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Chapter 1: Introudction to Meta FrameMetaFrame application server software for Microsoft's Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition, is one of the hottest topics in information technology. MetaFrame technology gives organizations the ability to deliver "mission-critical" applications to almost any client device over any network protocol. MetaFrame also provides organizations with a viable solution for extending the capabilities of legacy systems and resolves a multitude of issues that can be caused by heterogeneous computing environments. Based on Windows Terminal Server, MetaFrame offers the additional functionality that organizations need to efficiently access and manage applications.
Citrix Exam 218 measures your ability to implement, administer, troubleshoot, and support information systems that incorporate Citrix MetaFrame technology. On successful completion of Exam 218, you will become a Citrix Certified Administrator (CCA). This chapter provides you with an overview of MetaFrame technology dating back to the beginning of Citrix technology and how Citrix has evolved into the world-class leader of server-based computing.
Evolution of Citrix MetaFrame Technology
Server-based computing, also known as thin-client computing, is by no means groundbreaking technology. In fact, this particular technology trend has brought us full circle and returned us to the concept of mainframe computing. Mainframes are very powerful computers that can be accessed by multiple users at once and can perform multiple tasks simultaneously. During the 1970s and 1980s, the computer industry was driven by the sale of mainframes. The cost of mainframes ranged anywhere from several hundred thousand dollars to several million dollars. The price of these giants sprouted a computing revolution that would allow more and more people to enjoy the luxury of computing at affordable prices. Computers grew smaller and smaller, inherently becoming more affordable than their predecessors.
Eventually the personal computer (PC) was introduced, allowing people to have a single, contained computing environment. Although much cheaper than the mainframe, the PC introduced complications in the work environment because mission-critical data would often reside in multiple places (the individual PCs of workers in a company's accounting and sales departments, for example) instead of one central location, as had been the case with mainframes. The client/server computing model alleviated many of the data distribution problems by allowing multiple users to store and access data in one shared location, on a server. The client/server model also gives users the ability to run applications that reside on a server over a network connection. Most client/server applications have a module that resides on the server and a client module that resides on the user's PC.
Client/server computing offers technology professionals a highly manageable environment, but it also introduces new challenges and issues. In a typical client/server environment, processing is distributed between the server and the PC. Don't forget about the application data that must be transferred between the server and the PC, which can vary greatly from application to application. Some client/server applications transfer only small amounts of data, but many of these applications require consistent transfer of large amounts of application data. Because of data transfer, many client/server applications cause network congestion and yield very poor performance.
Because the client/server model offers technology professionals so many advantages, it can be found in almost every organization that uses computers. As technology advances, business applications require more processing power, more memory, and larger disk volumes, and they consume bigger chunks of network throughput. Because most business applications are client/server applications, organizations are forced to increase network bandwidth as well as constantly upgrade servers and PCs. This constant change fuels the technology industry; many people refer to it as the "industry scam" or "planned obsolescence."
As if the struggle to keep systems up to date isn't enough, technology professionals are also faced with the burden of a rapidly changing business world. Organizations must be able to offer users fast and efficient access to mission-critical applications around the clock and to any location...