Server-based Applications

ASPnews has an article by Jim Wagner:

Analysts say enterprise infrastructure has evolved to a point that enables more sophisticated applications to be served up, on demand, with information shared from client to client.

Mike Gotta, an analyst with the META Group, said the enterprise has been moving away from the desktop since the late 90s, with the advent of integration-minded server technologies.

“Now that we have XML , now that we have Web services, portals and services-oriented architecture coming down the pipe, why don’t we re-visit the end user platform and see what we can do differently now?” he said. “The good news is that IBM is making a statement about the value of the end-user platform.”

IBM and Sun take the same approach — build server-residing shells and put applications inside them that can be accessed by any kind of device, be it a workstation PC, PDA or laptop. Whether the end user is working in a cubicle or killing time at the airport, all their data resides on the corporate network, not inside a desktop PC (read: no more having to synchronize your PDA before leaving the office).

“Essentially, what you have is a shell for housing applications,” said Red Monk analyst Stephen O’Grady. “For Joe office worker, I can open one application and have all my applications I need in one place.

“This is the goal portals have been aiming for for some time,” he added. “But you can also do it with rich clients, so I get rich client functionality in a user experience similar to a portal.”

The potential cost-savings are huge. Software updates and patches are done at one location, the server, instead of relying on individuals to upgrade when they have the time. Software costs are also reduced when end users don’t have to buy a license for applications they never use.

The knock against the technology, however, is its reduced functionality and performance hiccups on the presentation layer that can result from using productivity tools that reside on a server.

“There are all kinds of people using thin clients and are unhappy with the limited functionality,” said Mark Stahlman, an analyst at Wall Street investment firm Caris & Company.

According to Stahlman, the market for the technology is going to get much bigger in the coming years, especially in the Asian markets.

Three other related articles:
The Second Coming of ASPs?
Can Remote Access Costs Be Cut While Increasing Productivity?

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.