Sun Microsystems has developed a technology that will let organisations use Microsoft applications on a Sun Ray thin client.
The company unveiled the technology, codenamed Retro, at its Sun Labs Day, an open house for its research arm in Mountain View, California.
Sun Ray allows workers to access applications from a dumb terminal, with the data and applications residing on a server. Because it does not contain any software other than an operating system, the units are cheap to maintain and deploy.
The lack of industry standard applications such as Microsoft Office on Sun Ray has been a major obstacle for user adoption.
In a demonstration, staff engineer Tom Karpowitz showed Excel running on a Sun Ray. Sun has not yet decided on when the technology will be available for customers.
Retro uses Terminal Services running on Windows Server 2003. Custom code ports the terminal service over to the Sun Ray. "This isn't exactly rocket science," admitted Karpowitz.
Citrix and other integration vendors offer ways to use Microsoft applications on a Sun Ray client, but these are typically expensive and present the user with a window that features an entire desktop rather than just a single application, Karpowitz said.
They also require the user to log in to use the application, whereas Sun's Retro offers single sign-on technology.
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