REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 28, 1999 — Now information technology managers will have more choices when they deploy Windows-based Terminal (WBT) thin clients to replace their
terminal systems, due to the announcement of a new WBT platform built around Microsoft’s Windows NT Embedded 4.0 operating system.
WBT Professional will offer the highest levels of performance and capability for thin clients to the WBT family, complementing WBT Standard, the Windows CE-based WBT that today commands 50 percent of the thin-client market worldwide, according to a June 1999 report by IDC. WBT Professional is designed for higher-end thin clients that require a local Internet Explorer 5.0 browser and streaming media support, as well as support for SNMP manageability and high-performance graphics. Commercial availability for WBT Professional is expected in the first quarter of calendar year 2000.
Windows-based Terminal Standard, based on Windows CE, is the lowest-cost Windows-based thin client and is designed for customers who need a simple and easy-to-manage thin-client solution. WBT Standard on Windows CE has been available since 1998 through original equipment manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard Co., Wyse Technology Inc., Network Computing Devices Inc., Neoware Systems Inc., TeleVideo, Inc. and Boundless Technologies Inc.
Windows-based Terminal Standard and Professional are built on the proven technology of Windows CE and Windows NT Embedded, which offer a rich, graphical environment that contrasts sharply with the limited flexibility of the green screen terminals used to connect to mainframes. WBTs are an excellent way to bring Windows applications and the Windows desktop experience to task-based employees, or where the power and flexibility of the PC may not be appropriate. Employees already familiar with the Windows desktop interface will require little or no retraining to make the move to a Windows-based Terminal system.
Both terminal products connect to a server running Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition, where Microsoft Windows-based applications such as Microsoft Office 2000 are installed and managed in a centralized manner. Under this server-based computing model, applications are executed on the server, with the user interface transmitted to a client device running Terminal Server client software.
Because of this, Windows-based Terminals are extremely lightweight, requiring just enough memory in flash ram to boot, and then connect to and manage sessions with the server. These thin clients use flash memory, so there are no storage devices or moving parts on the client to break down.
With the addition of a Web browser, a Windows-based Terminal Professional device can access both Windows applications and browser-based applications that are written in HTML, XML or Java.
“Microsoft’s WBT family will provide a scalable range of thin-client platforms, from inexpensive terminal replacement devices, to higher-end devices with full support for a local Internet Explorer browser,”
said Dave Pollon, product manager in the Business and Enterprise division at Microsoft.
“Customers now have even more flexibility to choose the right Windows client to meet their business needs.”
Systems running Windows-based Terminal Standard have a smaller footprint, requiring 8 MB of flash memory and 16 MB of RAM, and can sell for less than $500. The Professional version requires 16 MB of flash memory and at least 32 MB of RAM, more if you add Internet Explorer or plan to run a lot of applications. These devices are usually under $1,000.
Server-based applications offer IT managers a number of benefits, especially the rapid distribution of Windows applications to a disparate client environment. Applications can be centrally managed, eliminating the hassle of having to install software and distribute upgrades to hundreds of clients. For customer environments such as education, retail/distribution, transportation and banking, which rely on branch networks, this can mean a huge savings in total cost of ownership.
In addition to the desk-bound solution, Microsoft today announced Windows-based Mobile Terminals for professionals on the go. Based on Windows CE-based Handheld PC Professional Edition, Windows-based Mobile Terminal enables handheld devices to connect to a Windows NT Terminal Server, over either wired or wireless LAN or dial-up connections.