One of the main features in the recently released Citrix Tech Preview for XenApp (codenamed “Parra”) is role-based installation. Quoting from a Brian Madden article about this release: “Role-based installation … means that if you want a dedicated data collector, you can install a server as that. No longer do you have to build a normal member server with no apps published! Similarly your “worker” servers will just serve apps—they don’t have to participate in elections and won’t need the XML or STA services.” Sridhar Mullapudi from Citrix responded to Brian’s statement, saying “we have role based install but we are still not at the worker controller separation. We will be there soon and this is a foundation towards that.”
The worker controller separation has been a cornerstone of the Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect architecture from day one – see my previous posts about three-tier vs. two-tier architectures and the many benefits of this approach. I even lectured about this topic at BriForum 2007. The PowerTerm WebConnect server (controller) manages licensing, load balancing, policies, etc. while on the Terminal Servers themselves only a small 7MB agent (worker) is installed. It is gratifying to see that Citrix is validating our architecture by going down the same road, even though they are doing it by tweaking their existing architecture, rather than doing it correctly – from the bottom up.
If you are interested in a properly architected SBC / TS solution today, you can test drive Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect. Alternatively, you can wait a couple of years for Citrix to get there (they probably will – eventually).