Sun Launches Java Middleware Suites

Sun Microsystems is looking to leverage the strengths of its Java middleware by bundling it into five low-cost suites.

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

February 2, 2005

3 Min Read

Sun Microsystems revealed a plan Tuesday to reorganize its Java middleware and Web-services software into packages to better compete against middleware vendors such as IBM and BEA Systems Inc.

Sun will break up its stack of Java middleware and Web services into five suites priced at $50 per year, per employee. Sun's comprehensive Java middleware is one of its hidden strengths, and it's looking for new ways to sell it against middleware rivals such as IBM with its WebSphere suite and BEA with its WebLogic application server.

Sun has merged two leading Java application servers it acquired through its Netscape and NetDynamics acquisitions to produce what it's calling its SunOne Application Server. Currently it's simply a nameless part of the Java Enterprise System, which Sun has been pedaling as a $100-per-year, per-employee software stack. Java Enterprise System includes a Web server, an LDAP-based Directory server, and a Portal server. Sun is raising the price of the entire software stack from $100 to $140 per employee, per year.

Sun has sold Java Enterprise System to companies with 418,000 users in its first year. President Jonathan Schwartz termed it "an enormous success" and the driver of a thorough transformation in selling software at Sun.

The new suites being sold at the lower $50-per-year, per-employee price include:

• Sun Java Application Platform Suite, a set of integrated tools for designing, developing, and deploying applications under a services-oriented architecture. It includes Sun Java System Application Server Enterprise Edition and the Sun Java Studio Enterprise development tools. The tools range from Java starter tools, gained through Sun's acquisition of NetBeans, up through an integrated development environment, acquired when it bought Forté Software. Also included in the suite are Sun Java System Web Server, Sun Java System Portal Server, Portal SRA, and Portal Mobile Access.

• Sun Communications Suite, a set of tools and services clustered around Sun Java System Messaging Server, an implementation of the Java Community Process standard Java Messaging Services. It includes the development tools in the application platform suite, Sun Java System Calendar Server, and Sun Java System Instant Messaging, which are synchronized with Microsoft Outlook thanks to the recent Sun/Microsoft collaboration.

• Sun Availability Suite, a set of software aimed at improving service levels and management of critical applications. It includes Sun's development tools, Sun Cluster load-balancing and failover software for multiple Sun servers, and Sun Agents software for monitoring application performance.

• Sun Identity Management Suite, designed to identify users and assign privilege levels to many users of a system. It includes Sun Java System Identity Manager, Sun Java System Access Manager, Sun Java System Directory Server Enterprise Edition, and development tools.

• Sun Java Web Infrastructure Suite, a set of software optimized for Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s Opteron processor to provide security to existing Web applications. It includes Sun Java System Web Server, Sun Java System Directory Server Enterprise Edition, Sun Java System Access Manager, Sun Java System Web Proxy Server, Sun Java System Application Server Standard Edition, plus development tools.

The software suites will run on either Sun UltraSparc servers or Sun's Opteron-based servers. Both run Sun's Solaris 10 operating system, which was available for free download starting Feb. 1.

McNealy said Sun is also revamping its Client Services organization into Client Solutions made up of teams of experts with experience in production deployments.

At the same time it unveiled its new software strategy, Sun revealed plans to provide grid-computing services for $1 per CPU-hour and data storage for $1 per gigabyte, per month. To support the initiative, Sun is opening data centers in Texas, Virginia, New Jersey, Canada, and Scotland.

Sun is already providing grid computing to some customers in the financial-services and oil and gas industries. The commercial version of those services is expected to be available later this year.

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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