that allows multiple, concurrent users to log on and run an application simultaneously in protected sessions on a Single Server. Application server computing utilizes a remote presentation services protocol which centralizes application processing on the server and sends only keystrokes, mouse clicks and screen updates across the network. It also centralizes management of applications, systems and users on the server.

A highly efficient, remote presentation services protocol separates an applications logic from its user interface and allows only keystrokes, mouse clicks and screen updates to travel the network. In thin-client /server computing, multi-user capabilities allow applications and data to be deployed, managed, supported and executed 100% on the server. This makes a limited IT staff more productive.

So my computer does nothing now?
Not exactly, you still need your computer to start the Terminal Server session. Think of it like this, your Keyboard, Mouse and Monitor send and recieve all their information via the Network cable. Once your machine starts the Terminal Session your computer is basically just showing you what the Server is doing, not your computer. In a sense, your computer has become a "Dumb Terminal." Since all software is managed from the Server, problems can be resolved a lot faster than having to manage software installed on hundreds or even thousands of computers or having to make a trip to those computers for an update.

What are the Benefits of Thin Client Computing?
Ease of management and a lower cost of deployment are important benefits of thin client computing but they aren't the big reasons experts expect the industry to double again this year and more than multiply six times over by 2003. What a company should really care about is the "total cost of ownership," which includes not only the up-front cost of the hardware of an individual computer, but also the much higher price of installing, supporting and updating the computer over time. This is the real value of thin client computing.

Does Thin Client Computing Differ from the Terminal-Mainframe Approach of the 1960's, 1970's and 80's?
Apart from the very simple desktop management and elimination of frequent desktop upgrades, thin client computing differs greatly from the mainframe-terminal model in four primary ways:

  • Access to All Network Operating EnvironmentsThin client computing provides simultaneous network-based access to applications running in multiple environmentsincluding Windows and Legacy Mainframesfrom one graphical desktop. The mainframe computing model usually provided a connection between the terminal and one mainframe host.
  • Graphical Desktop InterfaceThin clients present a user with the familiar Windows graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and provide full multimedia support for video, audio and high-resolution imaging. Character terminals provided access primarily to character(Text)-based applications.
  • Local processingThin clients contain powerful RISC-based CPUs that are used for a variety of display and input-output functions and also run local emulators, a web browser and Java-based applications. Character terminals provided very rudimentary local capabilities.