TriTeal Set to Unveil Thin Client Dashboard

TriTeal Corp. (Carlsbad, Calif., a seasoned player in the Unix desktop market, is bringing access tools to the Windows thin client world. TriTeal recently unveiled TealView, which provides an interface in the native desktop environment that makes server-based applications appear local. It offers a layer of functionality to MetaFrame and WinFrame from Citrix Systems Inc. TealView is currently being beta-tested, and is scheduled to begin shipping by the end of this year.

TealView provides tighter integration between Citrix environments and native desktop environments than with Citrix alone, explains Barry Hartman, product marketing manager for TriTeal. TealView will also support access to WinFrame and MetaFrame environments from Unix-based desktops, incorporating technology from TriTeal Enterprise Desktop (TED), a standardized "dashboard" for multiple Unix systems. A dashboard is a GUI that enables users to use a variety of Unix environments.

However, users have TealView must have the Windows Terminal Server-MetaFrame environment, and the pricing model of the Windows Terminal Server-MetaFrame environment -- which can run as high as $25,000 for the software in a 50-user environment -- makes such added functionality a tough sell for TriTeal, says Dan Kusnetzky, research director with IDC (Framingham, Mass.). TriTeal is virtually unknown in the Windows world, and the company's Unix base "will look at Windows Terminal Server and consider it a high-cost solution to their problem, not the low-cost solution," says Kusnetzky.

A similar system from Santa Cruz Operation Inc. (Santa Cruz, Calif. would cost five times less, Kusnetzky points out. Instead, the advantage a product such as TealView adds is in lowered administrative costs. "One administrator -- with salary, benefits, space and overhead -- can cost up to three-quarters of a million dollars over 5 years," explains Kusnetzky. "If you can add a piece of software that reduces the need for staffing by just one, you've saved just under three-quarters of a million dollars."

TriTeal offers TealView as a means of centrally administering cross-platform access with a single, native view of the network from corporate desktops, avoiding the need for additional user training when systems are migrated. One prime feature is better control over access to server applications. With MetaFrame alone, for example, "it's either publish to everybody or don't publish it," says TriTeal’s Hartman. TealView "gives you a way to filter for various groups of users."

TealView's main target audience is "larger organizations that are undergoing change, moving to a thin client Windows environment," Hartman adds. "We help solve usability issues, and provide better control and management of those desktops to the IS group, [which] really matters in larger situations."

TriTeal is also looking at eventually adding client-side functionality directly to Windows Terminal Server implementations, Hartman adds. However, "the majority of our customers are still looking at MetaFrame at this point."

Features TriTeal adds to Citrix environments include a single-step application launch, single-application session display from multiple launches, protocol independence, and customized access configuration. The single-step application launch feature enables users to launch applications from both application and data files. In addition, if a user selects a second data file, the file is opened in the same application session.

TealView also offers protocol independence, with the exception of ICA’s being used as a display protocol, Hartman adds. "We'll support a client from a WinFrame environment in Windows NT 3.51 or a MetaFrame environment," he says, and seamlessly support Windows NT 5.0 when that becomes available.

"TriTeal has always had a good product for lowering the cost of training and support caused by having many different interfaces essentially to the same software," IDC’s Kusnetzky says. However, in shops with multiple professionals running different applications for different functions, "the TriTeal advantage is not as strong," he adds.