SCO Makes ASP Dash With Client System

New version will access diverse platforms, use novel pricing model

The Santa Cruz Operation Inc. (SCO) is positioning its Tarantella application-broker technology as a platform for application service providers (ASP).

A new Tarantella version due in May will be offered to ASPs under a novel per-hour pricing model.

Tarantella, which competes with Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Citrix Systems Inc.'s 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 IBM mainframes.

Santa Cruz, Calif.-based SCO will sell Tarantella ASP Edition directly to service providers. The new 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 Inc. in Redwood City, Calif., said SCO's attempt to win the ASP market is "a long shot." Blatnick said Tarantella so far has mainly appealed to SCO's existing Unix user base. "They certainly are trying to become a Unix version" of Citrix's MetaFrame, said Blatnick, adding that the product may do well because of SCO's large installed base in small business and certain vertical industries such as retail.

Chris Clabaugh, CEO of Allegrix Inc., an ASP in Santa Clara, Calif., is using Tarantella to combine applications running under Windows, Linux and other operating systems into a seamless whole. He said no other software will do this. "If you're (running) Windows everywhere, Tarantella doesn't have a great story," said Clabaugh.

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

"ASPs should definitely consider Tarantella," said Peter Lowber, a research director at Gartner Group Inc. in Boston. "(SCO has) a good product and a good approach to server-based computing."

But Lowber said it will be difficult for SCO to compete with Citrix's strong market position and well-established channel.

Copyright © 2000 IDG Communications, Inc.

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