SCO declares war on Citrix

The Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) intends to attack Citrix Systems Inc. head on with Tarantella Enterprise II.

“We used to work with Citrix,” said John Fisher, country manager for SCO Canada, but now “we’re going after every penny of their business.”

SCO’s Tarantella application brokering system previously used Citrix’s MetaFrame application server software to access Windows NT boxes, while using SCO’s own technology to link to Unix machines.

Tarantella Enterprise II replaces MetaFrame with more of SCO’s own technology, thereby turning the partnership into a competition that Fisher is confident will find SCO on top. He said Tarantella will offer more stability and other benefits over Citrix because Tarantella does not need to be installed on the actual NT server.

Tarantella works instead via a central Tarantella server that bridges the gap between workstations and application servers. Fisher said by not putting anything directly on the NT server – which he said is a requirement of Citrix – the application does not have to be brought down. Furthermore, he said leaving more space on the NT server means greater scalability for the NT applications.

Stacey Quandt, an analyst with the Giga Information Group, said removing Citrix MetaFrame from Tarantella “could potentially increase performance.”

Quandt said there are other minor competitors to Citrix, but given that SCO is a Unix vendor with many years of experience, she said Citrix should take this particular threat seriously.

“SCO’s expertise and past experience with clustering, load balancing and caching make the enhancements to Tarantella even more compelling for companies with remote workers or using wireless devices,” she said, adding that Tarantella Enterprise II also includes several performance enhancements and improved system management.

“If you think about applications that could be served by this, the trend towards application service providers could leverage Tarantella as a new e-business platform,” said Quandt.

SCO is confident enough of Tarantella’s strengths over Citrix that Fisher said the company is offering a trade-in deal for customers who already have Citrix installed. He said until the end of June, 2000, customers having at least 50 Citrix seats can replace them with Tarantella seats in a 10-for-one deal.

“So if you have 250 Citrix seats,” explained Fisher, “you could buy the Tarantella starter pack of 25 seats of Unix and Windows for US$4,925,” and SCO would throw in the remaining 225 seats at no charge.

Tarantella is also available for a free 60-day trial, and can be downloaded from