Linux Containers Authors: Liz McMillan, Simon Hill, Elizabeth White, Vaibhaw Pandey, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

The Network Is Computing for Sun

Tarantella acquisition paves the way to unifying enterprise operating systems

In May 2005, Sun Microsystems announced that they had entered into an agreement to acquire remote access vendor, Tarantella (www.tarantella.com), in a $25 million cash agreement. Tarantella is the producer of secure remote access software that enables network access to hosts running an assortment of operating systems. Sun lays claim to the tagline "The Network is the Computer." Taking these two things into consideration, Tarantella would seem to be an excellent way for Sun to further their vision of hosted clients easily distributed over the network.

Financially, Tarantella's quarterly report ending March 31, 2005 (their second fiscal quarter for 2005), showed they had approximately $3.7 million in cash and cash equivalents and portrayed an operating loss of $3.4 million on revenues of $2.7 million. In Tarantella's annual report for fiscal year ending September 30, 2004, they showed net revenue of $12.5 million down from $14.0 million the same period the year before. This seems to be a coup for Sun, having picked up Tarantella for a song at two times net annual revenue and the prospect of filling a strategic hole in their product portfolio. Tarantella (formerly The Santa Cruz Operation) is a good match for Sun as they have been focusing on their host access/redisplay business since selling their Unix rights to Caldera (now The SCO Group - www.sco.com) back in 2001.

Technology Overview
Tarantella's Secure Global Desktop is a bridging technology that provides the means to broker different operating systems through a common redisplay mechanism into a service-oriented architecture (SOA). Tarantella can publish Linux, Unix, Microsoft Windows, AS/400, and other mainframe applications by means of the Tarantella Adaptive Internet Protocol (AIP) to a Java client on a desktop or as an embedded Web application. This is delivered using a three-tier architecture made up of the legacy systems or application servers that are accessed or brokered by Tarantella and redisplayed by the Adaptive Internet Protocol or by the Web protocols HTTP/HTTPS to a client that can then gain access to the legacy systems through a common interface known as a Webtop. For example, financial applications that run on AS/400 or other applications running on mainframes can be securely retrieved through a Java client on a variety of platforms. Users can also gain access to Linux, other Unix OSses, including Sun Solaris, and even Microsoft Windows in this way. By wrapping applications in a portable and secure network transport, Tarantella provides the following benefits:

  • Security: Tarantella renders a checkpoint in a common interface to funnel client access and provides security since the Tarantella Server is the only external point of contact to the legacy system. All traffic between the Tarantella servers and the legacy systems can be exchanged behind firewalls where there is much less chance of data being intercepted.
  • Publishing applications to all platforms at once: Since applications can reside on the servers and are published over a Web protocol, the client machines have fewer client dependencies other than the presence of a Java Virtual Machine and optionally a Java-enabled browser. For enterprises that are moving from Windows to Linux, legacy systems become transferable across platforms. This can be a cost-effective way to "port" applications to new platforms without the risk of newly developed native or Web apps failing to maintain the status quo achieved on their native platform.
  • Portability: Application access is now a function of the network securely tunneled through AIP to an office or dial-up connection, or for telecommuters from their home. Mobile users can access their productivity desktop securely from a network connection on their laptop or a kiosk. User workstations can be shared and user sessions can be accessed from a thin client anywhere in the enterprise. IT departments manage and push applications to offsite users with minimal burden.
Besides redisplay, the Secure Global Desktop Enterprise Edition offers features that appeal to the enterprise including a level of redundancy. Redisplay can be handled by a single server or by an array of servers with load balancing, scalability, and redundancy to handle thousands of users. They also provide these applications in a Webtop environment, which is where each individual user-published application resides. Through their object manager administrative tool, a secure global desktop administrator can publish applications by users and groups or organizational units.

The reason Tarantella might be more attractive to an enterprise with many operating systems is that unlike Citrix (www.citrix.com), which is heavily tied to publishing Microsoft applications, Tarantella can provide connectivity to a number of other operating systems including Microsoft Windows. The applications for Tarantella include:

  • 3270 applications
  • 5250 applications
  • Unix and Linux applications using VT420, Wyse 60, and ANSI character sets
  • X11 applications hosted on Unix or Linux
  • Microsoft Terminal Services with remote display protocol (RDP) or Citrix servers running the ICA protocol
This provides a mechanism to publish information from all of these systems to the one common Webtop. This could be of value to desktop PC users migrating from Windows to Linux (or Solaris) as it starts to unite the Windows working environment with Unix and Linux. In theory, the large enterprise could keep their legacy systems in place even including Windows while migrating to Linux. As Linux is adopted throughout the enterprise, the users lose nothing and systems administrators and managers gain an additional layer of security and a single point of deployment for client applications. Over time, as new systems are brought online, old systems are easily decommissioned from the user's Webtop. As replacement systems come online, they can be pushed to the user's desktop without having to make changes to the local client machines using the Tarantella framework.

Why Tarantella, Why Now?
Tarantella gives Sun a powerful tool that helps them to penetrate and live side by side with many other operating systems. It also helps them boost their mobility strategy through the use of redisplay. Another advantage is their ability to work with longtime-rival Microsoft. In 2004 Sun and Microsoft agreed to a $700 million settlement to settle pending anti-trust issues and another $900 million as a resolution to patent issues. This was not the first such incidence as Sun sued Microsoft in 1997 over Sun's stipulation that Microsoft had broken the terms of their Java license by optimizing Java to run on Windows computers and potentially breaking compatibility. Over time C# (pronounced "see sharp") started to emerge as a competitive technology that could be used in place of Java for many applications and become a popular programming language to develop Microsoft .NET apps. In the 2004 settlement between the two IT behemoths there was mention of a "broad cooperation agreement" (www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2004/

Before the addition of Tarantella there seemed to be very little opportunity for the two to realistically cooperate or collaborate due to the disparities between the two operations' systems. Ironically, on the 10th anniversary of Java, Sun and Microsoft announced their progress in collaboration in the form of new development specifications that enable Web single sign-on (SSO) between systems that use Liberty and WS-* Web service architectures.

Scott McNealy was also quoted in a May 13, 2005, press release mentioning that they (Sun) were trying to address their top customer request of single sign-on between Microsoft Windows Server, Solaris, and Sun Java Enterprise. Adhering to this spec would enable browser-based Web single sign-on between security domains that use the Liberty ID-FF and WS-Federation. Using Tarantella would be one way to do this effectively because legacy systems could be accessed through a common interface and integration and updates for legacy systems would happen at the display layer rather than the application layer, meaning that applications could quickly be assimilated into a SOA. In addition, in the public announcement of this specification for SSO, Sun has agreed to support Windows on their Sun Fire x64 server and Sun Java Workstation products that now carry the Designed for Windows log. These are humble beginnings for two companies who are competing in so many markets and will be hard-pressed to successfully co-exist when both are competing for the same customers.

More Stories By Mark R. Hinkle

Mark Hinkle is the Senior Director, Open Soure Solutions at Citrix. He also is along-time open source expert and advocate. He is a co-founder of both the Open Source Management Consortium and the Desktop Linux Consortium. He has served as Editor-in-Chief for both LinuxWorld Magazine and Enterprise Open Source Magazine. Hinkle is also the author of the book, "Windows to Linux Business Desktop Migration" (Thomson, 2006). His blog on open source, technology, and new media can be found at http://www.socializedsoftware.com.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things’). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing? IoT is not about the devices, it’s about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. In his session at Internet of Things at Cloud Expo | DXWor...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader Sergey Grebnov provided an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...