Insignia debuts new Ntrigue server software

Insignia Solutions Inc. last week introduced a new version of its Ntrigue application server software that includes new systems administration features and other enhancements that make it easier to deploy as part of large networks.

Ntrigue allows Unix, Apple Computer Inc. Macintosh and Microsoft Corp. Windows clients to access Windows-based applications running on a common Windows NT server.

With Ntrigue 2.0, which is now shipping, federal systems administrators have better capabilities for providing and controlling application access as well as improvements in performance and Unix/Windows integration.

These enhancements will become more important as the industry pushes toward more network-centric computing and Ntrigue gets installed on larger networks, said Dick Heermance, director of corporate marketing at Insignia, Santa Clara, Calif. Organizations tend to start with small deployments, but "those installations will grow," Heermance said. "We just made it easier for those installations to grow."

Insignia is working to add Ntrigue 2.0 to the Navy's Tactical Advanced Computer-4 contract, held by Hewlett-Packard Co.; the Defense Intelligence Agency's Software Acquisition Support Services pact, held by BTG Inc.; the Air Force Workstations contract, held by Hughes Data Systems; and the Air Force's Integration for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence contract, held by BTG Inc. With the new release, systems administrators setting up new Unix-based clients can import user profile information into Ntrigue directly from the Unix server.

In the past, administrators had to re-enter all the user information, which made it difficult to set up large numbers of users at one time, said John Chang, vice president of marketing and technical support. This feature "really takes the drudgery out of systems administration," Chang said.

Ntrigue 2.0 also includes an improved X

driver, which improves the speed and efficiency of the Windows display on the client systems. The new X driver, optimized for Windows applications, improves response time by as much as 35 percent, but it also requires less bandwidth, which will help keep down network congestion, Chang said.

Additionally, a new X Windows Display Manager shows users how many other users are already logged on to a server so they can do some pro-active load balancing. The display manager also lets users log on through a pop-up menu rather than a command line. Finally, the new release provides for remote dial-up access so users can access the application server from remote locations.

Ntrigue was designed to allow Unix and Mac clients to access Microsoft Windows applications running on a Windows NT server. However, users have also discovered Ntrigue can host Windows desktops as well. For example, Windows 3.1 users with old personal computers can access Windows 95 or Windows NT applications through the Ntrigue software.

Insignia now expects to see its product move into the Internet and intranet markets as well. For example, agencies can set up Ntrigue on a World Wide Web server to provide access to Java applications for users who do not have the necessary platform on their desktop, Heermance said.

"The timing is really right for this kind of technology," said Audrey Apsel, research director of network technologies at The Gartner Group, a research and consulting firm.

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