Although multiuser Windows NT has existed for several years, application launching and embedding (ALE) is fairly new. ALE's embedded applications can solve several real-world problems. One such problem is slow application response over low-bandwidth connections. Applications such as Microsoft Access become unusable over a low-bandwidth connection because of the large amount of data each transaction transfers. Embedded applications overcome the data-transfer problem because they send only display information over the connection between the Web client and the machine running NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition or Citrix WinFrame 1.7. The data remains in the application on the server system.
With embedded applications, you can also let users connect to your proprietary enterprise database application from anywhere. You can even use ALE to let users connect to corporate intranets from outside firewalls. Typically, corporate intranets are unreachable from outside firewalls, and conventional dial-up services don't have adequate bandwidth to function effectively as part of an intranet. For example, many intranets rely on large Portable Document Format (PDF) file downloads. Embedding an authenticated intranet connection within a browser overcomes these problems and makes the intranet available to authorized users anywhere.
Likewise, you can use ALE to connect to a Microsoft Exchange Server system via the Web. Like intranet connections, a dial-up connection to Exchange Server slows down or fails when you send email messages that contain large attachments. You can connect to an ICA-application server (as a full session or to an embedded application) using a Web browser to overcome this problem. The major advantage of using an embedded application within a Web browser is that you don't need to load the application on the PC—the PC needs only the ICA client add-on.