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Review: Citrix's Reign Might End 2X Faster

Quoting from CRN

2X Software has released TerminalServer for Linux, which runs Linux and Windows desktop applications over any bandwidth connection. In conjunction with the 2X ApplicationServer, the product gives 2X a leg up on Citrix by virtually eliminating the need for expensive engineers and long installs to implement terminal services solutions.

ApplicationServer, compared with Citrix Presentation Server, comes with fewer options for application and network configurations. That enables the average administrator to install ApplicationServer within minutes and immediately have applications running on any network by simply pointing to executables.

For running Windows programs in terminal services mode, ApplicationServer can be installed on Windows Server 2003 with access to program directories. 2X also offers a Linux-based ApplicationServer to access Linux applications. But with the new open-source TerminalServer offering, applications don't have to be controlled by ApplicationServer or even run on Windows servers.

Instead, TerminalServer users will be able to access Windows applications through the high-throughput NX Windows-X protocol. TerminalServer effectively eliminates the need to run on expensive Windows server boxes and virtually eliminates fat-client management.

ApplicationServer, however, provides administrative functionality for current Citrix users, capabilities that aren't available on TerminalServer. For instance, ApplicationServer can be extended into Citrix solutions and supports ICA, so customers don't have to rip out and replace Citrix. Instead of deploying new Citrix servers, ApplicationServers can be put in place.

CRN Test Center engineers installed ApplicationServer on a notebook running Windows XP and within five minutes were able to publish all Microsoft Office programs running on the same laptop in terminal services mode. Since the ApplicationServer uses the RDP protocol, any 2X client can access Windows programs. Arlington, Texas-based 2X provides ApplicationServer clients for Linux, Mac and Windows.

ApplicationServer's management console is simple and behaves like Citrix's Program Neighborhood interface. In addition, ApplicationServer provides filtering using network access directories so that administrators can provide access to specific programs based on user rights.

For example, administrators can choose users and groups by linking to an Active Directory tree, rather than having to copy those affiliations to an ApplicationServer or re-create new access properties from scratch. Essentially, any network user or group can be given complex access rights within minutes.

For managing many users at once, 2X offers LoadBalancer, a server for handling large connection pools. LoadBalancer automatically manages server throughput by redirecting users to the most available servers. If users are disconnected, they can reconnect to existing sessions without losing work. LoadBalancer comes with monitoring capabilities to track license session thresholds.

Application errors are handled through an event monitor. LoadBalancer will only be able to serve new sessions if something goes wrong with ApplicationServer. However, opened and unsaved files can't be recovered directly if ApplicationServer fails. In future releases, the Test Center would like to see support for session and file/in-memory persistence through clustering.

2X ApplicationServer costs $395 for 10 connections and up to $995 for unlimited connections. 2X LoadBalancer is priced at $395 for two Microsoft Terminal Servers and up to $1,750 for unlimited connections. Average margins for partners range between 20 percent and 40 percent.

2X Premium partners receive a 30 percent discount, including free NFR products and leads. Promotions also are available for Premium partners when they start marketing campaigns.

Read and Talkback on the original article, here.

Published Thursday, September 07, 2006 7:16 AM by David Marshall
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