Sun's Jini May Find Its Niche In On-Demand Computing - InformationWeek

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Sun's Jini May Find Its Niche In On-Demand Computing

The vendor says the 4-year-old technology will become a larger factor as companies extend their utility computing strategies

Sun Microsystems' Jini technology may have found its niche: on-demand computing.

Jennifer Kotzen, Jini product marketing manager at Sun, said that although the technology has maintained a low profile during its four-year history, it will become a larger factor as companies extend their utility computing strategies.

Jini is a services-oriented Java architecture that specifies a way for software to communicate and dynamically adapt to changes on a network. As a result, Jini fits right into on-demand computing, which depends on the ability of IT systems to adapt to changes quickly and with flexibility, she said.

"[Jini] has found a home. Dynamic networking capability has proved useful in business deployments. As people want to build systems that shift resources around, you need to be able to change how systems run more easily," Kotzen said.

Jini's real strength is to "provide mechanisms to deal with failure and change [in a network] without an administrator," said Bill Venners, president of Artima Software, a software consulting firm and publisher of a developer community Web site.

One solution provider, who requested anonymity, said Jini has been considered a nonstarter for Sun, mainly because the vendor marketed it as a technology for mobile devices when it was invented. "The device story never panned out," the solution provider said. "That gave the impression that Jini didn't succeed, but it was the marketing story didn't succeed."

Since then, Jini has been a component in Sun's peer-to-peer strategy with its JXTA framework. It also has been mentioned in recent executive comments as a core driver for N1, Sun's utility computing strategy.

A Java client running either Java 2 Standard Edition (J2SE) or Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME) Connected Device Configuration (CDC) can access Jini-enabled services and be dynamically aware of their properties, particularly when resources must be shifted to accommodate a system error, Venners said. "Part of Jini's strength is in how it helps developers deal with change and problems, especially failure in the network," he said.

Using Jini, systems can adapt to changing circumstances and update clients running J2SE or J2ME CDC with the latest network information, Venners said.

Sun now has 150,000 developers for Jini, which is available for free through the Sun Community Source License, Kotzen said. "Market demand is on the increase, and we expect to see more need Jini," she said.

In addition, about 100 independent software vendors have Jini commercial licenses, which also are available under SCSL, Kotzen said. Commercial licensees must pass compliance tests to ensure that "something using Jini is behaving the way you'd expect a system to behave," she said.

This story courtesy of CRN

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