The Yankee Group is predicting a shift away from thin-client, browser-based applications. Instead companies will begin using rapidly evolving Web services standards. Client/services-based applications will spread user interface, application logic and storage layers across multiple tiers and will give local autonomy for complete application processing to distributed edge or client nodes within the bounds of a management framework, Yankee predicts. New applications will utilize Web services and TCP/IP as the glue that binds localized processing with centralized services, such as data storage, identity management, and security policy, to create rich user experiences on different client devices with the management and control found in server-based applications. "Our industry has seen continuing swings from pure thin client to pure fat client and back," says Neal Goldman, director of the application infrastructure and software platforms service at the Yankee Group. "Similar to the way enterprises are organized, the next-generation application will combine a balance of complete functionality on the client tethered to – and managed by – central services at the data center.”

He continues: “For example, today's e-retail applications can cache display content at the edge, but transaction processing must occur at the center. In a locally empowered equivalent, regional nodes would have autonomy to execute complete transactions within a percentage of available inventories and would synchronize periodically with the centralized inventory management service in the data center. The result combines better user experience with more efficient resource utilization."

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