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This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights. The opinions expressed within are my own and should not be attributed to any other Individual, Company or the one I work for. I just happen to be a classic techie who is passionate about getting things to work as they should do (and are sometimes advertised and marketed as being able to?) and when I can I drop notes here to help others falling in to the same traps that I have fallen in to. If this has helped then please pass it on - if you feel that I have commented in error or disagree then please feel free to discuss with me either publically or privately? Cheers, Dave
Thin Clients, VDI and Linux integration from the front lines.... Raw and sometimes unedited notes based on my experiences with VMware, Thin Clients, Linux etc.
So, I was thinking today about what's happening in the SBC (Server Based Computing) arena.......
I have posted earlier about what Ericom was getting up to, and so it would transpire that they have now released their version 5.5 of their Web Connect product, and as good as it is (I have been playing with the Beta) the client for the end user still defaults to an install location of C:\WebConnect Client 5.5.....  etc - instead of C:\Program Files\WebConnect Client 5.5 - now this may be a small complaint - but as well as this it doesn't appear in the Add/Remove Programs area - now what's all that about?
OK, so these are fairly simple complaints - and they can be resolved fairly easily - BUT lets try and uphold some kind of standards, shall we?
Now this actually started me thinking - what are they missing, and if I was in charge how would I do this? Now this really started me off, once you start taking stock on how things are in the TS / SBC arena you can start to appreciate that there have been some changes recently and things are far from static...?
Now with Ericom it doesn't necessarily have all the bells and whistles that comes with Citrix - but that is it's strength - most of us don't need all those, we're just after something that does the basics - and does it very well!
So given that Ericom just needs an agent installed on the Terminal Server and then it can have a Web Connect server making the connection between Clients and the back end resources similar to a Web interface/Citrix Secure Gateway then how could this be effected in the most slickest way?? I wonder if they might release an appliance?
So given that MS will be releasing Longhorn sometime soon - there will be more and more people asking "Do I really need Citrix?" After all, let's not forget that when it's all said and done Citrix Presentation Server is *just* an add-on to Terminal Server?
I think we will see some real changes in the SBC landscape in the next 6 - 18 months?  
Posted on Saturday, March 25, 2006 5:48 AM Citrix , IT Management , Real Cool Stuff , Microsoft Tips , VMware and other Virtualization tools | Back to top

Comments on this post: Ericom WebConnect 5.5 - a Citrix Alternative?

# re: Ericom WebConnect 5.5 - contender for Citrix?
Requesting Gravatar...
First, thank you for test driving our product. Any feedback, both public and private, would be most welcome. We are constantly looking for ways to improve our products, and your comments are much appreciated.

With regard to the client installation location:

The location you mentioned is the default location for web-based installation of the clients. PowerTerm WebConnect clients can be automatically downloaded and installed using ActiveX, Java and Mozilla XPI on Windows and Linux. We also provide MSI installation of the clients which does default to C:\Program files\...

Because these are just the defaults, the administrator can specify any installation location using a simple switch in the HTML.

Another factor to take into account is that we support side-by-side installation of our clients. This means that each PowerTerm WebConnect server a computer connects to gets its own copy of the clients. This allows you to work with multiple servers simultaneously without worrying about version conflicts. This is another difference between our clients installation and regular software installs.

Yet another factor is that we have clients for both Windows and Linux desktops. We wanted the default installation location to be as similar as possible. In fact, the same HTML switch specifies the installation location on both platforms.

If you install the clients using MSI they will indeed appear in Add/Remove Programs. The web-based installation basically just dumps the files into the requested location. This means that to uninstall the software simply delete the directory!

As you wrote we don't provide all the bells and whistles that Citrix has, but we do provide some unique bells of our own such as:
1. When you publish applications their icons automatically appear on the clients without the users being required to manually refresh.
2. As well as Windows, our server can run on Linux x86 and Linux on POWER.
3. Built-in SSL Gateway at no extra charge.
4. In addition to Terminal Services we also provide clients for Terminal Emulation (over 35 types), file transfer, remote printing, VNC and more.
5. Remote support option that allows the administrator to take full control of a user's computer, pcAnywhere-style.

And a final comment: Ericom has a long standing relationship with many thin-client manufacturers. In fact we are the leading provider of host access solutions for these platforms. We are actively working with some of these manufacturers to provide SBC solutions for these platforms as well.

If all this sounds interesting, check out our solution at
Left by Dan Shappir on Mar 27, 2006 5:04 AM

# re: Ericom WebConnect 5.5 - contender for Citrix?
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Hi Dan,
Thanks for your comments - of all the contenders for Citrix's place, I think Ericom is quite possibly the closest to being able to walk the talk.

Having said that, and remembering the level of Citrix Centric knowledge and skills allready out there, you might want to develop something of a "Cheat Sheet" for Citrix Admins amongst your documentation?

I merely suggest this because I'd imagine that a high percentage of the people who are going to Eval or Install WebConnect will have a reasonable understanding of Citrix related Architecture? This might just help your penetration of the market going forward?

Left by Dave Caddick on Mar 27, 2006 5:15 AM

# re: Ericom WebConnect 5.5 - contender for Citrix?
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Great suggestion. We already have a (new) "getting started" guide to help admins get up and running as quickly as possible. This guide assumes some SBC knowldge, but is not targeted at Citrix admins in particular.

Left by Dan Shappir on Mar 27, 2006 9:36 AM

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