Sun challenges Microsoft in integration wars

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Sun has released its Project Orion integrated enterprise software system to the market in a direct challenge to main competitor Microsoft, asserting its own integrated package as a simpler, cheaper way to adopt open source.

Sun has released its Project Orion integrated enterprise software system to the market in a direct challenge to main competitor Microsoft, asserting its own integrated package as a simpler, cheaper way to adopt open source.

Keith Garelja, regional manager of software at Sun Microsystems Australia, said Project Orion, released to the global market on 16 September as the Sun Java Enterprise System, integrated and consolidated Sun's entire network services architecture into a single Java-based, open source-derived system.

'If you talk to most CIOs, things aren't getting any easier so the major driver was reducing complexity around middleware,' he said.

Since every best-of-breed product has its own life cycle and compatibility issues, what the market needed was an integrated, simplified offering that was an alternative to Sun's 'main competitors' - such as Microsoft, Garelja said.

He said that key to the system's appeal was its annuity-based licensing model. Sun Java Enterprise System will be charged per employee per annum instead of per user - meaning the cost of adopting the system will relate directly to the size of the enterprise involved and thus the funds available to pay for it.

'CIOs are looking to reduce the cost of technological integration, [reduce] complexity and increase predictability,' Garelja said.

Sun Java Enterprise System will cost A$175 per employee per year, the US company said in a statement.

Garelja said that Sun hadn't 'Australianised' the product's channel strategy yet, but the global policy was that companies with fewer than 1000 users would be targeted via the indirect channel. 'We'll need to re-calibrate that in relation to conditions here,' he said.

Channel strategy would be resolved for Australian iForce partners by the end of this calendar year, he said.

'The benefit for the channel partners is they're also effectively annuity streams of revenue for them,' Garelja said.

He claimed the system would take an average 30 minutes to install a whole stack, saying that other vendor's products could take an entire day to do all the necessary configuration and installation procedures.

'It's going to score at both ends of the market - it's good for the big customers and for small customers,' Garelja said.

Laurie Wong, product business manager at Sun Microsystems Australia, said the company was also releasing Project Mad Hatter to the market as the Sun Java Desktop System.

'Most of our products now are going through a re-branding,' he said.

Wong said Sun Java Desktop System included StarOffice 7, the Mozilla open source-derived browser, e-mail and collaboration suite RealNetworks RealONE and Macromedia Flash for an RRP of A$95 per employee as an add-on to Sun Java Enterprise System.
Standard RRP was A$190 per desktop.

'In comparison to proprietary desktops, the costs are something like one-fifth to one-tenth yet it gives you a fully integrated desktop managed on Sun Java Enterprise System,' he said.

Wong said the initial version would have enterprise management tools built around it, but the next two releases would include application configuring tools.

The system would be very low maintenance, secure and interoperable, he claimed, due to its Linux-based features such as JRE and Sandbox. 'I haven't heard of any case of applications breaking out of the Sandbox and infecting the system,' Wong said.

Sun has also launched a developer toolkit, Sun Java Studio Enterprise, which the company claims offers everything needed to build web-based enterprise applications, such as Java IDE, J2EE tools and wizards, web service creation and assembly, portal channel, integration and application tools.

With Sun Java Enterprise System, the developer kit costs A$8 per employee including support, Wong said.

Sun Java Studio Enterprise targeted ISVs and OEMs in particular, Garelja added.

Globally, the company has announced a total six new Java-branded software systems integrating applications and services on the server, desktop, development platform, operator platform and, eventually, mobile devices and Java Cards.

'Nobody else in the industry has done that with this licensing model and there's a great deal of interest around Linux and Linux on the desktop,' Wong added.

Fleur Doidge travelled to the MediaConnect Face the IT Media Forum in Queensland as a guest of MediaConnect.


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