GuidesSun to Extend Java with Linux, New Price Points

Sun to Extend Java with Linux, New Price Points

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Sun Microsystems is 60 days away from releasing a version of its Java Enterprise System infrastructure software for Linux, which it is positioning to compete with IBM’s offerings.

Sun Microsystems is 60 days away from releasing a version of its Java Enterprise System infrastructure software for Linux, which it is positioning to compete with IBM’s offerings.

Steve Borcich, executive director of Sun’s Java systems and security marketing, said the enterprise software system is made up of 13 or so tightly integrated products that offer a common user management framework. The system will run Red Hat Advanced Server 2.1 and, eventually, 3.0.

The package’s core products will include a directory, and identity server for authentication and authorization, portal services, an application server, and a Web server, all of which may be used to build out a Web services framework, according to the executive, who was in New York for the press tour. The system will also include user provisioning capabilities for identity management from Sun’s acquisition of Waveset last year.

ID management is considered a must for Web services systems. HP moved to acquire ID management software maker TruLogica last week. Borcich said Waveset technology will help Sun create policies to grant employees varying degrees of access, according to their rank.

Borcich said Sun is also planning heterogeneous models for the Java Enterprise System employing multiple chips and multiple operating systems. The platform runs on Sparc and x86 Xeon and Opteron architectures. By year’s end, Sun will add support for HP-UX and Windows operating systems as well, he said.

Java Enterprise System will sell as a subscription-based model at $100 per employee for one year and includes maintenance and service. But, Borcich said, if a company licenses the software, it may offer it to partners or customers free. For example, a bank servicing 50 million customers would not have to “pay for the entities they service to use it.” In another model, small and midsize enterprises with fewer than 100 employees may also use Java Enterprise System free.

Moreover, Sun has put a cap on the cost of the system in the interest of not scaring off large enterprises. Large businesses need only pay for as many as 12,000 employees to use it. Officials said 130,000 employees are in the current product cycle for the new pricing model. Borcich said the pipeline for more is “huge.”

Sun is also looking to bridge the gap between its “in-development” products and its money-making Java Enterprise System. Joe Keller, vice president, Java Web Services and Tools Marketing said the system is being linked to the developer community. The executive is responsible for the Java Studio Enterprise development platform, which has just been released to manufacturing and dovetails with the Java Enterprise System. The studio features software tools created in Sun’s NetBeans development group.

“We looked at the Java Enterprise System model and decided to change the way we sell dev tools,” Keller said. “We used to sell dev tools, a contract, support, access all piecemeal. Not anymore. If you buy the Java Enterprise System for $100 [per employee] and you want to license Java Studio Enterprise, it will cost $5 extra. We thought that was a really good deal for folks.”

Keller also said Sun’s interest in spreading its development works around is so great that the company installed a new program: Java Studio Enterprise supports the company’s Solaris operating system on Sparc, Intel and Linux platforms and runs on AMD’s Opteron architecture. Pricing is set at $1,499 per year per developer for a minimum of three years. Sun will then give that customer a free Opteron server, valued between $2,200 and $2,700.

Deals such as this underscore how much Sun wants customers to choose its development environment over IBM’s Rational tools, and open-source implementations from Eclipse.

“We really are trying to break out and challenge the old assumption about how you buy this stuff,” Keller said, citing the degree of difficulty in rendering a price point. “You have to hire armies to just try and calculate what you owe somebody.”

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