Wave of the Future?

Greetings, all:
If you're reading this newsletter, you probably use terminal services or some form of server-based computing. So how does it feel to be a trendsetter? Before you look at your khakis and blue shirt in wonderment, consider this: For several reasons, 2001 could see the beginning of wider acceptance of server-based computing, both within the enterprise and in the form of outsourced application service provision.

Consider these data points:

According to International Data Corporation (IDC), Windows owned 87 percent of the desktop market in 1999. The only thing surprising about IDC's report that Windows terminal services own 59 percent of the server-based computing market is that the number isn't higher. A lot of green-screen terminals are still in use.

Windows will continue to own the desktop for the foreseeable future. Whether the OS runs locally or on a terminal server, it's what people are used to.

According to IDC, users adopted Windows 2000 Professional ahead of Win2K Server products. IDC expects that Windows 2000 Server accounted for about 35 percent of all Windows shipments for server computers in December 2000, compared to 16 percent for all of 2000. In 2001, Win2K Server will account for 56 percent of new shipments.

The potential use of terminal services inspired by the use of Win2K—the first Windows OS to feature built-in terminal services—is just emerging. Win2K Server offers many features that are designed to promote centralized management (secure Telnet access and Intellimirror are just two), and these features could encourage terminal services use after people see the benefits of the other centralized-management and remote-management tools.

The United States—a large technology market—is flirting with a recession. (We're not sure we're going into recession, but we're nervous about it, which eventually has a similar effect.) At the very least, spending is down, and the job market has tightened as companies hunker down to see what happens next. According to Wyse's Jeff McNaught, PC sales were down 3 to 4 percent in 2000, while sales of Windows terminals were up 23 percent.

Companies would rather not spend money on new PCs or budget for PC maintenance if they can find a cheaper way to provide the same functionality.

Win2K Pro's hardware requirements are significantly greater than those for NT 4.0 or Windows 9x.

Server-based computing could offer a way out of the upgrade/new-PC cycle by letting people adopt Win2K from a terminal server instead of on the user desktop. This method of adoption could present new opportunities for Windows terminals—especially the NT-embedded PC-in-a-box terminals that let you store applications locally.

Thin-client vendors that make management software are beginning to add functionality for devices beyond thin clients and for more than one kind of thin client from the same tool.

As device management becomes more integrated, it will be easier to deal with a variety of devices on one network.

These facts could indicate an opening for server-based computing. Although maintaining a server-based computing environment has specific problems, a smaller staff can more easily manage those problems than desktop-centric problems. And server-based computing is expanding beyond the PC and Windows terminal dichotomy to include a wider variety of devices.

What do you think? If you run terminal services inhouse, how likely does a move to a more centralized model look to you?

TAGS: Windows 8
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