Network computers (NCs), also called thin clients, are loosely defined as computers which depend on a powerful server computer to do most of the processing of applications such as database or spreadsheet software. Usually, multiple--perhaps dozens or more--NCs are hooked up to one server.
Generally, the more powerful the server, the better the performance of the NC "client." With this in mind, Tricord is attempting to deploy its servers which use as many as eight Pentium processors to run NC software on the NC clients.
To service more clients with better performance, Tricord is trying to determine how many clients can use its PowerFrame Enterprise Server, which offers up to eight 200-MHz Pentium processors running Windows NT. To provide access to Windows applications, Tricord is using software from Network Computing Devices (NCDI).
While proponents claim NCs are easier to maintain than PCs and therefore less expensive to own in the long run, few have talked about how to make the network and the server perform adequately when users begin to tax the resources of the server during peak use.
NCD, the company that is making an NC for IBM called the Net Station, says its WinCenter software is designed to efficiently send Windows applications, graphics and audio from the server to the client over a company intranet. Unix, Macintosh and other clients can also be used with WinCenter in addition to NCs.
With WinCenter running on the Tricord server, early tests show high performance and reliable access to Windows NT applications from every desktop, according to an official of NCD.