What Does ACP Do?

Here is the Elevator Pitch – the 15 second version of our product that you could lay out during an elevator ride:

ACP provides management tools and software for Thin Clients and Terminal Servers. Thin Clients allow you to run standard Windows applications like a mainframe, with multiple users running at the same time on a single server, dramatically reducing costs.

If the person is interested, I normally hear a number of follow-up questions. Here are some of the most common ones with my answers:

So you allow multiple users to connect to a single Windows Server?

No, actually this is done by Microsoft. Several years ago (with the release of Windows 2000) Microsoft added the ability to allow a single PC to host multiple users, each one in their own session. This ability they call Terminal Services, and it allows users to get more use out of the commonly available powerful server hardware. Instead of burning CPU cycles servicing the needs of only one customer these servers can now run like a Windows Mainframe and meet the needs of multiple users at the same time. Each user displays his session on a cut-down piece of hardware (the Thin Client).

End user applications only have to be installed and maintained on a single machine, not on computers distributed all across the company. This centralized computing model greatly simplifies ongoing ownership costs. Security is enhanced, maintenance and costs are reduced and expansions are facilitated. And since the typical lifetime of a Thin Client is 5 years (or more) hardware costs are reduced as well.

Do you make the Thin Client hardware?

No – we work with a number of excellent companies who specialize in hardware. They provide both industrial and office grade Thin Client hardware which they sell through our distributors to our customers.

Then what exactly do you do?

ACP developed our ThinManager® Thin Client management software as an enhancement to Microsoft Terminal Services. It was designed specifically to meet the demanding needs of industrial users who insist on 24-hour uptime, simple and reliable operation, and software and hardware that does not become obsolete just a few years after the purchase.

A small Thin Client network is fairly easy to keep up with using the basic tools provided by Microsoft. However once the number of clients and Terminal Servers begins to expand the system can quickly grow out of hand. And for larger systems users typically want much more power, flexibility, security and reliability than can be squeezed from the Windows operating system.

Some of the benefits of running ThinManager alongside Windows Terminal Services are listed below.

Centralized Client Configuration

ThinManager allows compatible clients (ThinManager Ready Thin Clients) to be configured in a central location instead of individually at each client. ThinManager Ready Thin Clients do not have an embedded operating system so they do not grow obsolete or require firmware updates.

Centralized Management

ThinManager allows the monitoring of the Thin Client from a central (local or remote) location. ThinManager shows what Thin Clients are active, what terminal servers they are assigned to, whether they are logged in, and even what applications they are running.


ThinManager allows the Thin Client to be assigned to multiple terminal servers at once. If the terminal server fails, the Thin Client will detect it and switch to a backup terminal server, preventing downtime. ThinManager also allows the Thin Client to logon to two terminal servers at once. The primary session will be displayed while the session from the backup terminal server is hidden. If the primary terminal server fails, the Thin Client will simply switch to the backup session, providing immediate failover.


Customers such as nuclear weapons labs, nuclear power plants and chemical weapons disposal facilities require the highest security possible, and only ThinManager Ready Thin Clients fit their needs. Thin Clients using ThinManager with another ACP product, TermSecure™, have Thin Clients that cannot even see the network without authorization. Once on the network, TermSecure users do not have access to any Windows usernames or passwords, and a lost or stolen ThinManager Ready Thin Client contains no user data of any kind.

ThinManager customers can also use TermSecure to instantly bring their sessions to any Thin Client on the network. If tied in with a smart card or RFID tag, the session can be brought to the client as the user approaches and will disappear when he walks away.

Load Balancing (SmartSession)

ThinManager allows Thin Clients to connect to groups of terminal servers. ThinManager will poll the servers and determine their load based on CPU usage, memory usage and number of sessions. The Thin Client will then connect to the terminal server with the lightest load.

Thin Clients can also be queued up during a system restart. This allows a server to start the sessions one at a time to keep the server from being overwhelmed.

Multiple Session Support

ThinManager allows ThinManager Ready Thin Clients to connect to multiple terminal servers and run multiple sessions – called MultiSession. These sessions are cascaded on the Thin Client and can be accessed with a hot key or a selector bar.

AppLink (Application Publishing)

ThinManager allows terminal servers to be configured so that only one application runs in the session. This can be used as a security tool to limit access to unwanted programs. AppLink, in combination with the MultiSession functionality, allows a ThinManager Ready Thin Client to connect to sessions, each of which is a specific application.

This simplifies the terminal server configuration. Instead of installing every application on every terminal server, terminal servers can be configured to concentrate on running fewer applications, reducing complexity and limiting conflicts between programs.

Shadowing and Microsoft Configuration

ThinManager allows ThinManager Ready Thin Clients to be “shadowed” from within ThinManager. This allows the administrator to see exactly what is being run on the Thin Clients.
ThinManager also allows the administrator to see what user is logged into a session and what applications and processes they are running. ThinManager also allows configuration of most of the Microsoft Server parameters directly from within the ThinManager interface.

Quick Replacement

ThinManager Ready Thin Clients can be replaced with a single click of the mouse, with the new unit assuming the old unit’s identity and displaying the old unit’s session. Configuration of the new unit (configuring IP addresses, adjusting serial drivers, etc.) is automatic.

Share Keyboard and Mouse

ThinManager allows a single keyboard and mouse to be shared among as many as 5 Thin Clients. The user is then able to slide the mouse off the screen of one client and have it move onto the screen of another, saving desk space.


Tom Jordan

Marketing Lead for ThinManager - A Rockwell Automation Technology