Back to the future

A Canadian start-up plans to allow design engineers to bridge a true PC or workstation “computing experience” over a network.

In the not too distant past, users accessed mainframe computers from dumb terminals. In today’s terminology, ‘thin clients’ are remarkably similar – network devices that have the ability to process information independently but rely on servers for applications, data storage, and administration.

Such thin clients, with little or no installed software on them per se, but with access to software that is managed and delivered by network servers, is an attractive proposition for many businesses, especially in terms of cost, security and software upgrading.

But there has been a performance problem associated with such machines espcially when it comes to handling multimedia – they simply haven’t had the whoomph associated with their fully-fledged “thick-client “cousins which have all the bells and whistles expected from a desktop PC.

Now, Teradici, a Canadian start-up based in Vancouver aims to change all that. The company’s concept is simple – to allow design engineers to bridge a true PC or workstation “computing experience” over a network.

To help them do so, it’s developed some advanced image processing algorithms and implemeted them into what its calling the Tera host and portal chipset.

Unlike other software-based approaches, the company claims that because its Tera chipset is specifically built to handle display compression algorithms and I/O bridging, it will guarantee the high performance over the network that designers will demand.

A PC-over-IP system built using the company’s devices would include a centralised Tera host and a desktop Tera portal connected by a wired or wireless enterprise IP network. Desktop PCs and workstations that incorporate a Tera host can be centralised in a secure location while Tera portals connect displays and peripherals at the user’s desktop.

The company, chaired by Kevin Huscroft, a founder of PMC-Sierra, expects to start delivering the devices to designers this summer.