Sun, Microsoft Advance Interop Initiatives

In the same week that Sun announced its intent to purchase Citrix competitor Tarantella, Sun said it had licensed Microsoft's RDP for use in its Sun Ray ultra-thin clients. This will allow Sun's thin clients to access Windows Server 2003 terminal services for the first time.

Additionally, Microsoft and Sun plan to support the Web Single Sign-On identity-authentication specification in future Windows Server and Java Enterprise System code to enable cross-domain and federated identity authentication for both Java and .Net applications.

Microsoft and Sun also plan to incorporate WS-Management in their respective forthcoming updates of Windows Server 2003 R2 and Solaris 10 later this year to allow for better cross-platform management of Java and .Net applications.

Sun's $25 million buyout of Tarantella and licensing of Microsoft's RDP will enable the Unix OS giant to virtualize and publish any type of application—whether Solaris, Windows, Macintosh, Linux, mainframe or AS400-based—and display it over Sun Ray thin clients. Tarantella's Secure Global Desktop will be integrated into Sun's Solaris and Sun Ray thin clients, Sun said.

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Gerard McGowan, a vice president at Edison, N.J., solution provider Innovativ, said he will continue to offer his clients a choice of the more full-featured Citrix platform or lower-cost Sun solution whether Sun Ray or Solaris-based.

"Citrix is the 800-pound gorilla and offers the more full-featured and more expensive solution, while Tarantella is a midtier solution that gives 80 percent of Citrix's functionality at half the price," said McGowan. "If the customer has Citrix, I won't try to change that."