Provisioning Affordable Remote APPs For SMBs

That&'s where Provision Networks comes in. The one-year-old Vienna, Va.-based ISV offers Citrix-style application publishing and remote access for Windows Server 2003 Terminal Server at a fraction of the cost. Provision will compete against Citrix Access Essentials, a joint offering launched and priced by Citrix and Microsoft for SMB customers late last year.

The Enterprise Edition—designed to extend the native RDP functionality of Windows Terminal Services—adds intelligent load balancing, application publishing, seamless Windows, a Web-based interface, heterogeneous client support and an integrated SSL gateway. It is priced at roughly $100 per concurrent user.

Paul Ghostine, CEO of Emergent OnLine, Reston, Va., a longtime Citrix Platinum partner that severed its relationship with Citrix, said he has closed several large deals for the Provision Management Framework software and has more deals pending.

While the software developer firm competes against Citrix, particularly in the SMB market, it maintains it can add value to existing Citrix installations.

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Standard Edition of the Provision Management Framework, for example, is designed for Citrix&'s MetaFrame and Access server environments. It offers management, monitoring and printing modules—but not the core services that compete with Citrix&'s platform.

The SMB platform also offers session-sharing capabilities and the ability to synchronize both BlackBerry and Palm mobile devices over RDP or Citrix&'s Independent Client Access protocol.

The company earlier this year launched the Provision Networks Certified Solutions Advisor program. It is now actively recruiting partners.

“It looks like it has some advantages,” said Keith Saltstein, president of NetX, a onetime Citrix reseller based in Trenton, N.J., that is considering Provision&'s partner effort. “You can&'t overlook cost and its support for RDP.”

Emergent Online took the plunge into Provision&'s services nearly a year ago. “It adds more value to [Microsoft&'s] Terminal Server environment both technically and economically than Citrix does,” Ghostine said. “Longer term, with the scheduled release of Longhorn in late 2007, the [Provision platform] stands to gain more since its technology already leverages the RDP protocol.”

At the recent VMware conference, Provision announced its Titan software project, designed to turn Windows XP desktops into “single-user” terminal servers.

Expected to ship in early 2006, the Titan software will employ VMware&'s ESX virtualization server for hosting and managing Windows desktops. It also can be used to access Windows desktops remotely and will compete against offerings such as Citrix&'s GoToMyPC.