Orion Aims To Simplify

Solaris 9.x updates scheduled for 3Q, 4Q; Solaris 10 set for 2004

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Sun Microsystems said it expects its simplified software licensing, integration and delivery plan for Solaris to draw more channel participation.

As part of its launch last week of Project Orion, Sun said it plans to push a pre-integrated Solaris operating system and application server stack, combined with a single subscription cost for both enterprises and midmarket customers.

The offering will reduce the complexity of software delivery for IT administrators and give solution providers a strong sell into the small- and midsize-business space, Sun executives said.

Schwartz: Sun plans to move 'more aggressively into the SMB market.'

"The entire ecosystem around Sun is going to be vibrant because of the new software system," said Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's executive vice president of software. "We are intending to move more aggressively into the SMB market. There's a tremendous value for our reseller partners compared with the Microsoft offering. It improves the value of Sun in the reseller channel."

One Sun solution provider applauded the move. "It will be positive," said Curt Stevenson, co-founder and vice president at Boston-based Back Bay Technologies. "We're seeing that our Fortune 1000 customers are really excited about the significant long-term cost savings from N1 and Orion."

Sun also is planning to launch quarterly software releases to reduce complexities of the update cycle. Solaris 9, which integrates a directory and application server, is the first incarnation of Orion. However, more Orion capabilities,such as common install, provisioning, administrative console and Java code,will be in subsequent Solaris updates and in a major Solaris 10 upgrade due in 2004.

A beta of the first Solaris 9.x update will be available in June. Sun will ship additional updates in the third and fourth quarters.

The Solaris OS upgrade scheduled to be delivered by the end of the calendar year will integrate desktop, portal, instant messaging, e-mail and clustering services, and "there's a good shot we'll also have storage management," Schwartz said.

Sun plans to launch the fully integrated Solaris 10 in October and is working on Solaris Express, which will allow users to download Solaris features before they are released commercially, sources said.

Sun is also revising its channel strategy for the Orion era. "The core of what Orion represents is an infrastructure platform standpoint so you don't need a whole IT department, and that's why it's good for resellers," said Ingrid Van Den Hoogen, Sun's director of strategic marketing, adding that a new channel strategy for Orion is in the works and will be detailed shortly.

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