Surrey-based agricultural and financial conglomerate Cargill has given SCO's new Tarantella network computing product a valuable endorsement, claiming it has rescued it from an "IT nightmare".
Cargill said at this week's SCO Forum conference in Santa Cruz that the software would save it "a fortune" - the sort of recommendation that SCO plans to use aggressively to help sell the product, an application server to support NC/Java environments, this autumn.
Evan Venn, European client/server architecture manager at Cargill, said the product?s beta version has solved an "IT nightmare" for the company, which has multinational sites with different networks and different clients. Cargill added Tarantella to its legacy servers and turned its range of PC clients into network computing devices. The move protected the company?s existing investment and cut the waiting time for online Intranet applications from an average of 80 seconds to six seconds, he explained.
?We saved a fortune. Performance improved, implementation was quick, we?ve centralised and bought no new hardware so costs have gone down,? Venn said. ?In each country no local IT support is needed because everything is on the server.? Venn said the cost of installing a worldwide human resources application was cut by 60 per cent because Tarantella allowed the company to use four servers, not 40.
Venn admitted his company?s early adoption has presented a few problems. The cost of ownership is unknown and Tarantella is a new approach, a new technology and a new set of skills for staff to learn and accept.
SCO also plans its operating system update, Gemini, within a few months but Tarantella takes it into a new field. SCO hopes many companies will switch to Java-based network computing with Tarantella but it will face a new challenge in selling the product directly.
Tarantella can be added to existing client/server or mainframe systems and presents a Java-based desktop to PCs, NCs or other devices, which become thin clients. It runs on Unix, and Microsoft NT compatibility will follow soon. It deploys both Windows and Java-based applications now.
Ray Anderson, senior vice president of marketing at SCO, said the speed of network connections was the only stumbling block. ?But we developed an adaptive Internet protocol, which detects and optimises performance for each client device and network connection.?
This means Tarantella only allows information to be sent at the maximum speed each client can receive and uses the extra capacity for other, faster clients.
Clients keep all applications on the server and can suspend and resume work at any client, in a similar way to Microsoft?s Intellimirror, a feature of the next release of NT. Network computing client vendors CNT and Wyse Technology endorsed Tarantella.
Gemini, the amalgamation of SCO?s operating systems - the high end Open Server and Unixware, purchased from Novell, will be launched next year. The company plans Gemini II, the 64-bit upgrade to Gemini, for 1999, when Intel and Hewlett-Packard plan to release their 64-bit Risc chip, Merced.
Product management director Tamar Newburger said SCO will pitch Gemini as an Intel-based, network computing server OS that combines the reliability and scalability of Unix with Javacompatibility, multi-node failover, TCP-IP version 6 support and 64-bit components. She said Gemini already supports ?hot plug PCI?, which allows administrators to remove and replace cards without bringing the system down. Compaq demonstrated this capability at SCO Forum.
Oracle announced it will migrate its Oracle7 database customers on both Open Server and Unixware to Gemini, and introduce Oracle8 on Gemini ?as soon as possible? after its release. Oracle8 is running Gemini?s beta version at build level 11, Oracle said.
SCO also launched its System V Release 5 Unix kernel at the event.
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