Intel confirms it is shaping "lean client" guidelines

Intel has officially confirmed that it is developing design guidelines for thin clients in conjunction with a number of operating system vendors - including Microsoft, NCI, Citrix, Novell and SCO. Slated for completion early next year, the guidelines are for building what Intel calls a lean client and a network server for lean clients. They would be used by manufacturers to build whatever Intel-architecture-based systems they believe the market will demand. According to Intel, initial demand will likely focus on the terminal upgrade market, as task-oriented users such as bank tellers and purchasing agents discard their aging terminals in favor of lean clients.

Intel has officially confirmed that it is developing design guidelines for thin clients in conjunction with a number of operating system vendors.

Intel officials had informally discussed their thin-client architectures at Comdex last month.

Slated for completion early next year, the guidelines are for building what Intel calls a lean client and a network server for lean clients. The guidelines would be used by manufacturers to build whatever Intel-architecture-based systems they believe the market will demand. According to Intel, initial demand will likely focus on the terminal upgrade market, as task-oriented users such as bank tellers and purchasing agents discard their aging terminals in favor of lean clients.

Intel's Lean Client System Design Guidelines call for embedded Pentium processors at a minimum, with varying memory requirements. Some lean clients based on the guidelines will likely be priced at below US$500, according to Intel.

Intel's Network Server Configuration Guidelines for Lean Clients will include provisions for the additional loads in processing, memory, I/O and storage that lean clients require, officials said.

The company is also currently defining the guidelines for standard network boot, power management, asset management and optional remote wake-up, all of which would be managed by the server, they said.

Intel said it is working on the guidelines in conjunction with operating system software vendors, including IBM, Microsoft , Citrix , Network Computer Inc., Novell and The Santa Cruz Operation.

According to Intel, IBM will support the lean client with its WorkSpace On-Demand operating system; Microsoft is eyeing it for a Windows CE-based operating system to support the upgrade of dedicated terminal devices; Citrix is interested in the guidelines for its WinFrame software; Novell will include the spec in NetWare; NCI will port its NC Desktop and NC Server Suite to the lean client and network server, respectively; and SCO OpenServer, Tarantella, and the SCO Network Clients OS will support the lean client and network server guidelines.

In addition, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Fujitsu, NEC, Siemens Nixdorf, Unisys and Wyse Technology are reviewing the guidelines, according to Intel.

Intel, with headquarters in Santa Clara, California, can be reached on the World Wide Web at http://www.intel.com/.

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