Sun’s Jini May Find Home In On-Demand Computing

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Sun Microsystems' Jini technology may have found its niche as a component of on-demand computing, a Sun official said Wednesday.

Jini, which has maintained a low profile since its introduction four years ago, will become a larger factor as companies extend their utility computing strategies, said Jennifer Kotzen, product marketing manager for Jini at Sun.

Jini is a services-oriented Java architecture that specifies a way for software to communicate and dynamically adapt to changes on a network.

In this way, Jini fits right into on-demand computing, which depends on IT systems being able to adapt to changes quickly and flexibly, Kotzen said.

"[Jini] has found a home," Kotzen said. "Dynamic networking capability has proved useful in business deployments. As people want to build systems that shift resources around, you need to be able to change how systems run more easily."

Jini has been considered a nonstarter for Sun, mainly because Sun marketed it as a technology for mobile devices when it was first invented, one solution provider said.

"The device story never panned out," said the solution provider, who requested anonymity. "That gave impression that Jini didn't succeed, but it was the marketing story didn't succeed."

Since then, Jini has been a component in Sun's P2P strategy with its JXTA framework, and has been mentioned in recent executive comments as a core driver for Sun's utility computing strategy, N1.

Jini's real strength is to "provide mechanisms to deal with failure and change [in a network] without an administrator," said Bill Venners, president of Artima Software, a software consultancy and publisher of a developer community Web site.

A Java client running either Java 2, Standard Edition (J2SE) or Java 2, Micro Edition (J2ME) Connected Device Configuration (CDC) can access Jini-enabled services and be dynamically aware of their properties, particularly when resources need to be shifted to accommodate a system error, Venners said.

"Part of Jini's strength is in how it helps developers deal with change and problems and especially failure in the network," he said.

Using Jini, "systems can adapt to changing circumstances" and, in turn, update clients running J2SE or J2ME CDC with the latest network information, he said.

Kotzen said Sun currently has 150,000 developers for Jini, which is available free through the Sun Community Source License (SCSL).

"Market demand is on the increase and we expect to see more need Jini," Kotzen said.

Additionally, about 100 ISVs have commercial licenses for Jini, which also are available under SCSL, Kotzen said. Commercial licensees also must pass compliances tests to ensure "something using Jini is behaving the way you'd expect a system to behave," she said.

In other Jini news, the Jini Community, which oversees updates and development of Jini, Wednesday approved the first Jini standard, Artima's Venners said.

The ServiceUI API, submitted to the community by Artima, standardizes an approach for attaching user interfaces that dynamically adjust to changes to individual Jini technology-based services, Venners said.

The Jini Community is openly accepting submission for new ideas and technologies, he added. More information is available on the group's Web site

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