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Citrix MetaFrame is a remote access/application publishing product built on the Independent Computing Architecture (ICA), Citrix Systems' thin client protocol. The Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol, part of Microsoft's Terminal Services, is based on Citrix technology and was licensed from Citrix in 1997. Unlike traditional framebuffered protocols like VNC, ICA transmits high-level window display information, much like the X11 protocol, as opposed to purely graphical information. Clients are available for several operating systems, including Microsoft Windows (both 16-bit and 32-bit platforms), Mac OS, Linux, and other Unix-like systems.
It allows a return to the central control of the mainframe type of system, with powerful central servers and simple thin clients or terminals which are inexpensive and often diskless. Access to applications and storage is controlled centrally, reducing the burden on the systems administrator.
The MetaFrame server product resides on a Microsoft Windows machine, which can be either standalone or part of a larger cluster of Citrix servers. It is important to note that in addition to per-user Citrix licensing, there must exist a Terminal Services license from Microsoft for each client connection. Both products must be adequately licensed for the environment to function correctly.
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