REDMOND, Wash., June 28, 2000 — Released today, Microsoft’s Terminal Services Advanced Client (TSAC) provides system administrators and users with automatic Web-based way access to applications hosted on a server running Windows 2000 Terminal Services. Enabling access through a Web page will make it much easier for anyone, including application service providers (ASPs) and independent software vendors (ISVs), to deploy and use applications hosted on a terminal server.
The TSAC, developed for Windows 2000, is a 32-bit Windows-based ActiveX control that lets users run Terminal Services sessions from within Microsoft Internet Explorer 4 and above. The new ActiveX control provides almost the same functionality as the full Terminal Services Client, but is designed to deliver this functionality over the Internet.
“Application service providers have really been looking forward to this because it allows them to easily distribute Terminal Services applications to unmanaged desktops via the Web regardless of a user’s particular system or level of training,”
said Mark Aggar, product manager for Microsoft’s Terminal Services Technologies.
“They can now simply point customers to a URL.”
The embedded ActiveX control delivers Terminal Services applications in a manner that is unobtrusive to users.
The Web-based TSAC broadens the number of options available for deploying terminal server-hosted applications by making it possible to simply download a Terminal Services client as an ActiveX control from a Web site. Until now, the Terminal Services client had to be installed and set up manually on each desktop before users could access Terminal Services applications.
Users and administrators also gain the flexibility to roam to a different desktop and quickly access an application simply by visiting a URL. Administrators need only distribute that URL to users, instead of an entire application. Administrators can quickly update both the Terminal Services applications and the TSAC itself without affecting users.
The TSAC also gives ISVs a convenient way to integrate their existing WIN32-based applications into a Web-based user interface. For example, Great Plains, a provider of business management and e-business software, is integrating the TSAC into its Solomon Desktop, which is a portal into Solomon IV data, programs, reports and functionality. Great Plains customers can now access both the Windows 32-bit Solomon IV financial applications, as well as DHTML applications using a familiar Internet Explorer-based front end, without installing or running the applications on their local computer.
“We have a lot of back-end business logic that exists in our parent 32-bit applications, which we can now expose via the browser in a way that’s painless to administer and friendly to the user,”
said John Crawford, director of Solomon e-Business Development at Great Plains.
“The TSAC gives us a very affordable, very scalable solution that we can roll out rapidly and get information to the people who need it. It’s a more affordable model for distributing select programs, and it’s more affordable for the users as well, who don’t need the full 32-bit client.”
According to Crawford, software vendors will also save money by eliminating their need for third-party software and for training people and maintaining remote connection machines.
“When there’s a client software installation requirement, you have significant overhead to administer it, keep it up to date and to troubleshoot it,”
“Today all you need is the control.”
Not only does Great Plains save money on out-of-pocket expenses, Crawford concluded, but the free TSAC also provides an integrated product that is customizable for the user.
“The TSAC gives us the benefit of personalized delivery,”
“We have a menu structure in our application that contains hundreds of menu options. With our desktop and the TSAC control, we can create a personalized categorization of options that are just for a particular user.”
In addition to the free TSAC Web package, Microsoft is also providing two free packages based on the flexibility of the TSAC: a TSAC-based Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in, which enables administrators to easily manage multiple terminal servers, and a Full Terminal Services Client using Windows Installer (MSI) technology. System administrators will find the TSAC-based MMC snap-in particularly useful, as it will allow them to quickly and remotely monitor the health of all their servers using one simple user interface.