Extending Workspace On Demand

At PC Expo here Tuesday, IBM Corp. launched another version of its WorkSpace On Demand server-based client management software package, this time enabling it to support Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, and Linux clients and servers.

With WorkSpace On Demand, first released in 1997, IBM has hoped to give businesses a range of options for desktop management.

The package allows administrators to centrally control applications, including the ability to download both off-the-shelf and customized applications available to users across an enterprise.

"The benefits are centralized control," said Jeff Smith, vice president of development and services for e-business operating systems solutions at IBM. "WorkSpace allows you to keep all of the software and data configurations on the server."

WorkSpace On Demand has been an attempt by IBM to serve the wide range of computing systems deployed by businesses, said industry analyst Sam Albert, president of Sam Albert Associates in New York.

The use of thin clients systems, in which application processing is done by a server, has not been universally adopted despite wide publicity, he said.

"IBM is maximizing its options," Albert said. "People (IT managers) haven't made up their minds to go to thin clients or to use a fat client system. People continue to use the PC."

WorkSpace On Demand will support Windows NT and 2000 server and client operating systems, as well as Windows 98 and OS/2 on the client side.

IBM will also enable the implementation of WorkSpace On Demand for Linux client and server operating systems, as well as for some Unix-based servers, Smith said.

The WorkSpace On Demand package can be used by industries where operational applications are common, such as in financial services, insurance, process manufacturing, wholesale and retail, travel, and education, Smith said.

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