The Importance of Quality Terminal Emulation for Mission-Critical Systems

There are certain enterprises in our society that have become so heavily relied upon by the masses that, should something go wrong, the effects would be enormous. We’re talking about enterprises such as banks, hospitals, airlines and telecoms. All of these entities rely heavily on computer systems to store crucial information and ensure their systems remain fluent and effective right around the world. When something goes wrong with these systems – even the slightest thing – it’s a big deal. It could be because of poor terminal emulation or any number of other reasons but, in the end, that entity is going to end up in the news for all the wrong reasons as millions of their customers are affected.

That damn computer!

Now think about your personal computer at home. Think about all the times you've thrown your hands up in the air, slammed your fist on the desk and doddered around the house uselessly, screaming “stupid computer” because, yet again, your PC has stuffed up. Maybe you lost some data, or you can’t connect to the internet, or the damn thing has frozen again. Either way, one thing is for sure: computers sure do seem to be prone to errors.

No room for error

When it comes to the mission-critical systems mentioned above, however, errors are simply not an option. Corporate banking institutions require 24/7 reliability so that people can access their money. Telecoms needs 24/7 reliability to ensure people are able to stay in touch with other people at all times. Hospitals and clinics require the same reliability to maintain patient health and quality of care, often in life-or-death situations. As a result, fault-tolerant computer systems have been designed which must be able to keep working at satisfactory levels even in the presence of faults.

Fault-tolerant systems

Two of the biggest providers of these server systems are Stratus and Hewlett-Packard NonStop (formerly Tandem), which boast systems with 99.9999% up-time. NonStop systems, for example, contain the scope of failure by having absolutely no shared central components. Even main memory is not shared, which is something unheard of in the realms of your average multi-computer system. As we've said, though, these mission-critical systems can't afford to be average; they must be just about perfect.

Why terminal emulators matter

Mission-critical institutions and organisations around the world rely on these fault-tolerant services to ensure millions of customers aren't inconvenienced at any given time. However, a server system is only as strong as its weakest link, and in order to access the system, quality terminal emulation software must be used at all times. Accuracy and reliability are paramount in the operation of fault tolerant servers and so it should be in the terminal emulation software that provides access to those systems. When downtime is measured not only in hours and minutes but in the damage done to a business's bottom line and reputation, a mission-critical system is no place to be using poorly made, unreliable software.

Terminal emulation software connects the end user with the host server by creating a virtualized environment that mimics the character-based terminals used to access computer systems before the rise of the graphical user interface. Essentially, even the best fault-tolerant computer system in the world could be brought undone by poor terminal emulation software. Whether it’s windows terminal emulation , Apple terminal emulation or terminal emulation for handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets, it’s important that these organizations settle for nothing but the best.

|