Sun Serves Up Low-Cost Java Software Bundles

The five new Java System Suites, which will be available in March at a cost of $50 per employee, per year, include the Java application platform, the identity management suite, the communications suite, the availability suite and Web infrastructure suite for midmarket customers.

The new software bundles will be unveiled Tuesday as part of Sun's quarterly Network Computing launch, NC05Q1.

The suites are based on Sun's updated and expanded JES 3, which also ships this quarter, according to Sun. JES 3 adds in a number of new products, including Java System Identity Manager, Sun Java System Portal Access, N1 Grid SP Enterprise Edition and Java Studio toolset. JES supports Solaris, Linux and Windows and ships with a right-to-use license for Solaris 10, which was made available for download on Jan. 31.

In addition to the expanded JES 3 platform, Sun is making available five suites designed for companies and departments within companies that wish to use the middleware for specific uses. All the suites ship with the Java Studio Enterprise Platform and Java Studio Creator IDE and are priced at $50 per employee, per year. The full suite, in contrast, will be priced at $140 per employee, per year.

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The first suite, the Sun Java Application Platform, is designed for the development of Web services and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). It incorporates the Sun Java System Application Server, Enterprise Edition 8.1 -- which supports J2EE 1.4. -- the Sun Java System Web Server, Portal Server, and Portal Secure Remote Access Pack, Portal Mobile Access.

The Sun Java Identity Management Suite, which will enable customers to use, share and manage identity information for better security, marks the first entry of the Sun Java System Identity Manager into JES. The identity suite will also include the Java System Access Manager and Directory Server Enterprise Edition, according to Sun.

The Sun Java Communications Suite incorporates the Sun Java System Messaging Server, Calendar Server and Instant Messaging Server. The Sun Java Availability Server, another product geared for high availability and reliability of applications, bundles the latest versions of Sun Cluster and Sun Agents.

Finally, the Sun Java Web Infrastructure Suite, aimed at application development for the mid-market, is composed of the Sun Java System Web Server, Application Server Standard Edition, Directory Server Enterprise Edition, Access Manager and Web Proxy Server.

Sun executives said the availability of the expanded suite as well as the Java System Suites will enable its partners to craft more customized, targeted solutions for customers at lower price points. Sun claims to have more than 300 customers that have deployed JES to 425,000 employees.

Joe Keller, vice president of marketing for Sun's Java Web Services and Development Platforms, said the suites give integrators and iForce partners more flexibility to develop point solutions for various customers and departments within customer sites.

He noted that the Web Infrastructure Suite will be of interest to resellers and partners who serve the midmarket.

"It allows our partners to provide services directly applicable to their customer needs," said Keller, adding that the JES platform also features enhanced integration to ease installation and integration and an infinite right-to-use licenses. "The suites are interesting for resellers or OEMs."

Sun service provider Anywhere Group built its identity and access management service using Sun's full JES more than a year ago. Richard Macphee, vice president and marketing for the New Brunswick, Canada-based MSP said he wished he had access to two of the suites " the identity management and application server suites -- back then.

"Before, we licensed the whole thing and it has an enormous set of capabilities, a lot of which we didn't use. So the way they're breaking it up into packages is logical and make sense," Macphee said. "It gives Sun the ability to better focus on the asset base they have."

When asked about the possibility of making JES open source under Sun's recently approved open source license, Keller said Sun still has made no firm decisions on the matter.

"It is something we continue to evaluate and we continue to look at it," said Keller, noting that there would be significant challenges to the move.