Microsoft and Sun: More Promises, No Deliverables

historic pact

On Wednesday, Sun CTO Greg Papadopolous and two Microsoft executives lifted the veil on future initiatives, including plans to ensure interoperability between Sun's N1 and Microsoft's Dynamic System Initiative (DSI) management frameworks.

They also outlined progress integrating Sun's storage software and servers with core storage services in Windows Server 2003, Virtual Disk Services and Volume Copy Shadow Services.

But the pair failed to deliver on a promise to deliver on phase one, interoperability between Sun's Identity Server and Microsoft Active Directory. In June, Sun executives promised phase one delivery in late summer. Sun received certification for its Directory Server Enterprise Edition, Access System and Identity Manager running on Windows Server but full interoperability won't be available until next year, executives said. "There's been significant progress in interoperability," said Papadopolous, who was not joined by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates on the call. Gates and Papadopoulos are ostensibly working out the areas of cooperation between the companies.

"We're working to validate Access Manager and identity manger functionality for customers using Active Directory but we won't have that until the first part of next year," Papadopolous said.

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On the call, the executives spent roughly a half hour rehashing announcements about Web service specifications the two companies are collaborating on to enable seamless interoperability, including WS-management, WS-addressing, WS-metadata exchange, WS-Federation, WS-Star, and WS eventing.

The companies also discussed the development of enhanced drivers and achieving seamless interoperability between Sun's Java and StarOffice with Windows XP SP2.

Papadopoulos and Microsoft executives also said the two companies are working to ensure optimal integration on AMD's 64-bit platform. "Customers have mixed environments with Windows, Solaris and other stacks," the Sun CTO added. "We'll give them a unified platform so customers can repurpose equipment across their software stacks and N1 and DSI and it'll provide an easier to manage fabric."

Executives from both companies attempted to set conservative expectations for delivering seamless interoperability between their respective Windows and Solaris operating systems, management platforms and Web services.

They denied that their inability to deliver on identity integration stemmed from difficulties the two companies have encountered working with each other.

Microsoft and Sun have battled in the courtroom and market for more than a decade over Java. It won't happen overnight, Papadopolous said, reminding the audience that the first eight months of the collaboration were spent gathering requirements from customers and engaging engineering teams from both companies -- once fierce rivals "- in meetings to bridge the divide.

"There's a lot of energy in the relationship," Sun's CTO said. "It's a 180 degree new turn. 180 days ago we were slashing each others tires."