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Sun Consolidates Product Line, Launches Orion and Mad Hatter

By Michael Singer (Send Email)
Posted Sep 16, 2003


Sun Microsystems Tuesday took bold steps to consolidate its Java-based product line into a half dozen offerings. Though the names have changed, the Sun Java Enterprise System (formerly Project Orion) and Desktop System (formerly known as Mad Hatter) have launched, consolidating Sun's product line.

As part of its third quarterly Network Computing 03 (NC03Q3) launch and Sun Network conference here, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based network computer maker debuted its Sun Java System, which boils down its entire line of products to six "Java" branded products.

The six now include:

  • N1 (virtualization and provisioning services)
  • Sun Java Enterprise System (formerly known as Project Orion)
  • Sun Java Desktop System (formerly known as Project Mad Hatter)
  • Sun Java Studio (developer tools, including Project Rave)
  • Sun Java Mobility System (for Java-enabled phones)
  • Sun Java Card System (for Java-enabled ID badges)

The company said it has also simplified its pricing structure including offering one price to Sun's entire customer, supplier and partner base - on an unlimited number of Sun systems with setup, training and support services included.

Sun chairman and CEO Scott McNealy called the launch a "momentous occasion" for his company and its customers.

"It's time corporate IT stopped being an integrator and started becoming a profit maker," McNealy said in a statement. "The new Sun Java System goes to the very heart of our steadfast commitment to delivering complete computing systems -- the whole car, not just the parts. The new Sun Java System is a breath of fresh air for our customers and is core to Sun's future growth."

The change was something the company had been hinting at since it reclaimed its rights to the Java programming language name back in June. The company has been preaching that the way to win the hearts and minds of IT budget managers was to bundle as much as possible.

"CIO's are tired of hand-tooling custom systems with an array of expensive, hard to deploy componentry - that differs by server, desktop, device, smartcard, developer and operator," Sun Executive Vice President Jonathan Schwartz said. "By moving to a consolidated systems approach, Sun is taking the entire Java ecosystem to the next level."

Individually, the systems are barely tweaked at all. The Enterprise System is priced at $100 per employee per year, with infinite right to use in Internet applications.

The SuSE Linux-powered Desktop system includes StarOffice 7, Mozilla open source browser, e-mail as well as RealNetworks RealONE player and Macromedia Flash. It can be purchased for $100 per desktop or for $50 per employee as an add-on to the Sun Java Enterprise System.

Java Studio includes an IDE (Integrated Developer Environment), connector builders, plug-ins, and the full Sun Java Enterprise System runtime. The complete all-in-one package includes tools, code samples, services, support and the deployment platform for $5 per employee as an add-on to the Sun Java Enterprise System.

N1, which celebrates its first anniversary, adds to its arsenal with N1 CenterRun 4.0. The recently acquired technology helps provide one-touch set up of new shared resources for things like Web services. The platform is part of Sun's strategy to combat "e-business on demand" from IBM and Hewlett-Packard's "Adaptive Enterprise" banner.

Sun also officially announced a new early access program, Sun Software Express. As previously reported by internetnews.com, customers can get high-quality snapshots of the very latest Sun technologies on regular monthly intervals. The first release, Solaris Express, ships in September with the latest developmental codes of the Solaris operating system. The company says Solaris was chosen first because of the increasing customer demand. Solaris x86 is currently available on more than 140 systems.

"The traditional model was beta and then the traditional release," said Sun Group Manager Solaris Product Manager Bill Moffitt. The early access program is an unsupported model; no traditional 1-hour support. The benefit is that they can put it on their systems (not for production use) and test out their own systems. That way they can test that assumption and give us feedback. We're basing the distributions similarly to how the Linux kernel is being developed so our users can see the features as they come out."

This article was originally published on siliconvalley.internet.com.

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