SCO makes ASP play

Tarantella, which competes with Citrix Systems' MetaFrame, allows any client system equipped with a Java-enabled Web browser to access applications running on diverse server platforms including Windows NT, Unix and mainframe operating systems.

SCO will sell Tarantella ASP Edition directly to ASPs. The Tarantella ASP Edition will be priced per user hour on a pay-as-you-go model. The price will include software upgrades and support.

Greg Blatnick, managing director at Zona Research, said SCO's attempt to win the ASP market is "a long shot." Blatnick said that Tarantella so far has mainly appealed to SCO's existing Unix user base. "They certainly are trying to become a Unix version of Citrix (MetaFrame)," said Blatnick, adding that because of SCO's large installed base in small business and certain vertical industries, the product may still do well.

Chris Clabaugh, CEO of Allegrix, a Santa Clara, California-based ASP, is using Tarantella to combine applications running under Windows, Linux and other operating systems into a seamless whole. He said he hasn't found any other software to do this. "If you're (running) Windows everywhere, Tarantella doesn't have a great story."

SCO is a minority shareholder in Allegrix and is working with the company to add ASP features such as tracking and billing to Tarantella, Clabaugh added.

"ASPs should definitely consider Tarantella," said Peter Lowber, a research director at Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Group. "They have a good product and a good approach to server-based computing." But Lowber said it would be hard for SCO to compete with Citrix's strong market position and well-established channel.

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