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Sun releases Sun ONE Application Server and Developer Platform

Sun Microsystems has announced the latest release of the Sun ONE Application Server and Developer Platform. Ahead of the announcement, Hurwitz Group spoke to Sanjay Sarathy, Director of Product Marketing for Sun ONE Application Server and Developer products. Read on for an outline of the new release and for the Hurwitz Group's commentary.

Market Commentary
Sun releases Sun ONE application server and developer platform

This week, Sun Microsystems announced the latest release of the Sun ONE Application Server and Developer Platform. Ahead of the announcement, Hurwitz Group spoke to Sanjay Sarathy, Director of Product Marketing for Sun ONE Application Server and Developer products, who outlined:

  • An aggressive pricing strategy for the Sun ONE Platform Edition. The Sun ONE Application Server 7, Platform Edition will be free of license fees -- for both development and deployment -- on all major operating environments including Solaris, Windows, Linux, AIX, and HP-UX. According to Sun, the Platform Edition is designed to provide a high-performance, small-footprint core J2EE 1.3 platform for deploying Web and application services in places where cost was previously prohibitive, such as smaller remote sites and internal departments.
  • A newly integrated developer platform. The new integrated Developer Platform combines Sun ONE Studio 4 with the Sun ONE application, identity, portal, integration and registry servers in a single integrated development environment. The strategy is a recognition that today's application development projects have multiple contributors, all using different tools to write new business logic or integrate portal functionality and that service-oriented IT environments will need unified user management for policy and access control.
  • A new Developer Pack to fuel the creation of Java Web services. The new Web Services Developer Pack provides a complete set of APIs and tools developed through the Java Community Process (JCP). The goal is to drive the development of Web services that leverage the J2EE architecture, giving J2EE licensees including IBM, Oracle, and BEA Systems a competitive edge over Microsoft .NET.

With this announcement, Sun hopes to change the dynamics of the application server market in its favor. The company has languished in the chase pack for years, but these questions now arise:

  • Will Sun's market share change? Giving away the Sun ONE Application Server won't have much effect beyond shipping a lot of software that potentially never gets implemented. Just as Sun introduces a strategy to skew the variables in its favor, measurement of app server market share will shift from the number of copies shipped to the number of implementations that are in production with at least one application.
  • Does Solaris integration change anything? The move to preinstall the app server with the operating system does not come as a surprise -- Microsoft already does it. However, integrating the app server directly into Solaris 9 and optimizing for Sun hardware will hurt Oracle and BEA Systems, which lack an operating system (OS) or a hardware platform of their own, and will pressure IBM to follow suit with WebSphere integration into AIX on its hardware. The move potentially reignites a love affair between Hewlett-Packard and BEA Systems, following HP's abandonment of its own app server.
  • Is there a Linux effect? Adoption of the open source Linux operating system in the enterprise has been minuscule because of a lack of enterprise accountability. But the bundling of hardware, OS, and app server -- a single product decision -- injects trusted vendors into the open source equation. Look for the Dell/Red Hat/Oracle partnership announced earlier this month and IBM's Linux on the mainframe strategy to go into high gear.
  • What does this announcement mean for the Java software industry? Because most companies already have an app server, vendors continue to drive customers to build apps on their platforms. New tools like BEA's Cajun and Sun ONE Studio are stratifying Java development along platform lines. With so much competitive fuel being thrown on the fire, it will become increasingly difficult to sustain the principles of openness, collaboration, and anti-Microsoft unity that have characterized the Java community until now.

Copyright 2002 Hurwitz Group Inc. This article is excerpted from TrendWatch, a weekly publication of Hurwitz Group Inc. - an analyst, research, and consulting firm. To register for a free email subscription, click here.

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