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3. Performance


X terminals appear as a cost effective compromise. You save money, but you end up sharing one CPU (well multi CPU machine are great application servers...). In practice this does not work that way. In fact, X terminals solutions often run circles around conventional solutions performance wise.

huh ?

There are various reasons why. There are some technical and some economical ones.

  • Server caching

    If an application is being used by another user, it is already loaded in memory. Since all instance of a program are shared (using the same memory), the startup time is faster.

    The same applies to the data used by the application. Often users working on the same project will find a huge speed gain when using the X terminal solution, simply because they benefit from each other prior usage of a resource.

  • No network bottleneck

    If one share some resources on a file server, this one is allowed to cache locally, but each client requesting the resource will have to copy it over the network. X terminals users access the resource right in the server memory, which is order of magnitude faster than any networks.

  • Optimisation

    One may decide to duplicate various resource files and programs on conventional workstation to avoid the network bottleneck. This represents extra work and may cause more problems if the workstation are not maintained accuratly (out of date copies).

  • No need to be cheap :-)

    Keeping most of your current workstation means a huge saving. (turning them into X terminals). You had a limited budget, but this budget is more than you need now. What about buying a dual CPU with plenty of RAM and a very fast hard drive. Even after buying such a server, you will be way under budget.

    Your users will enjoy a performance level they would never experienced with conventional workstation (since you would be forced to cut corners ...).

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