Choose Tarantella or Citrix?
By christophersaul on Sep 06, 2005
I had an interesting link in the list of 'referrers' to my blog recently. Someone had come across my illustrious musings after typing 'choose tarantella or citrix' into Google. They would have found some general info here, but nothing that specifically answered their question, so I thought I'd write an entry to give the next Googler some info to help them make their decision. I'll add the phrase 'tarntella vs citrix' as that's probably another phrase that will be typed in. [28/9/06, adding phrases SSGD vs Citrix and Sun Secure Global Desktop vs Citrix, now that Sun's renamed Tarantella.] First off, please understand that if someone buys a Tarantella licence in my region, the revenue counts towards my yearly goal, which is currently made up of all Sun's desktop products, as well as RFID and some other bits and pieces. This means it's thoroughly in my interest to sell Tarantella. It's also in my interest to sell a customer the right solution, even if that means we end up providing 500 Sun Rays using Citrix running on Sun servers, as opposed to 500 Sun Rays using Tarantella on Sun servers. Selling the right solution makes sense for long term customer relationships and good long term relationship means revenue for Sun. That said, come and ask me which you should buy towards the end of Sun's financial and I can't guarantee you'll get a completely unbiased response. After all, I like to get paid as much as the next chap. I won't go into great depth about each product's features as the products' respective web sites do that in detail. I'm assuming that if you're reading this you have a basic idea of a Citrix architecture and a Tarantella architecture. I mention Sun Rays in my example above, but Citrix and Tarantella will work with many different clients. So, Tarantella or Citrix? or Tarantella vs Citrix? Technical reasons Tarantella is an excellent product. I've been singing its praises for over 5 years now. \* If you have a mixed environment where users need to connect to a mix of Unix, Windows and AS400/Mainframe applications either remotely or from your internal network, Tarantella excels. \* If your users only need to connect to Unix either remotely or from your internal network, Tarantella excels. \* If your users only need to connect to AS400 or mainframe based apps either remotely or from your internal network, Tarantella excels. \* If you need to web enable legacy terminal or graphical Windows, Unix or AS400 apps, Tarantella excels. \* If you need to set up remote access to your mixed applications in a very secure way, Tarantella excels. \* If your clients need to do remote printing from any application, Tarantella excels. \* If you only have Windows applications to connect to, either remotely or from clients on the internal WAN or LAN, Tarantella is very good. \* You'll need your IT guys to have some good Windows Terminal Services skills and you'll need your guys to have some basic Unix skills as well in order to maintain the Tarantella servers. I've also worked with Citrix for several years. I have never been as hands on with Citrix as I'd have liked, but I know what it can do and I have seen it do it extremely well. \* If you only want to connect to Windows applications, Citrix excels. \* Your IT team will have to have good knowledge of Citrix and Windows, but Citrix makes it particularly easy to deploy large and commplex Windows-centric server based computing farms. \* Both Citrix and Tarantella work very well with Sun Ray. A proof of concept would demonstrate where each product's strengths lie in your particular environment if you are considering Sun Rays with either product. Business issues \* Tarantella used to suffer from being a relatively small company with weak presence in many countries. That issue has gone completely thanks to Sun's acquisition of the company. Every Sun reseller will be able to sell Tarantella and the technical community behind it is now huge. \* Citrix have a large global presence \* Both Tarantella and Citrix have an excellent list of customer references covering pretty much every industry vertical. \* Many larger customers are already using Citrix. Unless you are desperately unhappy with Citrix it makes sense to build on what you've got. \* If you have chosen Citrix or are already a Citrix user the local Sun office should enthusiastically embrace the opportunity to work with you and Citrix to reduce your desktop TCO further by deploying a Sun Ray desktop architecture. You shouldn't need to worry about the sales reps trying to shoehorn Tarantella in when you're happy with Citrix. \* Who's strongest locally? Any product can get into an endless feature war, but unless you trust the people you're going to be working with, it's much of a muchness. \* Price. Price is negotiable. If you like both products equally, do the maths. Don't just cover your licence costs, look at the total solution, from hardware through to admin and user training. So, which to choose? That's up to you, but the reasonably impartial advice above should be a good starting point. Your local Sun office or Sun partner should be the right place to start. Tarantella is on our price list, but good sales teams will want to sell the right solution and ought to have Citrix knowledge and a good relationship with Citrix or the local Citrix partners.   Note correct spelling of referrer. Two Rs please :)  In my region our relationship with Citrix varies. It's particularly good in the Middle East and I want it to stay that way. A number of joint customers stand to benefit greatly from working with our companies, providing we co-operate well. The same is true for the countries who aren't particularly close to Citrix and I'd like to see those countries improve the way they work with Citrix and Citrix partners. In many cases we have a Sun partner who's also a Citrix partner. This can work very well with partners such as Unit in Slovakia who are very solutions focused and can sell Sun, Citrix or whatever they feel best suits what the customer needs. If I had a Unit working in each of SEE's 98 countries I could probably retire in a couple of years. Other joint Sun and Citrix partners often have totally separate divisions. This means that on paper they look like ideal partners for Sun desktop activities. Unfortunately it's often the case the Sun department is divorced from the Citrix department, who typically also sell rival thin client solutions to Sun Ray. For various reasons it's hard to get the two groups to work together, but hopefully the walls will start to come down.