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MS, Citrix support thin clients

Microsoft and Citrix Systems both are rolling out beta versions of server software for supporting thin clients.

Microsoft (MSFT) and Citrix Systems (CTXS) today rolled out beta versions of server software for supporting thin clients.

Code named Hydra, Microsoft's Windows-based terminal server gives corporate users of Windows-based terminals access to Windows applications. Through Citrix's server software, code named pICAsso and also released to beta testing today, legacy PCs and non-Windows desktops can also enter Windows applications.

Hydra allows many types of clients to access desktop applications residing on a server.

The initial version of Hydra, constructed with the aid of Citrix and Prologue Software, is designed to run on top of current versions of Windows NT Server 4.0. Future development of the technology will be placed in the core, or "kernel," of the software starting with the release of Windows NT 5.0, making it easier to add the service.

The technology consists of client- and server-based software components and may provide capabilities for the large number of task-specific "dumb terminals" that have previously been connected almost exclusively to mainframes.

Microsoft said a group of major terminal makers, like Boundless Technologies, Network Computing Devices, Neoware Systems, Tektronix, and Wyse Technology, will develop a new class of desktop hardware that will launch and run Windows NT-based desktop and applications completely off the server.

Citrix's software combines remote node and remote control technologies, including dial-in remote LAN access, which allows corporate users to deploy a number of client-server, conventional, and legacy applications, according to the company.

Citrix developed the software platform to give businesses wide remote access to their LAN (local area network) system. The company said it is targeting the traveling professional, telecommuter, and online worker market.

Along with Microsoft's Hydra, Microsoft's LAN Manager, and Microsoft's Windows for Workgroups, pICAsso can integrate with Novell'sNetWare 3.x and 4.x, IBM's LAN Server, and UNIX networking packages.

pICAsso will run legacy applications, such as FoxPro, dBASE, and Paradox database packages, at client-server speeds, the company said. From a Windows desktop, mobile users can launch multiple Windows and DOS applications locally and remotely on their PC.

Based on Windows NT RAS (Remote Access Service), pICAsso's remote node gives users access to the LAN. Applications run on the pICAsso sever while the user interface is handled by Citrix ICA 3.0 on the client PC.

Beta 1 testing for both Hydra and pICAsso starts this week. Pricing has yet to be determined, the company said.