What is Independent Computing Architecture (ICA)?

Independent Computing Architecture (ICA) is a Windows presentation services protocol from Citrix that provides the foundation for turning any client device-thin or fat-into the ultimate thin client. The ICA technology includes a server software component, a network protocol component, and a client software component.Citrix ICA

On the server, ICA has the unique ability to separate the application's logic from the user interface at the server and transport it to the client over standard network protocols-IPX, SPX, NetBEUI, TCP/IP and PPP-and over popular network connections-asynchronous, dial-up, ISDN, Frame Relay and ATM. On the client, users see and work with the application's interface, but 100% of the application logic executes on the server.

The ICA protocol transports keystrokes, mouse clicks and screen updates over standard protocols to the client, consuming less than 20 kilobits per second of network bandwidth.

ICA is highly efficient-it allows only keystrokes, mouse clicks and screen updates to travel the network. As a result, applications consume just a fraction of the network bandwidth usually required. This efficiency enables the latest, most powerful 32-bit applications to be accessed with exceptional performance from existing PCs, Windows-based terminals, network computers, and a new generation of business and personal information appliances.

With over two million ports in use worldwide, Citrix ICA is a mature, reliable technology and is fast becoming a de facto industry standard for server-based computing.

While all three computing models have a valid role in today's enterprises, it's important to note the differences between them. In the traditional client/server architecture, processing is centered around local execution using fat, powerful hardware components. In the network computing architecture as defined by Sun, Oracle, Netscape, IBM and Apple, components are dynamically downloaded from the network into the client device for execution by the client. But with the Citrix server-based computing approach, users are able to access business-critical applications-including the latest 32-bit Windows-based and Java™ applications-without requiring them to be downloaded to the client. This approach also provides considerable total cost of application ownership savings since these applications are centrally managed and can be accessed by users without having to rewrite them.


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