Sun’s Tarantella Acquisition

This is a little old, but still worth noting. Jonathan Schwartz writes:

There’s no question enterprises and CIO’s are interested in an alternative to the deployment complexity associated with PC’s. ‘Thin’ is in, but according to our calculus, the existing ‘thin client’ options are just as expensive as a traditional PC (if not more expensive). There’s similarly no question the preponderance of legacy desktop applications are written to Windows, rather than the internet. And preserving access to that legacy is a checklist item for those seeking to lower desktop PC costs while moving to shared services or grid infrastructure.

With Sun’s SunRay, what we view as the first of many “DOIP” devices to emerge, we’ve delivered a step function improvement in security and cost – literally moving the desktop to the grid. But there have been two principle objections raised by customers.

The first related (the past tense is deliberate) to the need for a continuous network connection. Without a high quality network, a SunRay is worthless – at its simplest, it’s a display that uses the network instead of a cable to attach to a CPU (which means the CPU for a SunRay can be 1,000’s of miles away). This network centricity is one of the SunRay’s many advantages – as a completely stateless device, if you steal a SunRay, you’ve got yourself a worthless piece of plastic. Nothing more. There’s no data, even settings, to steal – the value’s in the network. So problems like the FBI or Wells Fargo experienced can be a thing of the past. It also means you can centralize upgrades and configurations – and put it all in the network.

Before networks were truly pervasive or of reasonable quality, this ‘constraint’ – the need for a persistent network connection – was an impediment to adoption. But now we say, “you run a SunRay wherever you run Google.” And the objection’s off the table.

The next issue hasn’t been so easy to overcome. It’s that the majority of the legacy applications customers were looking to present through a secured thin client were written to Windows. And SunRay today leverages an open source Mozilla/StarOffice/Java Desktop System stack, where Windows is largely inaccessible unless you grapple with the complexity and expense of a Citrix license. With the increasing interoperability between the two companies, though, Tarantella’s technology provides a foundation to present Windows applications over a grid (ours, or a customer’s). Without a Citrix license.

So at this point, there are no more objections – SunRay’s are a far more efficient deployment option for desktop applications. Windows, Solaris or Linux.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.