Germany-based Deutsche Bank AG (DB) is preoccupied with a particular decrease, namely reducing the number of PCs it owns.

The financial institution means to replace as many PCs as possible with thin clients – computers that source applications from back-end servers, rather than on-board hard drives.

According to Henry Fieglein, DB’s director of global architecture, thin clients are easier to maintain than PCs. The IT department can make application updates and apply patches at the server level, rather than worry about managing thousands of traditional computers.

“We’re moving towards a total instant office,” Fieglein said, explaining that in future DB employees will access not only apps, but also other desktop functions such as voice mail via their thin clients. He talked about this server-based architecture at iForum, a gathering of Citrix Systems Inc. clients and partners in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. late last year. Citrix makes server-based computing technologies.

In 2003, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Citrix changed its marketing. Now the firm talks about “access strategies” more than server-based computing.

CEO Mark Templeton said the firm would drive home the message that Citrix provides access, not just server software.

He described SmartAccess, a Citrix initiative that teaches servers to check just where the end user is before presenting information to her. If the user is at a public Internet kiosk, for instance, she may only be able to source basic data — no business-sensitive information.

Templeton also described SmoothRoaming technology that essentially suspends sessions between an end point and the server if the connection between the two devices is cut off. This should make it easier to re-establish the session when the connection comes back on.

Tom Rutherford, senior systems developer at Applied Industrial Technologies Ltd., an industrial parts supplier in Saskatoon, said he’s particularly interested in learning more about SmoothRoaming, because the technology might address a problem he faces. Right now if a user’s computer stops working, there’s no way for the IT department to re-establish the session where it ended. SmoothRoaming might help employees restart where the computer gave up the ghost, rather than from scratch.

Ted Garner of IT Weapons Inc., a computer services provider and Citrix user/ partner in Mississauga, Ont., said Citrix’s message that its systems are strategic investments rather than just cost-savers is starting to take hold. “They…are going beyond the access market.”

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