Sun Launches SaaS Conversion Program For ISV Partners

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In addition to providing technical assistance and an application test environment, Sun, through the Solaris On-Demand Program, is offering counseling for making changes to such business processes as sales and customer billing that can be very different when selling SaaS services instead of on-premise applications.

More than 6,500 commercial ISVs have applications that run on Sun's Solaris 10 Unix operating system, said Juan Carlos Soto, Sun's vice president of global market development and engineering. Soto leads Sun's efforts to promote Solaris adoption among ISVs and the executive says the new initiative is in response to demand from partner ISVs that want to extend their on-premise applications into the software-as-a-service world.

"We want to make sure ISVs look at Sun's network computing infrastructure as they consider an on-demand model," Soto said. Some ISVs may develop SaaS applications from scratch while others will adapt existing applications, he said.

The program includes technical assistance and computing infrastructure for developing and optimizing the applications for a multi-tenant architecture. "Porting the application is non-trivial, in some cases," Soto said. Sun is also providing use of an "on-demand sandbox" test environment for up to 90 days for conducting proof-of-concept testing of converted applications, using servers and networks in data centers managed by several service providers, including NaviSite, AT&T's USi Communications and NTT Europe Online.

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Sun doesn't plan to charge ISVs for the services, although Soto said Sun could levy fees if deeper, more custom consulting services are needed.

Callidus Software, a developer of sales performance management applications, has already run through the program to develop its products for software as a service. "We needed an easy way to implement SaaS with unparalleled scalability and flexibility,'"said Jeff Saling, senior vice president for the company's Callidus On-Demand product, in a statement.