Sun Wins 7,500-User Java Desktop Deal With Irish Bank


Sun Microsystems has landed a 7,500-user deal with a major bank in Ireland for its Enterprise Java Desktop System.

Sun unveiled the customer win, with Allied Irish Bank (AIB), on Tuesday at the JavaOne Developer Conference in San Francisco. AIB has begun migrating from Windows 95 and "older versions of Office" on PCs running its branch offices in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland to Sun's Java Desktop System 2 (JDS 2) running StarOffice on Linux, a Sun spokeswoman said. Sun announced JDS 2 last month.

Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Plans call for AIB to transition to its New Branch Banking Platform next year, according to Sun. Horizon Open Systems, a Sun partner based in Dublin, will provide migration services alongside Sun Professional Services, Sun said. Horizon Open Systems is part of Horizon Technology Group, a leading systems integrator and IT distributor in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Sam Greenblatt, senior vice president and chief architect of Computer Associates International's Linux Technology Center, hailed the Sun-AIB deal as a big gain for Linux, given the bank's previous reluctance to use open-source technology. "That's a major win because Irish Allied Bank has been skittish about talking open source unless it's supported by a larger corporation," Greenblatt said.

Sun has snared a few other JDS wins outside the United States, notably a 10,000-seat win last February with United India Insurance and a major deal last fall with the Chinese government, which could impact 200 million desktops serviced by China Standard Software.

One solution provider specializing in open source said a number of pilots are under way in the United States, but American companies are less willing to go public. "Europeans have always been ahead in open-source software, partially due to cultural reasons. So this is not surprising," said Chris Maresca, senior partner at Olliance Group, Palo Alto, Calif. "There are a lot of efforts to do Linux on the desktop. I'd say 20 percent to 30 percent of Global 100 companies are experimenting with it."