The Performance of Remote Display Mechanisms for Thin-Client Computing

S. Jae Yang, Jason Nieh, Matt Selsky, Nikhil Tiwari

Proceedings of the 2002 USENIX Annual Technical Conference, Monterey, CA, June 10-15, 2002, pp. 131-146


The growing popularity of thin-client systems makes it important to determine the factors that govern the performance of these thin-client architectures. To assess the viability of the thin-client computing model, we measured the performance of six popular thin-client platforms—Citrix MetaFrame, Microsoft Terminal Services, Sun Ray, Tarantella, VNC, and X—running over a wide range of network access bandwidths. We find that thin- client systems can perform well on web and multimedia applications in LAN environments, but the efficiency of the thin-client protocols varies widely. We analyze the differences in the various approaches and explain the impact of the underlying remote display protocols on overall performance. Our results quantify the impact of different approaches in display encoding primitives, display update policies, and display caching and compression techniques across a broad range of thin-client systems.



Columbia University Department of Computer Science