In-Depth

Canaveral iQ: Low-Cost Solution

Just need a few redundant servers, some shared apps and a quick, inexpensive setup? Check out New Moon Systems.


If you work in a law office, call center or manufacturing facility, you may like the convenience and centralized control offered by Windows 2000 terminal services; however, you may not have the money to set up a full-blown server farm nor the inclination to sit through lots of training learning to operate it. Your idea of a terminal server deployment may be setting up a couple of redundant servers, installing a few shared applications, and getting the whole shooting match into operation as quickly and inexpensively as possible. If this describes you, check out a new product called Canaveral iQ from New Moon Systems, www.newmoon.com.

The feature set in Canaveral iQ focuses on the needs of organizations with 50 to 1,000 PC users, although there’s no reason it can’t scale above that number. The product leverages the existing multi-user architecture and Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) in Win2K, so it doesn’t require an additional protocol layer. Instead, it uses a separate management layer that permits combining several terminal servers into a "team" that can be centrally managed.

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The appeal of Canaveral iQ is its simplicity and price. The folks at New Moon make no secret that they want to be the "value player" in the application-sharing market. At a per-connection price of about $175 (not including the cost of the Microsoft TSCAL licenses, if needed), Canaveral lets even a cost-conscious IT manager justify putting application sharing in his or her budget thanks to the savings inherent in centralized management.

Canaveral boasts a variety of features in spite of its relatively low cost. Unlike standard terminal services, you can publish individual applications from multiple servers. Users select their applications from a Web browser or from items on the Start menu. You can even publish an entire desktop if you want to give users maximum flexibility. A Web-based management console lets you associate Canaveral applications with Active Directory groups so you can target applications to specific departments or functions. A load balancing service spreads user connections among several servers in a Canaveral team of terminal servers.

Canaveral also overcomes a few of the key limitations in RDP version 5.0 that ships with Win2K. It displays drives from the user’s PC in a terminal server session to simplify file transfers. It implements a shared clipboard, something that normally requires a special utility from the Resource Kit. Best of all, Canaveral has a universal printer driver that eases the pain of printer configuration in a shared environment. The driver runs at the server where it creates a standard Enhanced Metafile (EMF) that’s delivered back to the client for processing and printing. This approach avoids multiple printer drivers and overloading of the spool engine at the terminal server, a common cause of problems. Canaveral is still subject to the 256-color limit and lack of audio redirection in RDP v5, but these will be alleviated when Windows .NET is released later this year.

Canaveral is a new product and, as such, it still has a few rough edges. The most significant problem is user account handling. In the current product version, the Canaveral database contains copies of the users’ Win2K credentials used for authenticating connections to Canaveral terminal servers. Maintaining a separate user database not only creates synchronization issues, it represents a potential security risk by storing the users’ password hashes outside of AD. New Moon engineers are modifying user account management in the next release of Canaveral iQ so that credentials are stored using Microsoft-approved security methods.

The other major issue is lack of support for terminals and non-Windows platforms. Although Canaveral uses RDP as a wire protocol, it still requires a client that understands how to connect to the Canaveral servers. As of this writing, the only Canaveral client is an executable that runs on Windows 9x, Win2K/NT and XP. New Moon is working with terminal manufacturers such as Wyse and NCD to include the Canaveral client, similar to the way it now includes Citrix clients. New Moon is also working on alternate clients that will run on Linux/Unix.

Canaveral faces stiff competition from Citrix MetaFrame, but the engineers and product managers at New Moon are a scrappy bunch determined to carve out a place for their product in the large and growing application sharing market. For example, Robert Blanden from the University of Connecticut Health Center is in the final stages of evaluating Canaveral for deployment to more than 2,500 users. Blanden likes Canaveral for its comparatively low price and ease of use. He isn’t deterred by a few product snags and praises New Moon for the speed at which it to responds to issues.

If your organization uses Windows PCs and needs basic application sharing at a reasonable price, you should include Canaveral iQ in your evaluation.

About the Author

Contributing Editor Bill Boswell, MCSE, is the principal of Bill Boswell Consulting, Inc. He's the author of Inside Windows Server 2003 and Learning Exchange Server 2003 both from Addison Wesley. Bill is also Redmond magazine's "Windows Insider" columnist and a speaker at MCP Magazine's TechMentor Conferences.

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Reader Comments:

Tue, Feb 4, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

a real alternative for Citrix MF XP.
When i read all the comment post here, il feel that citrix is really in trouble with new moon challenger and i feel better.
Citrix costs is too expensive for the quality wich was good on Winframe and Metaframe 1.8 but really poor since Metaframe XP

Mon, Oct 28, 2002 haider khi

aaa

Thu, Oct 24, 2002 CCEA Anonymous

.NET's RDP 5.2 will make Citrix's ICA lose all their distinctive advantages. Honestly, it's not Citrix vs New Moon anymore. It's .NET vs Citrix and we all know who is the winner.

Wed, Oct 9, 2002 Macke SWEDEN

It took me 20 minutes to install ! 1hour to get to know all the basic features and now i have a full working application set on my NewMoon Canaveral IQ server.

It is so easy my mother could do it !!

Great!

Wed, Aug 14, 2002 Carlos Suarez Boston, MA

After almost 3 months of heavy testing, I can say the product is excellent. We've been testing applications over T1, dsl and dial up connections and the performance is very good. The unidriver works just fine on all of the printers we tested. Basically you can put any windows based application on the web in just a few minutes without compromise the security.

Tue, Aug 13, 2002 NS Barcelona

I have used New Moon for 2 years now. The beauty of the product is in its simplicity. Try finding out what apps a user has in MF (i will take an hour). New Moon will tell you in a click. Thats what sold me New Moon

Tue, Jun 25, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

Cost vs functionality is great. Wouldn't be suprised to see other low cost thin-client offerings in the future

Fri, Jun 21, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

This is crap. What, you say they are nicer than Citrix? thats cuz they wanna get in your pants thats all. This product is only good for home or small office.

Wed, Jun 5, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

I used the eval. You must use a Databse and perform manual sychronizations between NT Domains and assigned applicaitons. Both a security risk and very unmanageable. It does not work with Netware users. Stay with Citrix.

Tue, Jun 4, 2002 Anonymous UK

I have done the full cycle from metaframe to xp fr 1 and 2.(large implementations.If I look at cost.
Newmoon = 25 user startup license is £4248
Citrix XPe FR 2 = 20 user startup £3685.00

now all you "i want to dump citrix and oh its so expensive " what do you say to that.

Plus! note the price is of XPE which offers you everything.While new moon is okay,but it is for the low end cheap market.If you are serious about your network, then you will use Citrix.But hey,we all know that decisions are made by managers and IT directors who know nothing of their network,only their bottom line figure.They do not care whether it works or not as long as they can pick up their bonus at the end of the year

Fri, May 31, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

Canaveral is awesome! Take a back seat Citrix, the parties over!

Fri, May 31, 2002 CCA UK

We have been running with MetaFrame XP and Nfuse for 6 months and although it works we are not impressed with the support or response from Citrix. My manager downloaded Canaveral iQ and told us to try it - Every bit as good as metaFrame XP, simple to install, easy to manage and cheap. What else do you need? Immature? Maybe. Unproven? It's new what do you expect. Anyway are you engineers or accountants - This stuff is great! if you are wondering if I am happy kid no I am not I am a mature engineer who has a pensio nand a part time job.

Wed, May 29, 2002 Anonymous Midwest

Two important points:
1. RDP does not utilize bandwidth as efficiently as ICA. Anyone who tries to tell you that RDP is as good as ICA is ignoring the facts.
2. I've met lots of techs who can deploy a Citrix XP solution. I haven't met one who has done a New Moon deployment

Wed, May 22, 2002 Brett Ulrich N. Virginia

Canaveral IQ is not as robust as Citrix MetaFrame, but what it does it does well. It provides shared applications to MS clients, easily, and user friendly. It provides end-users with the same application feel that they would expect if using the application localy. I would recommend reducing the Port requirements and enhancing the RDP protocol.

Wed, May 22, 2002 Sony France

Some people say : New Moon is immature ! Perhaps...
So explain us why the New Moon unidriver is definately much more powerful than the Citrix one...
Bleu screen means Citrix printers ?!?!?!?
New Moon is powerful, simple to administrate and not expensive.
But of course, if you have some Macintosh, X station, Unix servers... Citrix is the solution !
Last thing, just try it and bild you own opinion...

Tue, May 21, 2002 sbc savvy Anonymous

Canaveral iQ is a great alternative to Metaframe. Take it from me. I've used both. Canaveral is cheaper, simpler, and is designed for overworked sys admin's like me. We've been considering a move to XP, but after evaluating Canaveral, we're going for a real upgrade... Citrix out, New Moon in!

Tue, May 21, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

The key for me is when Citrix tells me that they will not support 4.0 anymore. I need to slowy migrate my users becouse I can't afford to do it all at once. New moon gives me the opportunity to do it at my pace

Mon, May 20, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

Why pay the extra bucks for Citrix, when Canaveral solves what you need to get done. Not to mention they are like way nicer to deal with then Citrix.....

Mon, May 20, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

The look I've had at it (they have a free eval copy download off their website), it's great. Way simpler than Citrix and nearly all of the features!

Mon, May 20, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

New Moon Rocks man... only old fashioned people will say something different.....
and let's face it Microsoft RDP is becoming as powerful as ICA

Mon, May 20, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

Whatever I've been using New Moon for the past 6 months and it's great... everybody should give it a try it's simpler and easier to administer....

Mon, May 20, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

I don't need the bells and whistles that Citrix offers plus the expense and time the time it requires for my engineers to come up to speed with it. I just need to deploy my apps seamlessly in a load balanced environment. Finally a piece of software that is both easy and yet very powerful.

Sat, May 18, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

The product is just excellent. You don't need more than a couple of hours to setup the product (most of the time is needed to install windows 2000)
It does perfectly 3 key features: remapping of drivers, printers and clipboard.

Fri, May 17, 2002 Dave Raib Anonymous

yah like have you really looked at their product? Have you used it? and then have you used what Citrix offers? What about NFuse and CSG? New Moon is still wet behind the ears...

Fri, May 17, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

I wouldn't want to risk my career on purchasing an un-proven technology from a fledgling company like New Moon. Better bet is to go with a technology ffrom Citrix. Citrix is the leader in this space for a reason. Lots of other people out there to get assistance and knowledge from.

Thu, May 16, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

I agree with the previous posting- Citrix's solution is much more flexible, scalable, robust, and mature. Additionally, the costs aren't that much higher for a Citrix solution. When you combine Citrix's MetaFrame with its NFuse family of application/access portal software and their Citrix Secure Gateway, you get a solid, secure, proven solution that just plain works.

Thu, May 16, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

Immature technology that cannot measure up to the Citrix total solution offering.

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