PowerTerm WebConnect:

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print

Ericom's PowerTerm WebConnect V5.6.1 desktop virtualization management is boldly stepping into Citrix’s XenApp's market space -- challenging XenApp's remote access and application publishing capabilities. Ericom’s PowerTerm WebConnect also opens up the world of server-based computing to solution providers servicing businesses both large and small.

For most channel players and their customers, the enterprise version may make the most sense by offering the most comprehensive feature set. That said, if a user’s needs can be narrowed and are relatively static, one of the lesser versions of the product may be worth a look.

Arguably, the less expensive DeskView and RemoteView versions may be all a company needs to get into the SBC (server-based computing) game.

Ericom takes a slightly different approach to remote computing technology. The company is striving to be hypervisor agnostic. Instead of dictating what virtualization solutions and what hypervisor a company must run, Ericom has built support for all of the major players into PowerTerm WebConnect. What’s more, the product offers extensive platform and software support:



While the breadth of support and the numerous flavors of the product may be confusing to some, what the solution accomplishes is relatively straightforward, and solution providers should have little trouble picking the version that best suits their customers’ needs.

PowerTerm WebConnect functions much like a client-server application. Integrators will install the PowerTerm WebConnect Server application onto an appropriate Windows server and then create the virtual infrastructure to deploy. Depending on the version of WebConnect selected, integrators will be able to deliver a combination of virtual desktops, terminal services session or virtual applications (using application publishing) down to a desktop user. Client PCs can be Windows, Linux or any Java-enabled client. The idea is to deliver a controlled environment down to an end user, regardless of the hardware and connectivity on the client side. As long as the user has a fast enough connection, then that user should be able to use the server-based computing technology.

The PowerTerm WebConnect Server offers end users a menu of choices via a browser session. From there, a user can select what to do based upon the published applications and virtual desktops (or Terminal Service Sessions) defined. The product integrates with Active Directory and supports LDAP, allowing administrators to set up centralized user security administration.

After installing the various software components onto a Windows server, administrators will need to "expose" their terminal services and virtual PC session to the product. Before starting, information related to the hypervisor or terminal services sessions will be needed, such as IP addresses, administrative accounts and passwords and so on. The PowerTerm WebConnect DeskView Server will need that information to publish those sessions to the end user.

Setting up SBC sessions requires that administrators become familiar with the WebConnect Administration Tool. Luckily that application makes short work of what is normally a complex task. The administration tool is used to publish multiple applications, configure load balancing, create host connections and configure active directory.

Once configured, deploying virtual PCs and terminal services session is very straightforward. For Microsoft Terminal Servers, the product offers an eight-step wizard that publishes applications to the WebConnect Server, allowing end users to access the selected hosts. Administrators can then assign groups, credentials and other security items to the created elements, which allows complete control of how applications are published and who has access. Administrators will find publishing Virtual Desktops (VDI) to be almost as easy as creating terminal services applications. Administrators will first have to define a "pool" of available virtual servers and then go through the deployment wizard to expose VDIs to the users.

Users can access the published applications from the "Application Zone Launcher," which functions as a portal application to connect to authorized services (VDIs, TS, Applications). Conversely, users can also use the Application Portal Web interface to launch desired applications. It all comes down to how an administrator wants to offer up VDIs and applications to the end users.

For end users, the experience is the same as using terminal services or a VDI server, basically adding two mouse clicks and a login to their daily routine gives them access to the TS and VDI infrastructure. Administrators will appreciate the ability to monitor and view active sessions, a handy ability to judge usage and functionality, along with the ability to provide tech support.

PowerTerm WebConnect offers substantially more features than what is covered here, and most of those features improve the ability to quickly deploy desktops and sessions, create failover scenarios, perform load balancing and so on. Solution providers will find the company also offers a wide breadth of options and licenses to accommodate most any business environment. Ericom is currently looking to add partners and is interested in forging new relationships with VARs comfortable with the technology and having a proven track record of providing advance networking solutions. The company is especially interested in hearing from Citrix partners looking to broaden their product coverage range or offer an alternative to their customers. For the latest pricing information, interested parties will need to contact the company directly at (201) 767-2210 or visit the Web site at www.ericom.com.

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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