Server Based Computing Explained

What is Server-Based Computing?
Server-Based Computing [SBC] model is where applications are deployed, managed, supported and executed from central server farms. Screen, keyboard and mouse information is exchanged between the client and the server farms. No applications actually reside and execute on the desktop client. SBC delivers instant access to business-critical applications and data at this central point.

SBC is similar in operation to legacy systems such mainframe and mini-computer systems (e.g. VAX, AS400) where dumb terminals connected to these central systems and accessed applications that ran on these systems with screen and keyboard information being exchanged between these central computer systems and dumb terminals.

How does it work?
The server-based computing model employs three critical components. The first is a multi-user operating system that enables multiple concurrent users to log on and run applications in separate, protected sessions on a single server. Microsoft Windows 2000 Server and Linux variants provide this functionality.

The second is a highly efficient computing technology that separates the application's logic from its user interface, so only keystrokes, mouse clicks and screen updates transverse the network. As a result, application performance is band-width independent.

The third key component, centralised application and client management, enables large computing environments to overcome the critical application deployment challenges of management, access, performance and security. Under the server-based computing model, applications are deployed, managed, supported and executed 100% on a server. Server-based computing enables robust, secure access to virtually any application across any network to virtually any type of client.

What are the key business benefits of SBC?
Reducing the Total Cost of Ownership [TCO] - SBC model increases manageability and reduces application ownership costs by as much as 50 per cent.
Increasing Return on Investment [ROI] -
Total Management - applications are held on a central server farm and are managed from a single point, simplifying application access and administration.
Performance - all application processing takes place on the server(s), with information passing between server and client via low bandwidth protocols such as Citrix ICA and Microsoft RDP, resulting in improved performance over the existing networks and reducing the need for network or client device upgrades.
Increased security - users directly log onto the server(s), avoiding the need for floppy disks and peripheral drivers to store data, reducing the risk of viruses, data theft and the use of un-authorised applications.
Scalability - new servers can be added to SBC farms as the business requires seamlessly
Availability - SBC technology provided by Citrix, Microsoft and Tarantella offer fault-tolerant and load balancing features increasing enterprise systems availability

In summary Server-Based Computing has been widely adopted by corporate IT decision makers as the most efficient, flexible and cost-effective system for application delivery and administration. It addresses the challenges of optimising application reach, speed and security while significantly reducing operating costs.

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